Child Labor and its Effects Today, more than 85 million children are in hazardous work.
What is child labor and why does it exist?
Child labor refers to employing of children under a certain age, which is considered illegal in some places. There are many reasons why child labor exist, and poverty is one of the main causes of child labor. “Most of the children involved are working to assist their families. For some it is necessary to work to raise money for their education,” says Yenti Harry Ndienla, a reporter from International Global Watch. Children have to work because their parents are poor. Their parents can not earn enough money to meet their basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc). And in many countries education is not free, parents have to pay for the school fee, books, uniform, and etc. This can be a lot of money for a poor family. Poverty is widely considered as the main reason why child labor exists, but it is far from being the only factor. The other main cause of child labor is cultural values. In third world countries, most parents did not finish school so they do not value education. “Survival comes first here before sending kids to school,” says Cipriano Gadil, a government teacher. And today, more than 150 million children are working in dangerous conditions.
What are the negative effects of child labor?
The difference between child work and child labor is that child labor is referring to work that is harmful to children, it can mentally and physically harm the children. Child labor can harm both the children and the country. According to Allison Gamble, a psychology teacher, “Working can also impact a child’s social development because the child spends time doing labor instead of with peers in social play, learning how to interact properly.” Child labor can cause a lot of harm to children, since they do not get to spend time with their families and friends. Children who work at young age are at risk for emotional problems and they could also become insecure later in their lives. Not only that child labor can affect the children, it also can affect the country. “Children have potential, the potential to improve the country. Their potential will be wasted if they have to be working at a young age instead of going to school,” says Edward Loiselle, a teacher at Shakopee High School. This means that the third world countries will stay the way they are, if they do not use the potential in children to the fullest. Although the negatives are very clear to the public eye, there is always some light in the dark.
What are the positive effects of child labor?
People who sends their children out to work are the poorest and the most desperate families who can not earn enough income. And according to the article, Positive Sides of Child Labor, it states that, “income from children can be huge supportive for poor families.” If the result of children working brings wealth to the poor family, then perhaps we should not always look at child labor with the stink eye. Not only can child labor increase the poor family income, it can also help to reduce labor shortage. “The labor shortage problem can be solved if the government give permission to the children to work,” says Lois Mitchell, the director of International Studies at St. Stephen’s University. While there are many negative effects of child labor, there is, of course, the opposing side. Clearly there is some positives to this issue, but the negative outshines the positives.
Who is involved in efforts to combat child labor?
In 2002, countries all over the world came together to discuss how to stop child labor. They agreed to a goal that by 2016, they will liberate all of the children working in the incompatible environment. According to Kailash Satyarthi, a member of the International Labor Organization, “the number of child laborers has gone down from 246 million to 216 million but there are still millions of children are still stuck in bad labors.” They failed to achieve their goal in 2016, but they are still trying to stop child labor. “Today, UNICEF is joining the International Labor Organization (ILO) in a specific call to prevent and eliminate child labor in mines and quarries, considered one of the worst forms of child labor,” stated by Allison Hickling, a member of the UNICEF. The number of child laborers continue to decrease, but the process has slowed down because of lack of money.
How can we help?
There are many ways that you can help stop child labor, as a consumer. According to Kaushik Basu, professor at Cornell University, “a popular form of action to curb child labor and uphold international labor standards in general is a ‘product boycott’ by consumers.” The producers will stop using child labor, if the consumers boycott products made from child labor. And nowadays, “social media guarantees that consumers have very powerful voices,” according to the article, How to Stop Child Labor. Bad publicity can affect the company's financial gain, not one corporation wants to be accused of using child labor. Greed is one of the reasons why child labor exists, companies use children to make their products because they are very cheap to hire; consumers can use this to help stop child labor. If companies want people to buy their products then they need to stop using child labor or the consumers will not buy from them. Companies will not produce what no one buys, that is how much power consumers have.