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Said Farah-Ceh

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Working children: should we prohibit, permit or promote it.

For many years various international institutions (such as Unesco or the goverment) have fought against child labor, saying it is a way to exploit them. But since 1976 in Peru there is an organization of children and adolescents who are clamoring for their right to work, ensuring that through work they can get different skills, knowledge and social abilities.

* What is your personal position on this issue that concerns us all, in one way or another?
* If you were the minister of labor in your country, what position would you have to child labor.

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    Jul 9 2012: I think children should be free to work if they want to.

    But the roadblock here is, in this day and age, children are not looked at a full citizens capable of paving their own paths.

    Many, if not most, children are dependent on their guardians to have their best interests in mind. And for many guardians, what the child wants is not what the guardian feels is in the child's best interest... and the guardians are speaking from their own interests.

    I think strengthening and redefining children's rights is a necessity and deeply intertwined with your question... because currently, the majority of the world values consumerism above all else. So, if children and adolescents can't work for themselves then they are seen as less than in society.

    I was lucky to have parents that asked, and asked often, what I wanted as a child and were helpful when I started working in my early teens. I worked as a choreographer and teaching assistant. Jobs that fully informed who I am today, how I learn and how I now advocate for my son.
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      Jul 9 2012: Thank you for your point of view.
      I also think that we should permit it, with all the vigilance and rights that it should represents.
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      Jul 12 2012: Jess! What a well considered and expressed answer!
  • Jul 6 2012: I believe that there is a great value in kids labor. The value, of course, is the kids' themselves. The contribution of it is so important; only through struggles kids (or human beings in general) would acquire confidence, self-esteem, respect to the other and to themselves. Also, once you need to work for something, you understand that it has value. How would you appreciate something that you get with no conditions? A kid who has a responsibility on the shoulders would find it much easier to lead himself later in life.
    Needless to say,I'm not referring to a tough work (we don't want our kids tortured, after all), rather a role which would give a kid the sense of responsibility.

    With that being said, if I was the minister of labor in my country, I would enable kids labor, but only to those who truly interested in that.
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      Jul 7 2012: Exactly, might it extend to convicts as well?

      One of the problems is that kids want to contribute and the parents train them not to do this or that because they will break something so after being told not do this or that they are trained not to this or that and when the kid becomes a teenagers the parents wonder why the kid won't do anything.
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      Jul 7 2012: I completely agree with everything you just said. Lia Kohelet.
      Something I loved about your speech, is it as being directed towards the pleasure that work can produce to the child, and also the benefits in the short, medium and long term he/she will get. Putting aside the economic factor or the enforcement by their parents.
      • Jul 7 2012: Thank you, Said. I'm happy I could help.
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      Jul 12 2012: Sabin isn't it our responsibility as adults to reform those educational systems for not only our kids but for the others whose parents could not give a fig?
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          Jul 13 2012: Sorry Sabin, 20 is an adult and welcome to this crazy hard club where we are all just guessing at the right answers!
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          Jul 13 2012: YIKES! I am more sorry than you can imagine about this error of mine.Please be certain of that.
          My only answer to your question is that we try everything and ward off the complacency and disinterest that have done others in. I adore the questions you ask. Keep asking them of everyone and you can help change the world. Doesn't it help to know that there are others like you around the world who are still trying? It helps me.
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          Jul 13 2012: Gotta match, Sibin? We will light them together, half a world apart.
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      Jul 12 2012: I agree with you, but in the 3rd point. Because I think that the children should be free to choose a job even if his/her family has enough money, sometimes we just work for pleasure and for that the financial issue is not a problem...

      Cheers!
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    Sarah M

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    Jul 12 2012: Do we say no to sweat shops and other undesirable jobs. Of course we do. But do we stop the local paperboy/girl earning pocket money or kids with after school jobs? I worked from 15 after school and on weekends and that built a string work ethic in me. It did me well
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    Jul 10 2012: In everything we must find balance.

    Does anyone truly think the world would be a better place if Michael Jackson never sang "I Want You Back", or "ABC"? Alright, so we all believe in child labor, it's just a matter of how bad we let it get.

    Admittedly that's a bit like the old joke...

    "Would you sleep with me for a hundred dollars?"

    "No, what do you think I'm a whore?"

    "How about a million?"

    Smiles...

