Name World War. Prior to this period, children


Professor’s name



Child Labor: A Retrospective

The article Child Labor
and the Social Construction of Childhood offers a very different
perspective about child labor that most would find unacceptable today. It challenges
our views regarding the topic of using child labor in business and production. The
article says that the current idea of childhood only came to being after the Second
World War. Prior to this period, children as young as 8 years old held jobs and
took much more responsibility. There are many contentious issues that arise
when discussing child labor laws. Just like many aspects of society, there are
people who are for child labor and the others against it.

            A few
factors arise when discussing this topic; firstly, what is childhood, how long
does it last, and what are the rights or privileges that should be afforded to
children? Sidney Mintz is quoted in the article saying “…childhood is not an
unchanging biological stage of life but is, rather, a social and cultural
construct…Nor is childhood an uncontested concept”. On retrospect, I realize
there are no quantifiable methods to determine childhood. The statement that
suggests childhood being a social construct seems accurate. For instance, the
legal age of adulthood in the United States is 18. This number may change for
different countries, say 21 years. These numbers are just arbitrary since there
is no logical system for evaluation. Therefore “childhood” is a misguided
concept that is open to interpretation.

            Today, the
majority of the population leave below their means. As such, children are often
required to help the household by working in the summers or after school. The topic
of child labor can be looked at from myriads of perspectives. For instance,
children might be required to help for survival. Many families in America are
run by single parents whose income simply cannot support their household. Considering
this gives a relevant perspective for those who may be proponents of child
labor. In reality, most children never get to have the “ideal” childhood where
they can just relax and be children. The fewer lot that get to experience this
are often rich and privileged.

            This subject
is highly convoluted and full of ethical dilemmas. There seems to be a
stalemate in the matter, but there has been a shift towards abolishing the
practice in recent years. In my opinion, child labor laws should be pushed
through. The logic behind this position is that if a child needs a job they
must really need it. With that said, there should be guidelines that protect
the children that are working like ensuring right pay and reasonable work load
and man hours.