On Child Actors

Alan Cai

November 24, 2023

Child actors. You know ‘em, you’ve seen ‘em, don’t deny it.

The most dangerous part of California isn’t San Francisco or Oakland, it’s Hollywood and it’s not even close. The issue of child actors has plagued the filmmaking industry for decades and the end is nowhere near. To feed a nation’s and perhaps the whole world’s insatiable desire to consume content created by exploiting the youth, Hollywood is engineered to squeeze the maximum profit it can out of younger children; tailoring them to fit their stringent demands and throwing most of them out once their youthful appeal deteriorates.

Children should not be working full-time jobs while sacrificing large portions of their education for entertainment. They should also not have their faces broadcasted for the entire globe to see and be intensely monetized and taken advantage of for their appearance.

If the egregious violations of basic human decency regarding children and the permanent scarring of their respective childhoods are not enough, Hollywood also exposes these children to the massive problems prevalent in the acting world.

Countless children grow up idolizing Hollywood actors, both adults and youth. Yet, when they actually look at what their role models doing, the sight is not pleasing: out-of-control substance abuse, inappropriate behavior, unsustainable relationships, corporate greed unleashed, depression, and so much more. This comes as no surprise to anyone: an industry burdened from inception with producing impeccable film and portraying its participants in embellished and unrealistic standards is bound to produce some of the worst living and working environments in the world.

Beverly Hills is not a paradise. It is a prison. Folks living in Southern California's acting world must straddle the boundaries between real and fake, life and myth, and ecstasy and depression every single day of their lives. Over the decades, it’s molded into their identity. Through the vicissitudes of life, every happy moment must contrast with an era of sadness. But Hollywood exacerbates these polar emotions and overtly scrutinizes actors’ every move and thought. Audiences rely on these actors to feel happy, sad, or angry, and these actors must feed these consumers endless sensational content to maintain their precarious employment.

Professional acting is not a healthy occupation for adults. It is severely worse for children. When kids are put on the same visual and acting standards as full-grown adults while sacrificing their education for the quickly disappearing childhood stardom, the result is that they are introduced and trapped into the same struggles and difficulties plaguing Hollywood for the rest of their lives.