    "Okay, so we both agree that you're a whore, now we're just arguing price"
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      Jul 12 2012: The Churchill quote aside, I do think the results of singing in Jackson's life is something the world could have lived without (not the music - his agony that he projected onto others). If you reflect on how Jackson himself felt about it - his first hand experience- which I think led to his early death - the result is not good.
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        Jul 12 2012: You know it's funny, I knew he was a bad example, because of the trauma he endured later in life partially being caused by his childhood fame... but at the time, I couldn't think of a better example of someone who did something at 12, that so many people still enjoy. I'm not even a fan, but there are a few songs, "ABC" and "I Want You Back" being the best examples, that can't help but put a smile on my face.

        Since then I have thought of a better example. Dakota Fanning, in "I Am Sam", or the kid who played Elliot in ET, should it have been illegal for them to be below the age of 17? She got nominated for an oscar. Should the Disney channels existence be illegal or just some of their horrible content?

        It's funny I actually watched this video the other day of Michael http://youtu.be/AE_zxpeBaYM because I mentioned him here... and, looking back, there is a part of it, that's just really creepy. The kids are so on point, that you just have to think "How many times do you have to smack a kid to get him to do things that perfectly?", it's horrible.

        Then I reallized... Well, he probably would have had a drunk dad that beat the crap out of him either way. Would it really have been that much better without the music?

        So, I still think child labor, is more a concern of abuse, the fact that he worked 7 days a week and never had a childhood, than a concern of "Should it be legal for talented children to be paid for their work?".

        I think most of us would actually like to see more talented children paid for their work. There's a huge push to start paying college athletes in the works right now, because quite a few of them don't get good degrees, and this is the most popular they're ever going to be. People don't go to childrens concerts and recitals to see the school board, or teacher in action... They make money.
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          Jul 12 2012: David, you might not realize how very much I appreciate my dialogue with you. You touched upon my real concern and that is no surprise because you are so insighful. My worry is that, a few exceptionally talented persons aside, we might be empowering unscrupulous persons who use child labour with intelligent justifications in areas of the world where there might be legislatiion but corruption allows these things to continue. Especially now, how do authorities actually stop it when it is so blatant and even illegal. Now there are surveillance devises that warn bad guys of incursions to stop their crimes (against humanity). Human trafficking is still more common than we assume and children make prime long term resources for some. I do not ever want to empower those without a conscience. I watched a documentary movie from India on this topic and it was impactful.
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          Jul 12 2012: "How many times do you have to smack a kid to get him to do things that perfectly?", it's horrible.

          Interesting, but I think there are another ways to encourage them to do it well.
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    Jul 10 2012: The bigger question to ask is why do any of us need to work or be employed at all. The word employment connotes indentured labour - that means we are all being exploited by the profit motive - paid in return for our servitude. The fact is that we have been hoodwinked into believing that a gainfully employed person isa contributing member of society. The more they work, the more they consume and the more the economy keeps ticking along. The biggest growth area of jobs worldwide is in the so-called service economy - marketers helping us consume more - more hamburgers, more information, more websites, more shopping, more holidays, more ideas worth spreading, more more. The only chance you have of making a difference in the world is if you stop being an employee. Just stop being a member of normal society.

    As far as children are concerned - they have always been exploited as labour and only started to come into a more creative period in life during the 20th century due to the work of spiritualists like Balnkenburg, Montessori, Steiner and Krishnamurthi. The rich children were educated before to be rulers and the poor served. Now we have a huge middle class worldwide that expects to learn and be purposeful and also they expect products and services too. It's a funny old conundrum that will be very difficult to get out of until our idea of purpose-filled meaningful life is not defined by how many hours we work, how much we earn and what our spending ability is in a consuming society. Until then someone will always exploit someone else.
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      Jul 10 2012: Your pint of view is very interesting,
      I really like it because you are proposing a complete shift of paradigm, or rather, you are promoting to see things in a much simpler way.

