TED Conversations

Said Farah-Ceh

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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.
    • thumb
      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.

      • 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.
        • thumb
          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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.