The history of child labor can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution
The history of child labor can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, when very young children were forced to work in coal mines, factories, and even as domestic servants. By definition, child labor is the act of the employment of children that harms or prevents them from attending school. Even today, according to UNICEF, 150 million children all over the globe are engaged in labor. This practice is widely observed in the mining, ceramics and glassware, garment and carpet manufacturing, and fireworks industries. Child labor negatively influences children, and some of its harmful effects are: illiteracy, health issues and mental trauma.
One leading effect of child labor is illiteracy. Children that are employed do not have the time to go to school. They spend a lot of time in their workstations as the days and years go by. The lack of education and illiteracy make them individuals with limited opportunities as far as employment is concerned; since they are not educated, they don’t have good job opportunities. Schools have always focused much on math and science. Education also prepares a person for several challenges that he/she might face in the society, and without it, the person might have difficulty dealing effectively with problems. For instance, an individual who has gone to school may be aware of how to approach certain situations in life without resorting to brute force. An illiterate person, on the other hand, considers force to be the only answer to nearly all of the challenges experienced.
It is unlikely that people who employ children also have the moral capacity to ensure that they have good working conditions. Working in places such as mines and badly conditioned factories may result in lifetime health issues for children employed to work in these places. A child assigned physically-demanding duties may suffer physical trauma that may damage him or her for life. It is estimated that, in developing countries, at least 90% of economically active children in rural areas are employed in agriculture. For example, some hazards in agriculture are the exposure to pesticides, the use of dangerous machinery or tools, and the presence of harmful animals. They are more likely to develop asthma and some kinds of cancer than kids who don’t work.
In addition to illiteracy and health problems, a third effect of child labor is mental trauma. It is not a pleasant experience to be kept working as a child while your age-mates are out playing and going to school. Issues such as bullying, sexual exploitation, and unfavorable working hours may result in mental trauma in these children. They will find it hard to forget the past and may become societal misfits because of bad childhood experiences. Child labor may also result in the lack of emotional growth and thus insensitivity. Depression, hopelessness, shame, guilt, nightmares, loss of confidence, low self-esteem and anxiety are the appalling consequences faced by these children who are forced to go to work at a young age.
In conclusion, child labor remains one of the most provocative and controversial challenges facing our world. To put an end to this socio-economic problem, the government must target the root causes, namely poverty, unemployment among adults, and take measures to control population growth. Steps must be taken to educate ignorant people from poorer sections about the benefits of education so that children are not deprived of their right to go to school, and they can turn into civilized adults, get decent jobs, and contribute to the economic growth of the nation.