In this discussion I will be addressing the topic Should children under the age of 14 be able to be legally employed? I will be looking at the advantages and disadvantages of children who are under the age of 14 working in paid employment. In particular what motivates them to work and the dangers and potential problems that someone under 14 presents in the workforce.
The case for the affirmative side can be argued by putting the question Why do most people work? The most obvious answer would be Money. Everyone needs money; children who are under the age of 14 need money just like older people. They need it to spend not on things like groceries or a mortgage, but entertainment and to keep up with the latest trend in things. It is hard to get by on pocket money alone.
On the other hand the argument against children under 14 needing money is very simply stated they are still under their parents care, and do not have to look after themselves like older people do; therefore they do not need money. Their parents can provide anything that they require. Another thing to consider is that they might be depriving older teenagers or adults of a job. I will deal with the possibility of exploitation later.
But it is not only money, for a lot of older children and or younger teenagers working can be a very positive thing for them, that can lead to many benefits in life. The jobs that are in question here are not high paying jobs, so they require very little experience, and give considerable experience for their later life. Kids these days are looking for challenges, working keeps them occupied, it also gives them confidence and self-esteem.
However, there is the possibility of losing self-respect by taking up a job because children are often not ready to take on all the responsibility of working. What happens is that because the job is hard or tedious usually for very little money, as employers pay as little as possible, it can be a bad experience for later life. The kid can get the attitude that work, for so little pay, sucks. Then there are the unscrupulous employers who can and sometimes do get away with paying incorrect wages, knowing that a kid can be easily confused and not confident about asserting their rights.
Some kids might be forced into working if there was a law saying that they could, because their parents might be unemployed and force their children to work for a variety of reasons, large families, poor families. People learned a valuable lesson in the past after kids were being put to work in coalmines, or as chimney sweeps. The hours of the job could dramatically affect their school marks, and also they might be missing out on a social life altogether. The law could be used against kids in these ways, because they might be scared, or just do not know how to assert the rights that they have. Parents might stop supporting kids because they think their kids are looking after themselves, when in actual fact they could be pushing them out onto the street making them homeless.
However on the other hand these can easily be seen as rather extreme cases that are not likely to happen, just because some people might abuse the law, or a handful of kids might be immature, does it mean that others should miss out on such great opportunities in life? Of course I am not talking about young children here, the people this discussion is focusing on is kids bordering on being teenagers, and young teenagers. Certain jobs must necessarily not be open to kids because of such problems of safety; since they might not be that mature, they could get themselves into danger, but this still leaves a plethora of jobs open to them.
In conclusion I can say that I am neither for or against the proposition that children under the age of 14 should be legally employed , but rather that a law like that need not be written in stone, and that in light of changes, it could be changed. Consider this, is it not true that with every freedom there are risks involved?