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Modi government mulls new norms that will allow children below 14 years to work

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Young street vendor with smoke, Varanasi Benares India

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government is all set to make a controversial change in the Child Labour Prohibition Act during the current session of Parliament. The new amendment will allow children below the age of 14 years to work in select family enterprises if it doesn’t curb their right to education.

The prohibition will not apply if children assist the family in fields, forests and home-based work after school hours or during vacations or while attending technical institutions, states a draft provision in the Child Labour Prohibition Act.

A proposal by the Labour Ministry declared that the new standard will also be valid in the entertainment industry and sports excluding the circus. However, children between the age of 14 and 18 will not be allowed to work in industries dealing in perilous work.

An official from the Labour Ministry told an English daily that the new norms will be in agreement with the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention. Therefore, it is likely to be passed smoothly even in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority.

“While the provision will especially help poor families where children help in family subsistence, we have enough safeguards to ensure that these children are not forced by families to work in any industry,” he stated.

Census data have revealed that the numbers of child labourers in India have fallen to 4.3 million from 12.6 million in the last decade. Industries dealing in matchboxes, footwear, fireworks and carpet making are the biggest employers of children below the allowed age.

The current child labour law prohibits the employment of children below 18 years in hazardous industries. However, it was in 2012, during the UPA government, when the ban was extended to all industries.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Bill, 2012, introduced in the Rajya Sabha, suggested a complete ban on child labour until they finish elementary education, guaranteed under the Right to Education Act.

“The effort is to push two more legislation in the current session, including the Small Factories Act and amendment to the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provision Act,” said the ministry official.

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Researchers: Video Games can Help Children Evaluate, Express and Manage Emotions

Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides

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Video games, Children, Emotions
Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can't be solely understood by games. PIxabay

While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate, express and manage emotions when used as part of an emotional intelligence training programme.

“Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can’t be solely understood by games. Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides,” Manish Jain, Consultant at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, told IANS.

According to the study published in the Games for Health Journal, researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy developed an emotional intelligence training programme that integrated video games as experience-based learning tools.

The researchers created EmotivaMente, a video game, to enhance emotional intelligence among adolescents, perhaps the group that could benefit the most. They analysed 121 adolescents who participated in eight sessions.

Video games, Children, Emotions
While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate. Pixabay

“Games for health have been designed to address an increasing variety of issues. A relatively new health issue is emotional intelligence, which has implications for various health problems, including coping with stress,” said Tom Baranowski, Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

The preliminary evaluation indicated that video games enhanced the students’ evaluation and expression of emotions.

But some experts believe outdoor activities should be given more importance to develop emotional intelligence, which includes awareness of emotions, managing emotions effectively and maintaining relationships, in children.

“In the modern day where interaction is increasingly becoming online and more time is spent indoors, the right way to build emotional intelligence is people-to-people interactions and connecting, spending quality time with peers and family, learning through experiences and feedback,” Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Fortis Mental Health Programme in Delhi, told IANS.

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“Video games are not the most prudent way to enhance emotional skills. Young people should have a well-balanced life with adequate outdoor activities and investment of time and energy in building relationships by working on communication and person-to-person connect,” Parikh said.

Sagar Lavania, Head of Department, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Nayati Medicity, Mathura, believes “human and one-on-one interactions are ideal ways to increase emotional intelligence, especially among adolescents, and can never be substituted by alternative methods”.

“However, if newer techniques are coming up, it needs to be thoroughly researched and supervised, keeping in mind the vulnerability of teenagers,” he remarked. (IANS)