      Thanks for the perspective,
      is to think.
  • Jul 12 2012: I vote for Right to work.As far as I am concerned, working is not a crime.
    Some children wants to study but some other don't have interest in studies.If I were the minister I would see every child have minimum education with which they can live with better standards.I will not only take care on education their interests are also given priority.After having the minimum education then choice will be left with the children that they want to continue their studies or not.I will encourage them to work to give the financial support to their families,I mean part-time jobs.this is the choice of children to work or not.They should not be forced to do.
    I will not encourage child labor in the sense that they are not allowed to work for the whole without having studies since studies are given top priority.
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      Jul 12 2012: Work is not a crime in north American and in many countries but we still live in a world where unscrupulous people can take our words as permission for heinous acts like slavery and child expliotation. Do you think only the good guys use technology for warnings of what is against their inteersts?
      And how do you integrate the reality that kids who work in highschool - while often brighter but poorer - do not get the grade results that would get them into the 'best schools" and by that I hope you read the schools that would get them onto the easier roads through networking leaving these bright and capable human beings to manage their local walmart.
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      Jul 12 2012: Here! Here!
      (knocking on the table)
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    Jul 12 2012: I think that children should be stopped from working. If they are allowed to work, they wouldn't go to school and therefore they are going to spend their whole life withoit education and the chance of having a good job in future. Every state should prohibit this.
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      Jul 12 2012: Currently in the U.S. there is a historical unemployment rate, the same happens in Spain, Greece, Portugal, etcetera. And those who are disadvantaged in this situation are generally professionals. For those who are used to working, we are ready to find a job to help us pay for every day.

      How could we tell a child to stop working because in 20 years he/she can get a better job, since this is no longer true in most countries. A school degree does not ensure a good job, and often not even a job.

      Smile!
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    Jul 12 2012: Definitely it should be stopped
  • Jul 12 2012: for the majority of the world, I think it should not be permitted. For places where their situation urges, well that's a different issue all together.

    Let's see, here are a list of +/- points if it is permitted:

    -kids decide for themselves if they want to participate and experience work
    -learn the value of money, hard work
    -some might have no other option due to their family background/environment
    -hone real life skills, as mentioned by "Sir Ken Robinson"
    -if promoted too much, some kids might fall prey to the instant gratification of receiving money, and the whole learning process may backfire
    -chance of employers exploiting them
    -there is a lack of jobs in the market, inclusion of kids will only serve to increase competition for the jobs
    -then again, there is also the fact that most of them won't be qualified to do anything other than menial labor
    -which gets us to the point where we see that a lot of parents (like mine) have tried to teach their kids by providing them allowance money for doing things like household chores, which is like working, and is done in a controlled environment, under the supervision of parents.

    So, all in all, it is circumstantially determined-depending on the individual to take up work, or on situations where basic resources are not accessible. But, for rest of the "resourceful" world, it won't serve any purpose. I'm a high-school student, and I'm overwhelmed with coursework, study material, extracurricular activities, social engagement etc. there is no where I can place work in my schedule apart from the summer holidays-something I've definitely taken advantage of, doing a few unpaid internships at local companies, and finding universities to serve as assistant to 4th year students in my field of interest. But, then again, you can do all these to gain experience without permitting child labor. Some of my friends haven't even started thinking about work. So, IMO, I would prohibit, although depending on various conditions.
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      Jul 12 2012: Hi Kanisk, I really like the way in wich you present your points,
      and actually I agree with most of them, but...what makes you think that the kids are not able to learn anything from work? (point #5)

      And also (point #7) I think that children can do a lot of job other than menial (it is not a bad thing to do), but in my experience kids are very helpful providing differents points of view in several situations that for most adults seems very complicated.

      Cheers!
      • Jul 12 2012: Well, for point #5, I'm thinking more from the point of view of a 15 year old kid, where they, "lets say" are still learning about the importance of money. If they require money to go out with friends, for instance, and the parents don't provide it, they will take up these jobs just for the money aspect, and not for the fruitful experience.

        As for point #7, I agree with you, children can do jobs that are other than menial tasks. But I'm saying that it is next to impossible for kids to do complicated jobs. Our world, with a population of upwards 7bn+, already has adults who are accomplished enough to do difficult jobs. When a certain amount of these adults don't make it to that high-tier job, a lot of them try the low-tier jobs. An employer would most certainly pick the more "experienced" and "accomplished" adult for the task than the child, who at his/her age shouldn't be thinking about money anyways, but rather gaining experience and knowledge of his field of interest.

        And for the matter of high tier jobs, I think we all know that no industrialist/wall st. corporate/etc will be placing a 13 year old on a directors seat, just because they've desired to experience things.
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          Jul 12 2012: Hahahahaha,
          pretty interesting but I dont think either they would place someone in a director seat just because he/she is old enough.
      • Jul 12 2012: Well hey, I didn't just say "old enough". By age, I was referring to the time it would take to gain adequate experience, which in-turn translates to a B./M./Phd. in their fields. On what basis will a child gain entry to a "well-paying" job? Will they have proof of mastery in the field which they are pursuing their jobs? No. The only jobs one can get without proof is labor-something which exists, and is classified as "under the table money".

