Video answer: Child labor in the industrial revolution
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The Industrial Revolution saw the rise of factories in need of workers. Children were ideal employees because they could be paid less, were often of smaller stature so could attend to more minute tasks and were less likely to organize and strike against their pitiable working conditions.
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Child workers were also very badly paid. In 1830, a child working in a cotton mill earned just one tenth of an adult’s wages. Most factory owners and businessmen were very happy to employ children as they did not have to pay them very much, so they could make more profit.
Children made up a large portion of workers in factories and mines during the Industrial Revolution. Why was child labor used, you ask? Children worked as well as adults did because using machines did not require much skill. Factory owners could pay children less than they paid adults and get away with it, because children were not very bright.
Children were ideal employees because they could be paid less, were often of smaller stature so could attend to more minute tasks and were less likely to organize and strike against their pitiable...
The first piece of law brought in to protect children was the Factory Act of 1833. It said no one under the age of nine should work in factories, and that certificates to show the age of all the workers must be kept. It also said children shouldn’t work at night and that they must have some schooling.
Children were used in coal mines to do all sorts of work. In general, their small bodies were ideal for going into deep channels in order to carry coal to the surface. This was a common job completed by children and involved them being connected to a coal cart by a strap so that they could pull the cart of coal behind them.
Another reason that businesses liked to hire children workers was because they worked for little pay. In many cases, children weren't paid at all, but worked for their room and board. When they did earn wages, children often earned 10 to 20 percent of what an adult would earn for the same job.
There were several reasons as to why the children were employed to work in factories. Some of the reasons were: Children were much cheaper than adults as a factory owner did not have to pay them as much.
Children younger than nine were not allowed to work, those aged 9–16 could work 12 hours per day per the Cotton Mills Act. In 1856, the law permitted child labour past age 9, for 60 hours per week, night or day. In 1901, the permissible child labour age was raised to 12. A Chinese child repairing shoes, late 19th century.
The overlookers used to cut off the hair of any girl caught talking to a lad. This head shaving was a dreadful punishment. We were more afraid of it than any other punishment for girls are proud of their hair.” An interview in 1849 with an unknown woman who worked in a cotton factory as a child.
The International Criminal Court further designates recruiting or using children under age 15 as a war crime. Yet, military groups continue to recruit children because they are cheap and manipulable. Many children are forced to join military groups at a young age. Child soldiers are also easier to manipulate and force into conflict. Recruiters typically target children from troubled areas or conflict zones, likely accustomed to violence and with fewer educational or work opportunities.