The new documentary series “Quiet on Set” reveals the untold stories of what happened to child actors while the cameras were off.  

The early 2000s was the golden age for Nickelodeon as shows like “Victorious,” “iCarly” and “Drake and Josh” where several cast members rose to fame. Director Dan Schneider was at the top of his game because he was responsible for the major success of these beloved series. In 2012 “Victorious” even won The Kids Choice Award for Favorite TV Show. However, when I watched the documentary “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” my view of Nickelodeon changed to great dismay. 

What was a golden age for Schneider and Nickelodeon, was a very dark age for the childhood actors. 

The series takes the viewer through the horrible injustices that the child stars fell victim to. Amanda Bynes and Drake Bell were the most notable stars who suffered sexual abuse from Schneider and Brain Peck. He was a former producer, director, and dialogue coach before he went to jail in 2003 for sexually assaulting Bell. This documentary uncovers the dark reality for child stars, and it raises the question: was enough done to protect children?

Kate Taylor of Business Insider is featured in the documentary series. She asks if there were adequate laws on set to protect children— the obvious answer being no. Children had to sacrifice their innocence in order to have a career. 

“Quiet on Set” showed me how society doesn’t really care about the youth because so many kids have been harmed in the making of these successful children’s series. This documentary made me realize that children shouldn’t be allowed to be on TV shows or movies until more is done to protect them.

Schneider controlled which way the wind blew for these child actors because he held their future in his hands. 

If they didn’t play by his rules, then their success could be stripped away from them in an instant. That is what happened to Alexa Nikolas, who starred in Zoey 101 as Nicole Bristow. She recalls her character having to wear short dresses and skirts all of the time. Nikolas didn’t feel comfortable with the wardrobe choices because she was being oversexualized at a young age. Schneider intended for her role to be for the male audience, therefore putting the actor in scandalous clothing for a young girl. 

Additionally, Bell from Drake and Josh sat down and recalled how Peck abused him. He was left alone with his abuser on various occasions and no one said or did anything. After his father was fired from being his son’s manager, this made Bell more accessible to Peck. The young star’s abuser would be the one to drive him to and from the set. Bell would sometimes spend the night at Peck’s house, leaving the actor in the hands of a despicable man. It was difficult for the former child actor to retell what his abuser did to him, and he was very vague about his sexual assault. 

I believe that everyone should watch this documentary because it sheds light on the darkness of Hollywood. This series can be shared as a fair warning for parents thinking about putting their child into acting. There aren’t enough laws or protection in the television industry to protect children, and this should raise a concern for all of us. 

The Coogan Act was implemented five years ago to protect children from sexual abuse. This law mandated that certain individuals must have a Child Performer Services Permit before being around minors on set. It’s unfortunate that this policy was not established earlier in the 2000s, this could have potentially protected young children from predatory acts against them. 

When I have children one day I will steer them away from watching anything related to Nickelodeon during Schneider’s time. This is an educational opportunity for parents to learn about what they shouldn’t put their children in child actingSome of the kid stars on Nickelodeon lost their innocence all for five seconds of fame.