        Experience is the key word here.
  • Jul 11 2012: Prohibit. Kids aren't kids anymore.
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      Jul 12 2012: I dont understand your asertion,
      you suggest that it should be probihit, but also saying that kids arent kids anymore?
      • Jul 12 2012: Prohibit kids from working, because more-and-more, kids are working instead of exploring, reading, playing, using their imaginations, and ... being kids!
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          Jul 12 2012: Thank you Conor for clarify it.
        • Jul 12 2012: Could you develop the vision you have of "being Kids" Conor please ? I find this interesting.
  • Jul 10 2012: Does the work impede the child's development?

    Word "labor" is often found synonymous with hard physical work, which has been proved harmful and dangerous for children (kids working in coal mines during the industrial revolution).

    Going to school is a sufficient engagement for children.


    Schools themselves should be considered as an introduction or a representative of principles valued in adulthood careers.
    The child's attitude towards school may be equivalent to the level of diligence he/she will display in his/her future job, therefore it should be taken seriously.
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    Jul 9 2012: WoW!
    I just read an article in that concern, the title was "Why we pass the exams but do not learn?" it is in spanish, but if you are interested here is the link:

    http://www.revistaeducarnos.com/sites/default/files/educ%40rnos.6.pdf

    Cheers, and thank you agian for sharing a personal experience.
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    Jul 6 2012: Like some friends already said here , it's difficult to give an universal clear cut answer as it depends on the country where the child belongs to and it's economy as well as econimical background a child comes from. We all here would love to say, children should play and learn only.....but to some situation , in many countires a child's hand also has to be consdiered hand of bread earner otherwise family starves including that child....that's the reality of our world.

    Some years back in my country due to pressure from international organisations like ILO, UNESCO etc Child labour was ban.......they were put in schools ran by NGO which offers education but not bread.......hungry kids were unable to learn so dropped out en mass......NGO even Government came up with new initiative ...which if kid attend school s/he will get food situation improved a bit but not much as back home other mouths are hungry .......

    So to give a clear cut universal seems difficult for me......reality is heart breaking.
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      Jul 6 2012: Who says the Unesco is absolutely right. In fact the children of which I speak, belonging to "Manthoc" fight face to face with the people of the United Nations, Unesco, etc..

      Who the hell they think they are to determine what is best for whom?

      And also you, as other many freiends of ted are talking just about the economic situation, but what happens when the children wants to work instead of play. Actually they see work as a game with rules and responsabilities, wich most adults dont see it like this.

      What do you think?
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        Jul 7 2012: Not sure who said, but sure I am I never consider UNESCO kind of organisation to be right even mostly forget about being absolutely right .

        "who the hell they ..............." That's a valid question of yours, which is mine as well but reality is they determines things in many instances for many countries as they did for my country.

        There can be other factors other than economics I agree but can you give me some statistics about how many kids with affluent economic background goes for work to earn food?

        The adults who sees work as fun they outperform all other and succeed but they are mere minority. You might have talked or done research on working kids in good length , so might have interesting insight...would love to hear those.

        Me being from such country where people including kids need to fight against hunger ,whenever have time and come accross such kid tried to understand what their view is about their work. Almost all were telling that they are just unlucky so poor so need to work hard ........none of them told me to take it as a game......but caution is I was not researching so my question to them can be faulty , so the answer as well
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          Jul 7 2012: They determin also a lot of thing in my country, I am (and live) in one of those called "developing country" but I dont like that name.

          I understand what you are saying, and of course I dont have the statistics you are asking for because usually I do my research with children in need, not with wealthy kids. You have a good point.
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        Jul 12 2012: Hi Said
        Let me correct, it's mostly UNICEF not UNESCO who are busy in offering such prescription in so called third world countries (now a days the terms is made a bit civilized by calling those 'developing countries) without understanding intrinsic challenges and opportunities of those countries

        Really curious I am to know about your research findings.
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          Jul 12 2012: I can send you a few of them, but they are in Spanish.
          Let me know if you are interested.

          Smiles!
  • Jul 6 2012: In order for children to develop esp. mentally they need to play in nurturing and stimulating environment. They learn a lot from interaction with their environment and peers, from games and various situations. They are easily disturbed by stressful situations and do not know yet how to cope with it (even adults struggle with stress and relationships).

    Now most workplaces do not provide such environment. Quite opposite. Children struggle to cope with high demand, following silly rules, executing senseless tasks, repetitiveness and experiencing stress from expectation to perform beside other.

    While current school system is far from being perfect, it does provide opportunity for kids to grow, interact with little pressure and with guidance of qualified instructors. Children are encouraged and given the opportunity to take risks and explore new areas with little negativity.

