What are the short term and long term effects of child labor during the Industrial Revolution?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Child labor was used during the Industrial Revolution. There were various effects both in the short-term and in the long-term with the use of child labor.

There were several short-term effects of the use of child labor. One effect was the kids who were working in factories were unlikely to attend school. Some of these kids had to work because their parent or parents weren’t making enough money to make ends meet. In some cases, the child replaced the parent who had been injured on the job. Sometimes the extra money was used to bring a relative to the United States from their home country.

Another short-term effect was that the use of kids helped to keep wages low for all factory workers. Kids were paid very low wages, and since they were available to work, this helped to keep the pay low because the supply of workers had increased.

There were some long-term effects of child labor. Some of these kids ended up working for the company their entire lifetime until they retired. Some of them continued to work for the company that hired them as children. Unfortunately, some of these kids also developed health issues from working in factories with toxic materials and poorly ventilated buildings. The demanding nature of some of the work also impacted the health of these young workers throughout their lifetime.

Another long-term effect is that when these kids got married and had children, they insisted that their kids get a good education. They understood how important education was to have success later in life. They didn’t want their kids to have to work at as young of an age as they did. They wanted their kids to have a better life than they had.

A third long-term effect was the passage of child labor laws. The Progressives were outraged that companies were exploiting these kids. Under President Taft, a Children’s Bureau was established to investigate problems with child labor. Because of the efforts of the Progressives, child labor laws were passed to restrict kids from working at young ages. Additionally, compulsory education laws were passed requiring kids to go to school. These laws still exist today.

Child labor has been a problem throughout history. Some of the effects of child labor were short term while some effects were long term.