As a parent, your child’s safety is top priority. Their welfare is your main concern throughout their life, from a small baby to a teenager and even as an adult; the worrying never stops. Whether you’re encouraging the step into child modelling or your teen has approached you with the idea, remaining safe is very important when you’re treading on unfamiliar ground.
Read our top tips to keeping you child safe in the modelling industry.
Attend Every Modelling Job and Casting Call
Every model under the age of 18 is legally required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Therefore, parents will never be far away from their son or daughter during the photoshoot or fashion show. The majority of agencies, casting directors and brands will follow these strict rules yet there maybe a few who try to work outside the lines. Never leave your child alone to ensure their safety and comfort during the casting or modelling role. Simply decline if you are asked to leave the room and if you begin to feel uncomfortable it’s time to go home.
Read the Contract Fully
Always read the contract making sure that you understand every aspect of the legal document. This could be from a child model agency or brand who are proposing the terms and conditions of an agreement. Therefore, if you do not agree with a particular point it is important that you raise your concern. This could be where the images will be posted or if they are age appropriate for example.
There will be many legal terms and jargon included in the contract. If this is an area that you do not feel comfortable with, it may be wise to ask a professional to read over it for you. Ask as many questions as possible to help you gain a full understanding of the document before signing. The last thing you want is for a scam artist to have your permission to not pay you or to adapt the images. Also, a trip to New York City or Los Angeles sounds incredible but make sure you read the small print. The accommodation and flights could be deducted from your little ones pay leaving them with hardly anything.
Make sure you research modelling agencies carefully so that you know that they are trustworthy. You can find out a lot from a simple Google search yet keep investigating until you are sure that the company is legit. Reading reviews from those represented by the agency is a great way of uncovering the truth as someone who has been conned out of money or been treated inappropriately will be very vocal about it.
Also, look at the types of brands they work with to see if you have heard of them. Those that find models for large high street stores (and really do) will unlikely be out to con you. Check if they have an office space that you can visit as remember anyone can set up a website these days. Stay away from anyone who asks for a large sum of cash to join as it is very unlikely that they will be in touch after you hand over the money.
Only Apply to Reputable Agencies
Once you have completed your research, only apply to local agencies that are trustworthy to guarantee your child safety and will be able to start your kids modelling career. Expect to attach headshots to the application along with contact details. It is extremely important that you are very picky about who you apply to as being too relaxed could put your child at risk.
Use the Internet Carefully
The Internet can be a useful place to carry out research and find opportunities yet must be used with caution. It can also be a place where scam artists lurk. It is up to you to only use trusted sites and to be able to spot those trying to con impressionable, young models. The easiest way to try to suss out a false modelling role is to ring the company they are claiming to be and enquire. Only use the phone number you find yourself, not one that they provide and simply ask if it is them messaging you. Remember anyone can set up a website or post their thoughts in a forum. Therefore, keep to sites that you know to be trustworthy and avoid those that are trying to target those new to the industry.
Monitor Their Social Media Profiles
Again, social media is a fantastic tool for self-promotion especially for new models but you must be wary. Those wishing to trick you out of a lot of money or to put your child in a potentially dangerous situation will use platforms like Instagram and Facebook to message you will false information. As an adult these probably will be very easy to spot yet a young child/teen may not be so wise as their eagerness and innocence can rule how they think following their heart rather than their head.
This is where you come in as parents; it is vital that you monitor their social media platforms to see who is messaging them or commenting on their photos. They may feel grown up but in the modelling world they have a lot to learn. Have a conversation with your child so that they understand the risks that social media presents and encourage them to be open and honest with you. As they reach the teenage years it is hard work to get them to open up but if you keep the dialogue going from an early age hopefully they will be less secretive.
Being present through every stage of their career will keep your child safe. Whether it is attending every meeting, casting and role, researching on their behalf or monitoring their social media activity. If your son or daughter wishes to become a child actor the same guidelines apply. The industries are very similar in many ways.