    What school needs to do is to give children more opportunities to work on projects in a team environment so they do gradually learn life related skills. They should be encouraged to think and act independently as well as in teams, be free thinkers and learn how to NOT follow rules in certain situations so that they are more willing and ready to setup their own business when they grow up.

    I think in developed countries there is no justification for child labour. As I explained above I don't see any significant benefits but I rather serious problems with children forced to work. That does not mean kids should not be given any chores or minor work at home to help their parents. I think they need to experience a bit of everything including a few hours of harder work within strict limits.

    In developing countries, parents should theoretically be accountable and responsible for ensuring they only have children if they are able to provide for them. Of course exceptions apply but in today's world everyone including government needs to help with this issue.

    cheers
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      Jul 6 2012: Yes get the government involved as early as possible hey?
      • Jul 6 2012: Yes I think government needs to play a role as well as non-profit organizations and websites like Khan Academy?

        cheers
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          Jul 6 2012: So the government needs to be the parents because the parents are incapable of determining what is best for their child, in spite of the fact that the parent spends 24-7 with the child?
      • Jul 6 2012: "So the government needs to be the parents because the parents are incapable of determining what is best for their child, in spite of the fact that the parent spends 24-7 with the child?"

        Government role should be to ensure that all children can same degree of schooling/opportunities to be properly educated. Government is basically the least common denominator i.e. they need to guarantee the minimum acceptable level of education.

        Some parents are not capable of teaching their children because they don't care, they don't understand how education is important or they cannot for other reasons.

        Some parents are great at helping children to learn but the parents are also working so still government needs to step in.
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          Jul 6 2012: My point is that any viable solution has to be from the bottom up not the top down. The government role that speak of here in Calif has resulted in the highest paid teachers and the 47th out of 50 scholastic scores in the U.S. in other words on the surface what you say sounds fine but in reality does the opposite of what it is intended to do.

          The solution needs to be from the bottom up. Either privatize the schools or go to a voucher system as this would actually do what it is intended to do.
      • Jul 6 2012: I agree that e.g. in California the school system has huge problems. That does not mean it cannot and it shouldn't be fixed. That is like saying government employees have big benefits (like vacation and pension) so lets just dismantle the government and go from bottom up.

        We need both pressure the government and teacher unions to implement better system of rewards and teaching. At the same time we can encourage parents to engage with their kids more at home and in after school progress. Even helping school should be parents high priority.
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          Jul 6 2012: I'm saying NO it cannot be fixed. The problem here is that the public unions control the politics (file this under the tyranny of democracy) and get the laws passed in their favor. What will happen is that the state of California will be bankrupt not if just when and I mean soon or real soon. So dismiss any theoretical ideas from this discussion, as this subject is plenty REAL.

          The Real solution is bottom up and either privatization or voucher and I’m all for Khan as well but the only viable solution is from the bottom up. As demonstrated by this state’s abysmal failure.

          The R
      • Jul 6 2012: We will have to agree to disagree. I think there is always a solution. I saw unions being dealt with in other situations so I don't see anything different here.

        In order for partial privatization to work government would have to heavily subsidize it because we can't ask all parents to pay high tuition fees for basic education.
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          Jul 6 2012: I'm going to assume you are not a bad Czech, this is more than I can say for Calif government.

          The difference between the unions you have seen before and the ones in Calf are probably that the ones in Calif are public unions. The difference is that a regular union has to answer to the market place as with the united autoworkers and G.M. If GM is too generous with the union workers then GM goes broke with public unions this is not the case which has resulted in 6 figure jobs that can be retired from at age 50, at 90% or better, with gold plated medical insurance, transferable to spouse upon death.

          The above is more expensive by orders of magnitude than subsidizing the legitimately under privileged.

          You are talking ideologies I’m talking about in your face life changing reality
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      Jul 6 2012: I Could not agree more, why deny children work that involves creativity and knowledge ?
      But we must ensure that working conditions are good for them and it doesn't eat up too much of their time.
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      Jul 6 2012: I think that's the important situation. Where you see a problem (I do not see the need for children to work in developed countries) others see a solution. What I mean is that often we think that children may be working only in the unlikely event that such income is necessary for the family to survive, but what happens when these children are not forced to work, but they ask work because they want to, because they like and enjoy it ... what do you think about that possibility, is it real or its just in my imagination?
      • Jul 7 2012: Maybe I should be more explicit about what I mean by child labour. Basically it is a situation where children are forced to work or their work long hours doing work that is not beneficial for their mental/physical development.

