If a small child works at tea stall or any shop to earn a living, it's often classified as child labour and thus against the law. On the other hand, a child working in the entertainment industry is completely justified. While these two cases seem polar opposites, they are two sides of the same coin.
Children under the age of 14 years cannot be employed or permitted to work in any occupation or process. However, this restriction will not apply if a child helps their family or family enterprise (which is not a hazardous occupation), after school hours or during vacation.
Also, a child below the age of 14 years will be allowed to work as an artist in the audio-visual entertainment industry, including advertisement, films, television serials or any other entertainment or sports activities except circuses. While this sounds good in theory, child actors are hardly allowed to have a good childhood.
Now that the legal jargon is out of the way, let's come to the moral implications of these laws. The intricate fabric of the legal system can only work to some extent, for everything has its loopholes. Work in the entertainment industry is rarely classified as physical labour and hence creates the misconception that child actors are protected.
It is obvious that a child working in a small shop is morally wrong. But what about the tiny artists who participate in our source of everyday entertainment?
One can only imagine the emotional turmoil of a child trying to balance work and school. In addition to maintaining good grades, they also have to think about excelling in their work. Spending one's childhood under the public eye completely alters the course of their life. Parents often put their children through extreme duress to get more work and to migrate to working full time.
These kids grow up experiencing emotional abuse from their parents and the obsessive audience. It robs innocent kids of their childhood.
It is essential that they have healthy physical and emotional development. It is every child's birth right to have a loving environment and a carefree childhood with plenty of friends and leeway for silly mistakes.