There are many rules in place that protect child actors from dangerous situations that could have a negative impact on the child – emotionally or physically. They are protected from having to do dangerous stunts, appearing naked or partially naked, having to be in morally questionable situations, and participating in sexual scenes. These laws are important, as being minors, they are not legally able to make decisions about things like this for themselves. There are a few other special rules for child actors, including compulsory education that can not be disrupted, and limits on the number of hours the child can work. These vary based on age; it is why you will often find twins playing the roles of babies or very young children. One of the best-known twin actresses of modern times are Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who got their start on the successful TV hit “Full House.”
In 2004, new regulations were added to protect child actors from “nudity, swearing, smoking, and drinking,” which changed the game even more and made it safer for child actors to engage in movies. This is important because in the past, these safeguards were not in place and many children were exposed to things that no child should be — actor or otherwise. Many parents, advocates, and other peeople with the actor’s interests in mind were relieved and happy, though some directors and writers found these new rules tobe a bit restrictive.
Unfortunately, the laws are not the same in all states and locations. As such, some productions elect to film in places where the laws are less strict, particularly when it comes to stunts or hours the child may work. It is up to the child’s representatives and parents to do what is best for them when it comes to situations like this.
It is important for the child’s family and representatives to remember that the child may be under more stress than it seems a child could. Many people criticize the parents of child actors for allowing them to work in the first place, because they believe the children should be allowed to have a normal lifestyle. The stress and pressure of being on a movie set and having to perform should be taken into consideration, though some children like or understand this better than others. There is no banner rule for how children can or can’t deal with this sort of situation – some thrive while others falter and suffer. Every case must be dealt with on an individual basis. Many times it is good to get a private tutor to help guide the child.
That said, because Hollywood is fickle, it is also important to remember that much like adult actors, many child actors can have short careers and the loss of fame and fortune may be more difficult for the child than an adult. The golden rule of protecting child actors is this: parents and representatives must ultimately take responsibility for the well-being of the child – on and off-set.