        In situations where kids enjoy and like doing certain kind of work and it does not affect their development then I agree and don't see reason why we should prevent them to do what they like. For example, kids can learn to program and start making their websites, create pottery and so on. It is almost like a hobby. Or they are encouraged by their parents to earn some pocket money by delivering newspapers in local community.

        So in general we need to be worry about children labour but in some cases work can help kids to learn and to grow?

        cheers
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    Jul 5 2012: Children can gain skills, knowledge, and social experience at school in a setting and with a focus that will tend not to be as available later. They can be exposed to a breadth of ideas and assemble a more versatile portfolio of understanding and skills (including higher level thinking skills) than they would likely acquire in the sort of work they would get as children. They will have time to gain those sorts of work-specific skills when they are older.

    Children also typically have the opportunity to learn home skills at home in doing their family chores. These may range from helping in meal preparation, building and fixing, perhaps taking care of animals, perhaps growing things...

    These home-based jobs fit in alongside school in a way that keeps options for the future open rather than narrowing options already in childhood by drawing the focus away from education.
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      Jul 6 2012: So, it is okay to work at home for free. But when they receive a check for it is such a bad thing?
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        Jul 6 2012: It is the nature of the work and the amount of work that concerns me. Factory work is not for children, I think. Hours and hours a day of domestic work or physical labor would not be either.

        Children who tire themselves in outside work are less able to focus on their educations, and the cost of that inattention lasts a lifetime.
  • Gord G 50+

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    Jul 5 2012: Exploitation is subjective. Childhood is undefined. Economics is amoral. Evidently the suffering of others is completely subject to our perceived need. I laugh when people treat the economy as an organic reality unconnected with our true values. It isn't a function of nature. It's the expression of our desires, and our sensitivity to the plight of others.
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      Jul 6 2012: Interesting and concise.
      I think a lot like you in that regard, as we are all constantly deciding what we think is best for others (in this case, children) but each person should be able to decide what to do. Suffering, shame and happines is not the same for everyone.
      • Jul 6 2012: Everyone but children should be able to decide what to do. Most children esp. under 12 years still don't have good understanding of basic facts and developed mental capabilities.

        Therefore society needs to step in and ensure children growth within good environment that gives them ability to grow mentally and physically and learn social and other skills.
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    Jul 5 2012: I'm only 13 and I'm open to some sort of job. However, I wouldn't accept anything more than a couple of hours since I refuse to let people exploit my abilities, thus keeping me from enjoying my childhood. I need free time. In fact, I learn more during my free time than while I'm at school.
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      Jul 5 2012: Thank you Kevin,
      Actually I agree with your idea that "free time" (I find it strange that you call and if it produces a lot) and I feel that the school's all we do is "prepare us" for a future of adult exploitation.

      Im not saying that you should work 12 hours, not just you but anyone of any age should work 12 hours (unless he/she wants). What I would like to suggest is that the alternative to work not only exists in poor countries as a way for an extra income at home. Some people (children or adults) do it for pleasure.
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        Jul 6 2012: I don't think any one under 18 should ever have to work for 12 hours. In third world countries, kids certainly wouldn't have the health to work for 12 hours.
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          Jul 6 2012: and i don't think that people should not be able to get MRI scans if they have some health problems. yet, we are simply not at the point to provide everyone with an MRI scan for any minor symptom. it is nice to dream a better world. but we will not make a better world by outlawing or dismissing problems. in a country with the GDP per capita below 2000 dollars, children have to work, or they all die in hunger. and i can tell you, dying in hunger is much worse than working 12 hours.
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          Jul 6 2012: Neither in your country. Do not believe everything you hear in the news. India is noy a third world country, neither the United States a first world country, they completely ledeben life to China.

          Its enough just being in front of Donald Trump's swanky building in NYC, to trugle with more than 3 homeless asking you for few cents of dollar ... do you really think that's a first world?

          COME ON!!!

