You are on page 1of 7



Although there had been many discussions about why children in entertainment
industry are considered as child actors and why not considered as child labours?
The answers or conclusion to this discussion is still uncertain. A child working
for money is a child labour then entertainment industry can be seen as the place
where child labour is practiced in a larger scale. According to the labour law
passed by the union cabinet, it prohibits any child aged below fourteen years
from working for money/salary/daily wages. Violation of this law is considered
as a punishable offence. Then why the entertainment industry is kept out of it?
Why even after violation of this laws does not hassle the government? Why
there is so much irregularity in the system? Putting our minds into such topic
gives rise to such questions, which is still under a substantial debate. This
debate arose with an exception in the law, regarding child artists. Why
comparing it to child labour?

KEYWORDS: Entertainment industry, Child rights, Child

protection, monitoring mechanism

What is entertainment? It is something we use for our pleasure. It can also be
defined as the amusement or enjoyment provided in various forms such as
radio, theatre, television, etc. today entertainment industry is totally engulfed by
the mass media which also is a catalyst for the growth of the entertainment
industry. Entertainment industry is one of the largest and fast growing industries
in the world. India on other hand has an account of this escalating growth in its
economy in these last two decades making it one of the fastest growing
industries here.

Action which is extraordinary catches the eye in the media and in an adult
oriented industry a child is always a centre of attraction depending upon their
performance. The child artists here are in a good number. Often children are the
object of entertainment; Why? ; Because people love that kid thing. It also
boosts the TRP (Target Rating Point) of a particular show. Child artist are more
to be seen in reality shows as reality shows now target common people looking
for fame. Sometimes the unwillingness of the child could be seen during the
audition rounds of reality shows where the parental pressure could be seen.

Why compare it child labour? Because it can be said that, work by a child that
impairs and exploits them- mentally, physically, morally and blocking their
access to education and if seen closely into the entertainment industry the
children under this shelter are often under the mental and emotional pressure.

Eliminating the word entertainment for a moment and just focusing towards the
mind-set of a child there is a huge gap between the children being brought up in
better homes and children in slums. The sense of taking initiative comes early in
the children brought up in the slums compared to the children brought up with
certain privileges in better surroundings, because of the experience of the daily
challenges faced by their family. This experience brings a thought of better life
by providing a helping hand depending on their capabilities. So there is a high
dropout rate in government schools. According to the (censes 2011) 1 out of 4
children is a school dropout, in total 99 million children have dropped out of
school mostly coming from rural or urban slums. These children work to
support their family; as there is a mental and emotional pressure on these
children who can’t handle school and work together. Indian government
emphasizes on giving education to all but discussing about the problems by
sitting in a room won’t solve problems, instead the matter should be looked into
by going into the field and experiencing it.


The entertainment and media sector is seen as one of the fastest growing in the
country. Its various sections – films, television, advertising, print media and
music, among others – have witnessed astonishing growth in the last few years
and this trend is expected to endure. Children are gradually becoming more
involved in these productions. Participating in an adult-oriented industry,
children are often exposed to incompatible, anxiety inducing, and at times,
dangerous operational hazards and situations. Many of these problems may be
inherent and generic to the industry, but children, unlike their adult
counterparts, should not be expected to handle the emotional and physical
stress. It needs to be remembered that, by and large, children do not join the
industry of their own volition. There is always an adult involved – a parent, or
caretaker – who takes the decision for them. In the absenteeism of any
monitoring mechanism, there is every likelihood of child actors being exploited
when it comes to the number of hours worked per day, and short-changed in
terms of educational and safety necessities. While children have been acting in
films for a long time – which poses its own problems – the specific challenges
posited by children’s participation in the growing and different forms of
television media need to be acknowledged and addressed. Participation of
children in TV shows is relatively recent. It ranges from taking part in reality
shows and serials to performing as anchors and in advertisements.

During the course of their short careers, some children may get exposed to
sudden wealth and fame. The possibilities of such children being exploited
increases as their parents are likely to then be tempted by the spotlight or the
possibility of increasing the family income by pushing them into new projects.
Since the contracts and/or dealings are carried out by the adults (the
parent/caretaker), there is currently no way of ensuring that the income is
protected and set aside for the child. The emotional and psychological effect on
children that may accompany their foray into this media where fame and
adulation could be transient also needs to be considered. Children may
encounter sudden popularity or even isolation in schools from their peers. Very
few children manage a successful transition to adult actors and maintain the
fame and fortune. The effect that such actions can have on their emotional and
psychological stability has been well researched and acknowledged by
professional psychologists. Given this background and taking it into an account
the weakness of children, the need for special safeguards and care for children
and appropriate legal protection while participating in the entertainment
industry is important and unarguable. Child performers need to be treated with
respect and their rights, needs and development must be of primary
In 1992, India approved the UN convention on the rights of the child. The
charter of child rights is built on the principle that “All children are born with
fundamental freedom and all human beings have some inherent rights”. The
charter confers the following basic rights on all children across the world. There
are four basic rights of children;

 The Right to survival

 The Right to development
 The Right to protection
 The Right to participation

The Right to participation further expands and explains their rights as rights to
opinion, right to expression, right to association, right to information and right
to participate in any decision making that involves him/her directly or
indirectly. These rights given to the child clearly explains itself about a child
having his/her own right to make decision and have opinions about something
and parallel to this law there is a great violation of this law is also to be seen,
especially by their parents or guardians. A child is often lured into the
entertainment industry without the consent of the child.

