I sometimes wonder what is wrong with the thinking of humans. No surprise, humans do interpret laws or change them to adjust to their way of thinking rather than do what is right. I am talking about child labour laws.
Although it is considered ‘wrong’ to send children to work, there are so many exceptions to the laws that the children are still out there working. I will only mention a few of the instances but they are biggies.
Our countries have a fascination with fame. Due to this fascination, children are looking for that fame and many are pushed into it by so called ‘well meaning’ parents. Their defense is that the child wants to do it. Well, children want to do a lot of things. It does not make it right. The fact is, children should NOT be working, at least before 16 years of age (or later would be preferable). Ok we cannot send children into the mines or factories anymore but has it gotten any better? Children should NOT be permitted to work in theatre, films, magazines, etc. Yet, it is permitted. No matter how you look at it, it is a job…ask any adult model or actor if it is work or play. Oh yes, they have all kinds of rules now about how long they can work or how often they can work or how their money is managed. That still does not make it right. Children should not work, period.
Many young people work as child care, babysitters. Why would anyone trust a 13 or 14 year old child to watch over their children? How can they say that paying a 14 year old money to watch their children is safe just because they are being paid? Yes, I did work in such work when I was a child. (I cared for 6 children in one family, aged 2 months old to 10 yrs old…I was 13-15 yrs old… for 2 years, for the huge pay of $1 per hour. 2 of the boys slipped out a window once and were captured by a taxi driver as I chased them down the street, leaving the other 4 alone. One boy hid a burning cigar under his pillow, burning the pillow and bed, when I walked into their bedroom to check up on them. Oh, the horror stories I could tell you!). Was I capable? No, not really, although I did my best. My brain and any young brain is not even properly formed yet to make proper decisions until approximately 19 years of age. Some will say that their child is ‘more developed’ or ‘more mature’ but they are just fooling themselves. Science has proven that this is NOT the case. What if something goes wrong. It is bad enough that an Adult would have to live with the consequences of an accident perhaps causing death without putting that on a child for the rest of his or her life, for a few dollars. Get real people.
Children are also entered into Beauty Contests or Calendar Contests. Prizes are awarded. First off, children should not be wearing as much make-up as they do in these competitions but that is another problem. (Children should be demanded to wipe off that make-up…any make-up…for school or social gatherings). They are too impatient to grow up. Secondly, it is a form of gambling, using a child to earn money or fame. It is just plain wrong. What happened to the ‘rule’ that in order to gamble or join contests they must be over 18 years of age. Thirdly, what about the losers. Healthy competition is one thing, judgement on beauty is another. How many children suffer damage because they were ‘not good enough, not pretty enough’. Maybe I am wrong but I do not consider ‘parental permission’ a good enough reason to put children into this field of labour. Wrong is wrong…let the children be children.
It is time to buck-up and admit we have a problem. It is time to change the laws completely so that NO child has to work. It is time to stand up for the rights of children to be a child and not a fake adult. It is bad enough that they will have to work for the rest of their lives, let them have that first 16 years to concentrate on their education and their personal improvement without the stress of a job.
What can we do about it? Probably nothing. And THAT is a very, very sad fact.