Have you ever seen a child model in a photo or TV ad and thought “Oh! How cute,” yet what you really meant or would like to say is “Oh! How sad?”
Ever wondered why companies use these children of all ages to tout the fun, deliciousness, or trendiness of the latest consumable goods, services, and sometimes even fashion and entertainment? Your guess may be as good as mine if you say that simply put, the intention is to play on the sensitivity of people.
Modeling itself can be a fun world but it can also be an ugly one. It’s a window-dressing, smoke-and-mirrors world where the genetically gifted are rewarded on the most superficial of criteria: looks. If you got the looks, then you got the gig! Someone would ask, why then do people expose their children to such a harsh industry?
It is sad how child modeling is becoming rampant in Africa today. Unfortunately the more rampant it becomes, the more exploitative it gets. This kind of practice going on today is no different from child labour and child abuse, as many of these children are forced infront of the cameras mostly by their parents or guardians.
Many may disagree with me and ask what is so exploitative about a child who is willing to be in the spotlight or in front of the cameras, or a child who is getting paid or earning a living at an early age or even living his or her dream? What about those children who do it for the fun of it, are they being exploited as well?
Well, yes, paid or unpaid there is always that exploitative connotation to child modeling that must be addressed. A child may not see it that way because at their age, they are not in a position to understand the consequences of their actions or the negative effects of their profession.
Even the word “exploitative” may seem too big a word for them to understand. The profession might be fun and lucrative but in the end the brunt of the consequences lie heavily on the children involved.
My disapproval of child modeling in Africa stems from the absence of effective laws that protect these children. What are the laws in Africa that prevent the exploitation and abuse of children by their parents or guardians all in the name of child modeling? Currently, there are none; certainly not in my country, Ghana.
I support a ban on child modeling because it will mean a life of security for our children.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with me that child modeling is exploitative, abusive, morally and legally wrong? Would you push your child into child modeling?