Beware the Bieber Fever — it’s contagious

Posted in 21st century parent
by Shaun Bennett

My daughter Stephanie is about to turn 9 in a few months, so I — like most parents — have been worried about those childhood diseases that seem to find their way into the helpless bodies of most kids her age.

Luckily, so far, she has yet to grab any of the famed illnesses.

Chicken Pox? I’m sure it’s right around the corner. Measles? Not yet … and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Mumps? Do kids still get this disease?

But we haven’t dodged every bullet. Unfortunately, my daughter has come down with a bad case of Bieber Fever.

If you don’t recognize this paralyzing disease, consider yourself lucky (and you probably are the proud parents of a male child). Bieber Fever is the term — surely made famous by Tiger Beat magazine — to describe the infliction suffered by fans of the adolescent pop star Justin Bieber — a 16-year-old singer, dancer, actor and apparent all-around heartthrob.

Stephanie Bennett

Stephanie Bennett

Common symptoms of the afflicted are Bieber posters plastered all over their bedroom walls, a high-pierced shrieking if the singer is spotted and an urgent, “turn it up, turn it up, turn it up” yelled from the back seat every time a Bieber song comes on the radio.

I’m not quite sure what the cure for this disorder might entail, but I have to think back to my teenage years when I saw a similar sickness spread among the teenage female population … let’s call it the NKOTBubonic Plague. The five-boy band — pioneers of the Boy Ban era — known as New Kids on the Block infected and affected just about every girl I came into contact with.

My sister sang “Hanging Tough” all around the house, my next-door neighbor had each member’s biography memorized — impressive since it was well before the internet age was upon us — and just about every girl poofed up their hair, threw on their brightest neon accessories and paraded around in their NKOTB T-shirts.

You don’t see NKOTB merchandise on every shelf as it was 20 years ago, so the obvious cure for this kind of sickness is time and the inevitable fading popularity of the pop star.

I suppose that Justin Bieber and his Fever will eventually run their course, but I’m afraid my daughter’s popular-culture immune system might never be strong enough to fight off the next big boy craze.

Shaun Bennett is a Chronicle sports writer. You can contact him at

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