BOSTON (CBS) — Miley Cyrus became famous for her portrayal of the wholesome teen singer Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel.

But now, her new “adult” act has some local experts fearful she may be harmful to her younger fans.

An expert at the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital says celebrities like Cyrus can have a lasting impact on children.

“It leads to a younger age of sexual initiation, children having sex earlier and it actually leads to unsafe sex,” Dr. David Bickham said.

It’s not a new phenomenon, child stars like Brooke Shields, Britney Spears and now Cyrus, re-branded as sex kittens while still in their teens with no regard for the impact on their impressionable young fans.

But what can parents do?

“You can have an open discussion about what’s happening here,” said Bickham. “What are we suppose to take away from this and how is this portrayal of a young woman different from people you know and people you like, and your heroes and your cousins and your teachers?”

Bickham says remember, the parent is the example.

“You can certainly give your opinion about this because I do think, especially with young kids, they’re going to value what you think. They’re going to turn to you and see how you react to this.”

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