The Benefits Of Child Labor

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In the late 1700s and 1800s, factories started springing up around the United States as industrialization began to flourish. In their search for cheaper labor, factory owners turned to the most viable solution: children. With their endless energy and malleable minds, children were the perfect source of cheap labor, sometimes working 60-70 hour weeks. However, this cruel labor, often without bathroom or lunch breaks, left children ill and unable to attend school, have fun or live a normal life. The United States wasn’t the only country that utilized child labor. For centuries, child labor has been ingrained in the culture of various African and Asian communities. The longstanding tradition of children working in these regions brings forth …show more content…
When mentioned, especially in the eyes of an American teen, sweat shops and plantations usually come to mind, along with difficult physical toiling in the hot sun. According to a report written by a Dartmouth College professor, the typical assumption of the stigma behind child labor is that families feel embarrassment, anxiety, guilt, or shame towards their children working (Edmonds, 2008). However, this is mostly untrue. In fact, most of the world’s child laborers engage in fairly temperate work for their own households. This positive outlook towards child labor has been identified among indigenous households in Guatemala, to the point that families view work not only as a tool for income, but also as an activity worthwhile in its own right (Heckt, 1999). Although this source is dated, its insight is still relevant. There are multiple explanations as to why this stigma persists. For one, broader social and economic changes, including laws and other efforts to end child labor, don’t appear to have affected the stigma towards child labor. Also, evidence further suggests that the positive attitude toward child labor is an attempt for indigenous households to preserve their culture and heritage, staying away from the modern way of life (Patrinos & Shafiq …show more content…
While organizations like UNICEF and the ILO are quick to label child labor as detrimental, it is vital to realize that it is an important part of many communities and families. It not only builds up the economy of less developed countries, but it also preserves the antiquated culture of these countries and ties them back to their roots. However, despite all these positive viewpoints, it is equally as important to remember that there exists horrendous forms of child labor that abuse and exploit innocent kids. Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and realize that these aren’t numbers; these are real children with real lives and that are being taken away by the all too real truth of child

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