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Examine the extent of, and the reasons for, changes in the position of children since industrialisation.

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Examine the extent of, and the reasons for, changes in the position of children since industrialisation. Childhood, as we know it today is a fairly recent idea. Before the industrialisation children were, in effect, 'little adults'. The social construction of childhood is that it's created by society, constructed from social meanings and definitions. It is not a natural state or a biological stage. Instead it is shaped and given meaning by culture and society. Evidence from different cultures provides support for the view that childhood is a social construction. If childhood were simply a 'natural' state then it would be similar across all cultures but this is not the case. Anthropological studies show that other cultures may treat children in ways which might seem unusual or even unnatural in contemporary Britain. Raymond Firth in his study of the Pacific island of Tikopia, found that children carried our dangerous tasks such as using sharp tools and fishing in the open sea. ...read more.


However now in 21st century the amount of time parents spend with their children has more than doubled since the 1960s and children's welfare is seen as the major family priority. Children gradually became separated from adults. In the early years of industrial revolution children labour was widespread, children and adults work side by side. Throughout 19th century, a series of factory acts banned the employment of children in mines and factories. End of the 19th century, elementary state education was compulsory in most European countries, therefore all children would attend school rather than being used as a work force. Children were now physically separated from adult settings and had a separate legal status. These changes occur earlier in richer families than the in working class families because upper and middle class could afford to educate their children unlike the working class. Working class still need their children to work in order to support their family. ...read more.


The move to a more child-centred society has assisted in this restriction of family size, as smaller families mean parents can spend more money and time on and with one child. The welfare state provides a wide range of benefits designed to help parents care for their children properly. Social workers, e.g. have an extensive range of powers to intervene in families on behalf of children. Despite this growth of child-centeredness, we need to be aware of the way that children are rapidly becoming exposed to range of experiences that they share with adults. This may be eroding the cultural divisions. On the other hand, the rapid pace of technological and social change often means that children are more up to date than their parents are. This may create barrier between parents and children. In conclusion, position of children has been changed for many reasons. Although the status of children in the family has improved this century in Britain, child-centeredness doesn't mean all children are well looked after. Abuse and neglect are all too common experiences for some children. ...read more.

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