Psychological Injury to Children at Work: A Review of the Literature

Psychological Injury to Children at Work: A Review of the Literature

Daman Ahuja (School of Public Health, SRM University, India)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJCESC.2015010102
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Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 talks about the hazardous units of the employability and prohibit the employers to employ children in them and regulate employability of children in the non-hazardous units. Law has laid emphasis on physical injury that effects the physiology of a child but the “psychological injury” is left as such. Psychological injury can have disastrous impact to shape the personality of a child. The paper reviewed types of non–hazardous occupations where children are involved at work, methods, Ericson's developmental stages of children affected by child's labour activities, assessing psychological effects, constitutional provisions; psychosocial analysis, and concluded that once a child gets employed he or she loses the freedom to spend his or her time by his own free will.
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Children are the soft tissues of a society, if nurtured well, they have all capacity to blossom into healthy and productive citizens of a country. They are considered as the future investment of a family, a society, a country and of course a global village. This investment required to be groomed with love and affection, leisure and play, education and vocational skills, healthy food and medical support, in their forming years of childhood. If they are not groomed with these basics attributes of life, they will grow as dwarf, limped, half grown, sick and delinquent adults.

Unfortunately in spite of being aware about these facts people who are responsible for them show their helplessness in fulfilling the basic rights of the Children. Parents, teachers, employers, intelligentsia, bureaucrats and politicians, everybody have reasons to quote. Numerous reasons are citied for this. Poverty, illiteracy, poor quality of education in government schools, unattractive style of teaching, lack of social security, broken homes, migratory population, abuse, second generational vicious circle of being born into a poor family, unemployment of adult labour, easily available supply side, inexpensive labour force, tenderness of children, nimble finger concept, unquestionable attitude of children, unorganised labour force (un-unionised), and the list can continue.

Children in Labour Markets

The fact still remains that children continue to sweat into the heat of labour markets. We do see children as young as 6 years, are being employed in all kind of petty jobs. Jobs that fetch them full fill their basic needs. It may be food, clothes, sleepers, toffies, cold drink, cloths, or some petty money for their siblings and families. They are found in all across the country but we can find them as close to “The Temple of Democracy- Parliament house, or “The Symbol of Sacrifice- India Gate.” We may find them selling flowers, pen, pencils, mopers, books, mobile chargers, toys, earphones at the red lights or cleaning cars, washing utensils at road side dhabas, helping automobile mechanics, selling anything to everything which they could. A list of informal jobs where children are working have been listed in Table 1.

Table 1.
Children employed in types of jobs
1. In tea stalls, small hotels and restaurants
2. For cleaning, in homes, hospitals, shops, and offices.
3. In garages, the children repair cars or assist the mechanics
4. Push-carts or rickshaws
5. Dealing with garbage disposal
6. Buying vegetables, cleaning them and then selling them
7. As porters in bus stations, railway stations as well as in markets and godowns
8. Construction work in homes, shops and offices
9. Employment in shops
10. Repairing rickshaws, cycles, carts, chairs
11. Repairing electronics like coolers, refrigerators, irons, fans and so on, and also
13. Work as barbers
14. Ironing clothes
15. Sell ice creams, fruits, vegetables, juice, lassi, or work in shops that sell these
16. Sell newspapers, magazines, coconuts, peanuts in buses and trains
17. Sell essential goods on the footpaths, like handkerchiefs, towels and edible items
18. Washing or cleaning cars
20. Washing articles, lights or working as waiters in tent houses, marriages and parties
21. Domestic work
23. Bangle factories
24. Sewing
25. Sell balloons
26. Embroidery on clothes
27. Polishing shoes
28. Painting, distempering and white washing homes
29. Playing dholaks (drums)
30. Printing books or cards
32. Furniture making
33. Jhuggi making
34. Brick making
35. Sell drinking water
36. Selling cigarettes, tobacco, betel nuts and leaves
37. Bag making
38. Polishing utensils
39. Garland making
40. Book binding
41. Handicrafts,like pens, toys, belts, bags,purse, hats
42. Making shoes/ sandals
43. Selling meat, chicken, eggs
44. Pushing carts up hill or on inclines
45. Sowing seeds, harvesting, ploughing, watering farms
46. Animal husbandry (cows, buffaloes, goats, donkeys et cetera)
47. Gathering fire wood as well as feed for animals
48. Working in small workshops that deal in electronics like tubelights
49. Assisting ‘madaris’ (or animal trainers) in road side shows
50. Selling liquor/ alcohol
51. Working in doctors’ clinics or at drug stores
52. Working in photo framing shops
53. Welding
54. Cleaning rail coaches
55. Working as or with cooks
56. Working as guards
57. Working as or with blacksmiths
58. Making mud pots or utensils and selling the same
59. Working in nurseries, selling plants
60. Rope making
61. As conductors or helpers in private buses
62. Carpet making
63. Selling narcotics like smack, charas, ganja, marijuana and so on
64. As beauticians (girls)
65. As maid servants (girls)
66. Pick pocketing, joining gangs
67. Selling newspapers, magazines, edible goods, cleaning cars at red lights
68. Making paper envelopes
69. Replacing punctured tyres
70. Printing on cloth

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