According to, the Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child

Rights (NCPCR), children will still be able to participate in talent-hunt or
reality shows, but only as long as they are not paid for it. "Participation in
reality shows and talent-hunt shows is a matter of violation of child rights and
not child labour. NCPCR has brought out guidelines for participation in such
shows, which ensure that the child is not exploited,"


According to Section 3 of the Child labour (Prohibition and Regulation act)
amended Act, Children below 14 years are prohibited from working for
money/salary/daily wages. This act in the Indian constitution clearly reflects
that children should not work and it is also punishable to make them to work.

Section 3 of the child labour(prohibition and regulation) amended act also

exempts children working as artists in an entertainment industry, including
advertisement, films, television serials or any such other entertainment or sports
activities except the circus from the scope of influence or concerns of the
prohibition if the prescribed safety measures, have been complied with. This
exception in the law is the reason for the discussions and debates all over the

Article 39(e) in the constitution of India, 1949 states that children of tender age
should not be forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their
age or strength. Irrespective of what is stated in the constitution there is a
maximum exposure to the work pressure for children.

The security of the children in the industry brings a concerned thought in the
minds of people. As they get exposures to immense work pressure and publicity
to which they are not mentally equipped to handle. There are also disadvantages
for a child to be in an entertainment industry; such as, workload, which deprives
them of a normal childhood by giving them burden to work and do the
schooling at the same time, as the industry is competitive the scope of getting
involved in other projects are low, early fame can lead to decline in child
character and responsibilities and Molestation, etc.

There are many examples of child being molested in this industry, especially the
girl child. Many feared of speaking to someone about it then, as the community
and society was not so broad minded but they are speaking up now as adults
after the numerous empowerment programmes for women. Even children are
been educated to the things that are wrong and speaking up to their parents.

Article 39(f) in The Constitution Of India 1949; (f) that children are given
opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of
freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against
exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

According to the child rights, right to protection focuses on their right to be

protected from all sorts of violence, right to be protected from neglect, right to
be protected from physical abuse and right to be protected from dangerous
drugs. These laws are introduced for the safekeeping of the child.

According to the statement released by the National Commission for Protection

of Child Rights (NCPCR) "Participating in an adult-oriented industry,
children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety inducing, and at times,
dangerous operational hazards and situations. Many of these problems may
be inherent and generic to the industry, but children, unlike their adult
counterparts, should not be expected to handle the emotional and physical
stress. It needs to be remembered that, by and large, children do not join the
industry of their own volition. There is always an adult involved – a parent, or
caretaker – who takes the decision for them. In the absence of any monitoring
mechanism, there is every likelihood of child actors being exploited when it
comes to the number of hours worked per day, and short-changed in terms of
educational and safety provisions." Guidelines for defining age-related norms
for the participation of children in the industry ensuring the physical conditions
and safety of children; setting up of regulatory and monitoring mechanisms; and
ensuring education of child participants were recommended by NCPCR.

According to the Rules certain conditions are to be followed by the Producer.

The producer shall:

 Obtain permission from the District Magistrate and shall furnish an

undertaking in Form C of the Rules to the District Magistrate before
beginning any activities in the district;
 Provide the list of child participants, consent of parents or guardian, name
of the individual from the production or event who shall be responsible
for the safety and security of the child;
 Ensure that all screening of his films and television programs shall be
made with a disclaimer specifying that if any child has been engaged in
the shooting, then, all the measures were taken to ensure that there has
been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of such child during the entire
process of the shooting;
 Arrange appropriate facilities for education of the child to ensure that
there is no discontinuity from his lessons in school;
 Not allow children to work consecutively for more than twenty-seven
days; and
 Appoint one responsible person for maximum of five children for the
production or event, so as to ensure the protection, care and best interest
of the child

Though according to the exception in the act, which allows the child to help or
work only after school hours. There is still an uncertainty about what is right
and what is wrong. There are certain schemes introduced for protection of a
child. Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) was introduced where the
children welfare committee is to be established which looks into the cases and
conducts an enquiry committee regarding any foul play with the child.
Integrated child protection scheme emphasizes on building a protective
environment for children in difficult circumstances, as well as other exposed
and helpless children.

This paper is based on secondary data. The source for this secondary data was
the Government websites. Other than the secondary data the primary data that I
have given is from my person learning and experiences.

The research shows the dual approach of government towards the same issue
and the process of dealing with it. As said children are future of the country the
government is prioritizing the growth of children in a particular area. The
entertainment industry irrespective of the measures that it takes, there is still a
fault in the overall system which neglects the child rights. It is responsibility of
every individual to personally and professionally help the child artist to have
normal childhood.

 GOV, N. (2018). Guidelines to Regulate Child Participation in TV
Serials, Reality Shows and Advertisement.
 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) - Unicef UK
 Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) | Ministry of Women &
Child Development | GoI
 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Government of
 Constitution of India | National Portal of India