The concept of children being view as a social construction has entirely changed over time due to the outcome of political, social and cultural battles between groups with distinct ideas about the best way to care for children. As a result, this paper aims to argue why there is a need to eliminate child work.
Concept of Childhood/ Child labour
In order to consider childhood from a social constructionist view is to discover the meaning which individual’s attribute to childhood within a particular cultural context. Childhood is a global proven and throughout past, which sometimes considers a child as innocent, helpless, a consumer, a worker with another household employee, a danger to society and it is a construction that shifts over time (Prout, 2010). Historians of childhood have maintained over the meaning, such as Arie?s and Baldick, (1996) affirmed that the concept of ‘childhood’ did not occur before the seventeenth century; thus, children were small adults with the same skills, privileges and obligations. Hence childhood varies from society to society and its context based on diversity, the belief of the people and their culture (Mhic Mhathu?na and Taylor, 2012:40-42). Childhood can be described as the early stage of all human life in all societies and cultures. Not all people in the world have the same idea of childhood which proves that childhood is neither global nor natural (Rea, 2008; Basu, 2003 & Ali Norozi and Moen, 2016; Mhic Mhathu?na and Taylor, 2012:41). However, according to James & James (2012:122) ‘states that social construction is a theoretical view that investigates how reality collaborated in everyday life through community’s communications and sets of discourses’. Also, Kehily (2013) affirms that social constructionist picture develops a discourse within which children are not yet adult as they are in the process of developing rather than the person. The socially constructed of childhood is signifies that the understanding of childhood is not a biological process. Instead, it is the society which agrees when a child is a child and when a child becomes an adult; for that reason, the concept of childhood cannot be separated as it tangled with the societies factors (Ali Norozi and Moen, 2016; Mhic Mhathu?na and Taylor, 2012). However, despite the comprehensive understanding of the above of what people mean by childhood and the position children take is not steady but differs from times, States and Nations. There is significant variation in what people in diverse cultures think about the place of children in society, involving what children should and shouldn’t be doing at particular times as well as how children must be socialised at a particular stage at which they should be viewed as adults. As a result, sociologists articulate that childhood is in a social context (Mhic Mhathu?na and Taylor, 2012:39). Observing from the social constructionist viewpoint, the concept of the developing child associated with psychology and the work of Piaget, in particular, represent childhood in terms of deficiency (James and Prout, 1997). Childhood in other hand is shaped by the political, economic and cultural conditions of society which impacts on children developmental ways. This signifies that childhood possesses a certain degree which is established and termed by the people (Ali Norozi and Moen, 2016).
A child is considered to be every human being young than 18years unless the majority in the law which applies to the child is differed (Wild, 2013:25; Noguchi, 2002; Balton, 1990). Looking at the meaning of child indicates that every child need to have freedom, obligation, and rights to be educated and as such, no child should be forced to work as they need special protection and care to grow into adulthood. Article 3 of the UNCRC highlighted the best interests of children must be the primary concern in making choices that may influence them. Addition, United Nation Convention Rights of the Child 1989(UNCRC) lay down possible standards which enforced Countries to give children an atmosphere and care, which will educate young children and enjoy their freedoms (Noguchi, 2002; Balton, 1990; Lawrence-Karski, 1996). Therefore, adults should ensure that children have acquired what the best suit their development. Under the law, a child work signified as labour to children which is unfair and illegal to children under the age of 18 which is believed to be harmful to their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cognitive development (Woodhead, 2004; O’Donnell, Rosati and van Doorslaer, 2005). Additionally, the Children Act, (2001) terms harm as an illegal action which comprises of neglecting children to different kinds of abuse (Irish Statute Book). However, Parton (2012) advocated that resolving of what must be considered child work are socially constructed, and are therefore reflective of the ethnicity and values at a particular period. Children who are involved in child work may learn how to be productive and may become independent and mature citizens. However, the children working in these types of activities deprived them of attending school regularly and socialise with their peers (Wild&Street, 2013; Rea, 2008; Fassa, Parker and Scanlon, 2010).
Child work is a reality of life for children in many countries, and it is an issue that involves us all. It is the concern of everyone to participate in the banned of child work.Child work is not a new issue because it has been existent in every part of the world since ancient periods. In a recent history, it appeared as a concern during the industrial revolt when children were made to work in dangerous conditions for up to 12 hours a day. In 1860, fifty percent of children in Ireland between the age of five and fifteen years were labouring. In 1919, the world embarked on to report the concern of child work and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) implemented standards to eradicate it. During the 20th Century, some legally binding agreements and international conventions were made, but despite these, child work continues to till this day (Rea, 2008:5). But the fact that there are many third world countries experiencing economic hardship which puts children in a state of working in an unsafe and unsuitable environment that influence their adolescence, there is a need to ban because every child deserves a better education. Child labour is a difficult problem that requires an inclusive solution. The most significant result is to provide children with their right to be educated and feel secure. Though there are individual charity organizations over there trying to reduce the rate of young children working in such counties still child work exists living children to work in an environment with no access to toilet and drinking amenities (ILO, 2013).