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Child labour (benefits and disadvantages)

17 Jun 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
Current Events, Health, Society and culture

What are some benefits of child labour?  What are the top five worst child labour jobs?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Child labour refers to work done by children that is harmful to them, such as work that is dangerousillegal, or prevents the education of a child.  There are both benefits and disadvantages associated with child labour - both for the child and the adults/community they work for/with.

Let's start our investigation with the Child Labour and Child Labour (Specific Industries) ManyAnswers posts that give a great overview of the topic with really helpful links.

For some additional information about how New Zealand is involved with initiatives to stop child labour, have a look at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment page on child labour. It's great to know New Zealand is helping, and this page gives some great links too.

Because child labour is a global issue, the next place we looked was the United Nations' website. We typed 'child labour' into the search box and hit enter. There were a lot of great resources here, try to read as many as you can.  Quite a long way down the list of results, we fould Child Labour - Resources for Speakers on Global Issues. This page has lots of information, and includes a statement about some kinds of work children do that need not be classed as child labour. The article goes on to talk about the reasons behind child labour, and this is where we can find out the benefits. Look at the sections Market Demand and The Effects of Income Shocks on Households to find the information.

The International Labour Organisation is another great place to look for information about this topic. Use their search bar to search for 'child labour'. We found these results, there are a lot of them! We dug through these results, and found some really good information - they have a Child Labour topic (kind of like our ManyAnswers topic pages) as well as a page all about Child Labour and Business. Both of these have lots of links to great pages.

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their ‘about us’ or ‘contact’ pages.

There is some good information about child labour available from the EPIC resources Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Global Issues in Context (make sure you're logged in before clicking on these links). Try a search there for child labor (the American spelling of 'labour' brings up the best results) to bring up some reliable sources.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online.  Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Some topics can be difficult to investigate because they are upsetting to talk about or controversial. You may find lots of sites that talk about these topics that are people's own opinions - be careful of these sites as they may not have been researched. Remember the guidelines for assessing a website's reliability, and that you can use the information in books from your library to check what people say online.

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