In pre-industrial Europe, child labor was a widespread phenomenon and a significant part of the economic system. Until and during the nineteenth century, children beyond six years of age were required to contribute to society according to their abilities. From about the age of seven, they began a slow entry into the world of work, a world inhabited by both adults and children.
The concepts of education, schooling, and protection against In the early nineteenth century, hazards were rare or entirely absent. children were also mostly viewed as the personal property of their parents, with few or no legal rights. Parents, mainly fathers, were given unlimited power and control over them and were allowed to treat them as they wished; physical punishment was almost universal and socially accepted.
This situation began to change as the nineteenth century progressed. Particularly in the half-century from 1870 to 1920, the rights of children in relation to parents, employers, and others expanded in the form of legal protection. Gradually, children began to be perceived as a separate category and not simply as the property of adults. The view that children have no more than economic value began to change and be replaced by the perception that they are a unique group that society has the responsibility to support and protect from the various dangers they face.
Another change in this period was the protection of children from parental abuse and neglect, which were subjected to intense scrutiny and challenged increasingly by government authorities. In 1889, both France and Great Britain passed laws against cruelty to children, including that caused by their parents. The nation became the defender of children’s rights. The child’s right to protection then led to the right to provision of various sorts, with the national government responsible for providing services. Health care, acceptable housing, and playgrounds – together with freedom from work and access to public schooling – emerged as elements of children’s rights.
出典：Children’s Rights and Social Work, by Hanita Kosher, 2017