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Monday, 10 April, 2000, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Should Europe's teenagers be allowed to work?

A recent study in Germany says 400,000 underage schoolchildren work during the week - some of them in breach of child labour laws.

Some say some kids look like walking franchises, but should teenagers be allowed to do paid work as much as they like to fund their lifestyles?

As Europe's economies generally enjoy prosperous times, what should be done about the ever-increasing purchasing aspirations of teenagers?

Europe Today's Mark Reid brought together, from Oslo, a Norwegian trades union official, Leif Nalsund, to discuss the implications of teenage employment with the British journalist, Roger Boyes, who reports from Germany for the Times newspaper.

Listen to this week's edition of the Europewide debate and then tell us what you think.


As long as the youngsters work and earn the money they need to satisfy their desires it is all okay. The problems with youngsters usually come first when the "lucky" ones get money for nothing from their parents and others don't. Those "lucky" ones will also have problems later because they never learned about responsibility or equality. They will end up being pompous mini tyrants and this only because their parents were lucky and not ill-educated and without strength of character.
Mikko Toivonen Finland

Child welfare and education must be paramount and exploitation, often within family businesses in the UK, can only be eliminated by enforcement of child protection legislation. How can the West take the moral high ground when so many of our own children are receiving a poor return for their efforts or in some cases no return at all.
John, UK

Is there a way back? By the standards of today's adults, juvenile consumerism has reached ridiculous levels. But there is money to be made from it, there are jobs created by it. And of course, our juvenile consumers get what they want. So by all means let them go out and work for it, rather than turn to crime to fund their expensive tastes. Little matter if some of them lose out on schooling: it is their choice, however ill-informed, and their places in higher education can be taken by others better able to set themselves goals in life.
Peter, Netherlands

By the turn of this century, children of all ages worked on their parents' farms or in the factories or the services industry in all industrialised regions of the planet, which was only appreciated since it helped "fight idleness". In the United States, after a long fight to give jobs to adults, which are more expensive workers, in the middle of the century, with every teen driving a car an having to pay the gas money, working kids became so common a 16-year-old without a job is looked upon with pity. Why can't a teenager work, work to satisfy his or her perhaps expensive tastes? He or she is working honestly, not stealing. Each and every one of us spends a whole life to earn money and satisfy all our not so cheap tastes.
Andrej, Russia

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09 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
Children run the world
20 Nov 99 | World
UN: Save the children
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