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)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7507-8.ch068
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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.

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