'Alex From Target' Meme Makes Innocent Kid a Viral Sensation

These days, if you're fortunate enough to be a teen boy who is as cute as a button AND motivated enough to get yourself a part-time job, you may also find yourself becoming a Twitter celebrity. Just ask Alex -- an "ordinary" teen who shot to Internet fame overnight after a photo of him working at Target appeared EVERYWHERE on Twitter, along with the now much-used hastag #alexfromtarget.

Alex has inspired countless tween and teen girls, as well as grown women (yes, women. Creepy, I know), to share his photo and post their thoughts on how utterly insane it is that attractive people actually exist in a world outside of The Vampire Diaries. Alex is so popular there are even memes poking fun at his popularity.

If I were a teen, I would think this was hilarious. As a mom, I admit I find a few of these memes amusing, but a part of me also thinks this whole obsession with a child is bizarre and even frightening.

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So, here's Alex:

 And here are some of the memes that have been created in Alex's honor. There's this one:

And this one:

And there are about a million more where those came from.

Some of these are cute and others really are witty, but that isn't the point.

If I were Alex's mom, one of the first things I'd think is, whoa, this could have EASILY gone the opposite route and my son's image could be plastered all over the Internet for all of the wrong reasons. It reminds me of how anyone can become "Internet famous" against his or her own will -- it's just a good, lucky thing that Alex is receiving positive praise (as superficial as it is) for his good looks.

It's scary to think there is no way to keep this from happening. Some girl just snapped Alex's photo without his knowledge and, the next thing he knew, he had 300,000 Twitter followers. For absolutely NO REASON that had anything to do with him and who he is.

About a million years ago (or pre-Internet), we girls found good-looking young guys everywhere we roamed. There were a few working at the beach club for the summer, a few more bagging our groceries, and more than a few in our math and chemistry classes. We giggled about them, passed notes about their eyes, perhaps awkwardly hung around the pizzeria far longer than we needed to so we could stare at them, and maybe, even dated one or two of them.

I'm not suggesting the past is better than the present -- that's a pointless debate, in my opinion. But I would caution our kids to take attention like this with a grain of salt. It may provide a temporary boost to their egos, but Internet attention is abstract and doesn't give back in any meaningful way.

What do you think about Internet shares like this one? Are you scared for your child or think they are harmless?

 

Images via Twitter

 

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