Child Labor Laws Should Be Enforced

Child Labor Laws Should Be Enforced

Alexandria Beller, Staff Writer

As someone who’s experienced unfair working hours and conditions, I believe that child labor laws should be strengthened and enforced. 

For example, according to KCCI Des Moines, Iowa lawmakers decided to “loosen” their child labor laws in the state, allowing children to work more hours a day and later at night as 16-17 year-olds. This should be illegal because these teens are minors. As this action is taking place this could affect a child mentally and physically due to the harm on their bodies and mental states. Most of these kids are high schoolers; this can develop them to have poor academic accomplishments due to them being drawn toward work instead of their education.

The National Educational Longitudinal Survey provided studies that showed the more these children worked, the more prone they were to dropping out of school to chase after the money life. According to the NELS, “There’s a large representative panel for young people who were between 16-19 years old found that more hours per week during high school was associated with lower levels of education compared to ages 28-31.” This is significant considering that high school students work over the maximum hours, which is unfair to them. This effect happens locally, especially when teens are working in fast food places or grocery stores. They work high and long hours reducing their sleep and causing them to lack on their education. 

Moreover, unethical child labor affects a child’s mental and physical state. For example, studies shown from the website Plus One explain how working long hours without proper health awareness leads to increased adolescent health problems like diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. This implies that teenagers are more focused on their work than their bodies. 

Excessive work hours in adolescence are also associated with depression, stress, and anxiety, as well. According to the Priority Group, a high work overload could increase high depression. Child labor also creates increased stress from using large equipment or being around dangerous machines which could cause stress and anxiety in a little body. Child labor could also cause brain damage from toxins from inside buildings with chemicals working inside these types of facilities. 

This is not to say that adolescents should not be allowed to work at all. There is a positive payoff for adolescents who work in ethical jobs and safe conditions. For example, some children might enjoy the fact of work due to making their own money, almost like it’s a reward or prize for their work ethic. Sometimes, children work early due to families with low incomes, this could be a positive effect for the children because this keeps them and their families from going homeless. It could also lead children into having good time management and learn other life skills at a young age. According to, “Working during school vacations, weekends, or after hours can empower children to learn time management and other life skills at an early age.” Even though this happens to children, it may be a positive effect.

But those positives are negated when children and teens are working in unsafe conditions and heavy work hours that take away from their schooling. In places like Iowa, creating rules where children can do factory work at the age of 14 will cause children’s education to plummet. And their physical and mental wellness to go negative from the harm this will cause the child. I believe that child labor laws should be enforced in every state due to children being affected by work in negative ways by losing focus on education, mental health, and the damage and harm to bodily functions caused by the work the children are placed in.