Children as Workers

Historically, children have been defined in terms of biological age. Scholars, however, criticize this definition because of the predominance of developmental perspectives on children that ignore sociocultural experiences. Accordingly, there is no universal definition of children even though the United Nations declared those who are under 18 years of age as children. However, many countries are still reluctant to conform to this age criteria, and they argue that cross-cultural children’s lived experiences are not reflected in the definition. This entry sheds light on the definition of working children and historical insights on portraying child labor and the related issues behind this characterization. It also highlights the historical and academic debate about the best interests of children as workers and “participation versus protection.”


Defining working children is ...

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