My father said you're always asking me for money, so why don't you get you a little job so you can make your own?

High school student, Youth panel for the committee

Parents encourage adolescents to get jobs, because doing so will enable them to buy the things they want or because work is seen as an inherent good. A common belief in the United States is that holding a job builds character and teaches a young person what real life is like. Interviews with parents support this idea; parents expect that jobs will teach their adolescents to be dependable, punctual, and responsible (Greenberger and Steinberg, 1986). Working adolescents also describe themselves as more punctual, responsible, and dependable than those who are not employed (Greenberger, 1984).

I first started a job because my parents thought it would teach me responsibility.

High school student, Youth panel for the committee


The discussion of child labor in America is taking place at a time of intense debate over the legitimacy of child labor throughout the global economy. It is interesting to note that the issues that have emerged in the United States differ substantially from those addressed by the International Labour Organization (ILO). In the United States, the primary concerns have been the availability of work for low-income teenagers, the health and safety of the work environments of children and adolescents, and the compatibility of that work with young people's educational needs. On the international front, in contrast, it is the legitimacy of child labor itself that is debated. The most recent ILO convention on child labor (No. 138) was adopted in 1973 and ratified by 55 countries (excluding the United States); its stated objective is "the effective abolition of child

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