Costar: Leave Miley Alone!
07/18/2008 AT 10:30 AM EDT
"I feel like they are picking on her," Earles – who plays Cyrus's big brother on the show – told PEOPLE Thursday at an ABC Television Critics Association party in Beverly Hills.
First Cyrus was criticized for a scantily clad Vanity Fair photo spread earlier this year. And now a series of personal photographs showing the 15-year-old in semi-suggestive poses (and exposing her midriff) have surfaced on the Internet.
"She's a really good kid and like any normal 15-year-old, she's not always going to make the best decisions," Earles said. "When you get to her level of popularity it's so easy to find little chinks in the armor and try to tear her down .... If you think her personal life is a little too risqué, then have that conversation with your kids."
The actor also said that his TV sister doesn't get credit for all the good things she does.
"If you'd see the amount of time she spends with the Make-A-Wish kids that come down to the set or the Phone-A-Friend program, where she calls these sick kids to cheer them up," he said. "If people saw the amount of positive things that she does, they would see how silly the picture 'scandals' really are."
Earles called Cyrus is a "great role model." But, in the end, he said, "Parents still have the responsibility to tell their kids what's right and what's wrong. Miley is not going to raise your kids for you."
Cryus is in the midst of filming the Hannah Montana movie. Production on her Disney Channel show resumes August 4.