          No one (in any country) should work more than 8 hours, unless than he/she wants.
          And please, do not use your age to make us feel sorry or something. I do not believe in age, but critical judments.
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        Jul 7 2012: Krisztian Pinter.It simply comes down to health. If you force a child that is already in a low income, starving family in a third world country to work a significant amount, either their quality of work won't be worth the money they're trying to earn, or they simply won't be able to work(this is only if you are talking about third world countries). Think of a worm on the sidewalk on a hot sunny day with a pile of nice and wet soil near by. The hot sun signifies poverty and poor conditions, the worm signifies a child in these conditions and the soil signifies a path to success and decent income. If the worm is already being deprived of moisture, it certainly won't have enough strength and energy to make it to the wet soil.
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          Jul 7 2012: nobody is forcing them, especially not me. and you seem to think that people in africa or asia are silly. they know exactly what options they have, and they choose the best they can. parents also worked when they were children, and their parents too. they know exactly that this won't lead to the end of the world. this is a necessity at their level of economy.

          btw it was the level of economy in the US too. in 1700, child labor was exactly as widespread in the US and in europe. but we see so tiny time window, we consider child labor something evil. no, it is just a few hundred years back in history. we are out of it, due to hundreds of years of scientific progress, capital accumulation, etc.

          if we want to help other countries get out of that kind of poverty too, we need to allow capital to flow freely, and we should promote freedom. you can also send over some money if you so desire, but beware not to waste it. they need capital, and not aid.
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        Jul 7 2012: Oh, and I'm not using my age for anything. In fact, little of what you said applied to what I stated. I never said anything about India, the US or any country. Barely any thing you said was relevant to any arguments I made. I have a different view of you now considering your response to me.
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          Jul 7 2012: If you are not using it whay did you mention it? Yo didnt say anything obout India or the US but you used a very strong term to call the countries that are developing. The implications of the words "third world country" has implied that there are different categories of countries (ergo people), and from your discourse I assume that you come from one of those called as a "first world country".

          I also I have a different view of you, since I discovered that despite being willing to read to others still are not used to the acceptance and respect for diversity.
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        Jul 7 2012: FYI, I highly encourage diversity. It is very fool hearty to just make an assumption like that right on the spot.

        I am from America, so yes I am from a first world country. The only reason there is any poverty here is because the poverty stricken folk usually have a lot of financial trouble which is totally limited to them. I don't know how else you want me to describe ratty countries. I'm not saying all developing countries are ratty, I'm just talking about a select few. You shouldn't make such foolish assumptions that are that lazy and pessimistic. It's really quite troubling.
  • Jul 24 2012: We always decide for our childrens on the premise we are doing good for them. Each children is different and I think that they need some level of responsibility. Five days, eight hours a week is exhausting even for an adult but part time, low skilled, low physical force activities based on a profesional evaluation on this area and subjected to an academic performance in my opinion will grow happier childrens and better and more responsible citizens.
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    Jul 21 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    Prohibit it. On a broader perspective work should be participatory not forced.
  • Jul 13 2012: Great question.

    My mom was of the opinion that kids should have a childhood and that having fun was more important than anything else. It is a philosophy I am following with my children.

    That being said, I also believe children need someway to build a feeling of self-importance. There are numerous ways to do that. It could be from being good at a sport and practicing hard at it. It could come from working hard to have great grades at school. It could come from any number of places.

    I wasn't all that good at sports, I was terrible at school, I was pretty good at video games but that was a solitary affair 20 years ago. Looking back I realize now that my self-confidence, which had been abysmal most of my life, improved significantly after I started working at the age of 17.

    It wasn't until I got my first job that I felt a sense of independance. That feeling of finally controlling my own destiny changed me in profound ways. I can't help but wonder, had I worked earlier (which my mom was very much against) would I have actually gotten more out of my childhood.

    So, I am in favor of allowing children to work but I do believe there should be laws in place to keep some limits (so many hours per day/per week). In the US the laws are there but are pretty easy to get around. Family businesses and farms certainly get leniancy. There are always places willing to pay kids under the table.

    When it comes to my own children, I intend on encouraging them exactly the way Jess's parents did. I'd be more than happy to see my kids work in an environment they have a passion for. Will I "let" them work in fast food at 16? Well...I guess we'll just have to see :)
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      Jul 14 2012: Certainly, you have a point.
      All caountries should have laws specifically regulating the work of children, and follow up carefuly.

      I also think is important what you mentioned about the several ways to build a self importance.
      Thank you for sharing Jack.
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    Jul 13 2012: I start my argument by emphasising that I am not counting adolescents of age group 14 to 18 as children.
    You see a child working for two reasons : a) Low family income, forces a child to earn money for self and family, often these children, as seen in my developing nations, are pushed into informal sectors of the economy, with no security of job (& sometimes life), they don't have any access to education, so their skills remain underdeveloped, thus in future as adults they may remain deprived of quality jobs.

    So coming back to your first point : They may of 'cos have better practical knowledge of society, than non working children of their age group. But since they lack education, so they lack skills, and lastly lack a bright future.

