Monday, November 10, 2008

Children’s life during the Industrial Revolution

Children’s life during the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution is a very important part of our history. This is the meaning of Changes, but those changes were sometimes good and sometimes bad. So, were those changes a progress or decline? What are the first things that we think when we have heard about industrial revolution? We always think of Industrial Revolution as it is the meaning of modernity, progress, industries, jobs, factories, easier life, and so forth. However, in this era has had been many things that we do not know about, such as long work hours, unemployment, illegal work, children work, etc. In fact, Industrial Revolution is a real change, but it has had its dark side.

In this new era of industries, world started to live the Capitalism. Therefore, for some people, most rich people, and for some countries it was very positive in terms of economical issue. Thus, there were a high demand for labor, so society created a new social class, the working-class; every family migrated to industrialized cities, because they wanted to have jobs due to most of them were living in a high poverty level in country sides. So each member of the family should have had worked in mills. So far, the concepts of workers rights had changed; everybody, with power, benefited more the factory than the people who worked in one. Besides, in the cities, people did not live in a good way, for instance, in cheap and small houses or rooms could be habited by many people; families lived in tenements without bathrooms, etc. Those were such unhealthy houses. It was extreme poverty where everyone needed to work to survive. In deed, even children went to work because it was the main side-effects that Industrial Revolution had. The main reason was that industries needed the cheapest workers so those workers were children who were paid less than adults (men, even women). Also, children were more able to do some works that no one could do so, they were from 4 (or less) or 5 years and so on. Therefore, families’ needs were supported by children, if family’s children were unemployed, the family could not eat, as an example. Then, children worked long hours, between 12 or 15 hours per day and they were often treated badly by their bosses. Factories (textiles, cotton), agriculture, small business as selling food, and mines were the children’s most common workplaces, and, therefore they were so dangerous for them.

Some laws appeared later about children and human rights as a result of work hours, workplaces, illegal work, and working conditions which workers lived in those times. For instance, in 1833 the Factory Act and Mines Act had been trying to down children work hours, because of many facts such as mines were to dangerous, etc. Although they could not put an end to it at all, they could reduce the children and women work hours and they could mark an age when children could work, as an example, children 9 to 13 years could work 8 hours per day, others 14 and 18 years of age could not work more than 12 hours per day. Here, in this era of trying to limit human work, started to appear. Children’s parents could almost do anything to solve their children from slavery. They had to accept because they needed incomes. However this change took long, it was too difficult to change the context that people lived. There were conflicts with the benefited people from the Industrial Revolution who were ambitious and did not want to change it, with people who did not have the tools and power to abdicate the illegal issues in this time and who were suffering as slaves in factories. Politics took time for deciding that working children ought to be protected by laws as a lot of people who did not see anything with this design of children earning their keep. Children were living an extreme sacrificed life also in one of the poorest conditions in the modern age. Thanks to children, Industrial Revolution was a successful age of changes economically. After all, there are many reasons where talk about the decrease of children labor. Some reasons are: that parents started to be interested in education, so they began to send their children to schools voluntarily, and also they wanted that their children should be in their homes; and another reason is that about advances technologies, such as new machineries more heavy and complicated that they were impossible to be worked by children. On the other hand, finally this period of sacrificed life ended for children in the Industrial Revolution era.

Nevertheless, as a teacher how we can teach this difficult time to children. There are many ways which we can teach this theme to the today’s’ children, teenagers and adolescents. Showing to students some pictures or videos (documentaries films) of children in mills and factories working to earn some money to survive with their families, and at the same time we can tell them about what happened in this period of time. Or maybe, it part of our history can be played by themselves. Besides, we can connect those children’ stories with students, asking them how students would be working 16 hours a day in a factory or mine to earn almost nothing to survive, we need that this class, History classes, should be so interesting to students, as well as dynamic which encourage students to be informed about our world . The most important thing is that students acquire the knowledge about human rights and what they can do and can not. Moreover, making them to understand that if they work in a place, as students, they are going to earn less than adults, but why if both of them (students and adults) would be doing the same work, and what happened economically with this context. I think that it is important to be understood.

In conclusion, this period of time is not known very well because almost every school is focus on progress and they do not mention about the declines that were lived to reach those progress, and how much time people had to live in a decline way to reach the progress in human rights. In this case, there were children who did not know about it was happening and if what they were doing was fine or wrong, they could not say any word. Now we know that thanks to thousand of children who worked in Industrial Revolution, we can get what we have now. However, nowadays, that child labor is still doing in many countries; thousands of children are working, under 14 years, with a huge work hour and troubles in workplaces, working for all our needs. This idea started in Industrial Revolution and it has kept until today. So, is it really a Change for the better?

1 comment:

Marco Antonio Moreno said...

I fully agree
Very interesting this article