Childhood is the most innocent part of life and is a time when people are supposed to be able to play joyfully and avoid the stresses of life. This crucial time period allows the children to develop into healthy adults. Research shows that “75 percent of brain development occurs after birth. Play helps with that development by stimulating the brain through the formation of connections between nerve cells.” It is essential for children to play and live a happy childhood. The sad reality is that not all children get to experience their childhood the same way though, many are deprived of their childhood and forced to enter the work field to support their families. Under these circumstances they become victims of child labour. Although it is illegal by law for anyone under the age of 14 to work, many families are so desperate that they need one of their children to work in order to survive. Employers are desperate for cheap labor as well. The government seems to be doing little to enforce this law.
These young child labourers are not only working long hours, but are also missing out on this crucial developmental step. It is possible that a work environment would replace play and stimulate a child’s brain but it is not certain if they are gaining the right type of knowledge that a child would otherwise gain from play. The stress children endure when having to work will also cause other stunted developmental issues.
A common job for Afghan children in Kabul is working in brick factories. They can work up to 12 hours only to earn $1.40 a day. Other potential jobs for these children are working in bakeries, weaving, selling toilet paper and shopping bags, mining, washing cars or farming. Some children even begin to beg.