    Coming to second point of being a labor minister : I think this situation has got more to do with education ministry/department (i.e Human Resource Development ministry in our nation), because child works to increase family income, so if govt takes care of that child not just for education, but also by providing food and clothing, s/he need not go for work and can continue their education, get skills, thus in future they'll have a wider range of jobs.
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      Jul 14 2012: Gunja, Im telling you. This group of children work because they want to, nobody is forcing them. I think there are more of this kind of kids who really want to work despite the economical situation of their family, probably just because they feel pleasure in what they are doing. And I also do not think is a matter of education, not everyone in the world has to be educated in a formal school, sometimes the streets, the markets, the real world is a a better school. For instances I see people who has a PhD, ut they haven´t work in anything yet, they have good memory but bad skills.

      Do you really think that a scholar degree asure you a better job?

      cheers!
  • Jul 12 2012: I vote for the right to a working learning environment. I come from a very hard working Catholic background and was forced to work, as soon as I could walk, at every church event weather I wanted to or not. This gave me work ethic but forgot to teach me the rest and now I wave been trying to figure out you should never work because you are required too

    You work because you desire to. The desire could be anything love passion in idea or person. If we offer children into the work place we have a responsibility as coworker bosses and teachers to constantly verify what it is they are taking home in there memory knowledge bank to ensure we are benefiting the needs of the child.

    Sadly laws will never allow this because this inherently cause favoritism in the work place. Apprenticeship is fine but should be held at the same standards but with ever job or working experience there are gonna be more times than not moment when it sucks and we must do it to become professional and it is our choice weather we will endure.

    Now some kids will just quit while others may be working to support their family and be used because their employer knows they can get away with it or maybe the individual is not quick and is just being taken advantage of.

    I think with the proper checks and balances it is appropriate.
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    Jul 12 2012: I really do consider the real work and effort of childhood to be learning and growth. They both take far more effort and energy than most adults acknowledge.
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    Jul 11 2012: The short answer permit and promote. As a feller that's been working since the age of 11 I don't think it will kill them . I put my kids to work at 14 they had to have summer jobs. At that age they have the wants and I wouldn't take money from the house to buy things they didn't need.
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    Jul 10 2012: Children should learn how to be useful.
    It totally depends on the circumstances as to what is possible or should not be allowed.
    This very much depends on country, society and family. Mexico would be suspect to me..

    In no way should children be exploited and labour almost implies that. There is a reason for the existence of unions, even adults need protection. If children were ever made to work it should only be based on their well-being, not the one they are working for.

    To start with giving them chores is a great way for them to learn. It helps them to feel appreciated, but also for them to appreciate others who do things for them (and how much work that can be).

    Everything we get for free, is worthless.
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      Jul 10 2012: Totally agre with you in everything you said, but

      ...why would you think of México as suspicious?
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        Jul 11 2012: First of all, my opinion, and that is all it is, is not based on actual experience. My son has been to Mexico and I have a feeling that the government is not much in control of what can, or should not be done. He had that feeling the moment he stepped of the plane.
        When one cannot trust the police, that's another issue. The existence of gangs does not help either.
        Your question, I think, would not even come up in the US or Canada.
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          Jul 12 2012: I know, is your opinion and I'm not judging, but I noticed that you refer to Mexico as if you knew it, but now that you mention that you've never been here and everything you're saying it's just because your son came once I find it severe.

          I myself was born on this earth that some international organizations call Mexico, I got no borders, nor do I think about them a lot. But if I had to mention other countries would think twice, especially if a country I´ve never visited.

          Here is an advice:
          You should travel before give an opinion,
          not everyone in Spain belong to the ETA;
          not all Canadians play ice-hockey;
          and so I can go on.

          Cheers!
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        Jul 12 2012: Our son had things stolen from him.

        Are you saying I can only have an opinion about Mexico when I have been there myself??
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          Jul 12 2012: As I read, you understood me very well.
          You only can have a real opinios if you have been there, otherwise it is just an speculation.

          But if we talk about real data, according to the WHO, and talking about the hazard rating in the countries in its latest revision (composed of the sum of suicides plus homicides), Mexico ranks # 14 (with a total of 15.2%) while Canada is # 18 (with a total of 13.05%). I do not think we are so different.

          Take care because you are only 2.15% far from the country you´ve mention as the dangerous
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    Jul 10 2012: I think children should work but only under close supervision of their parents. They should be free to choose & free to spend the money as well.