The Rights of Children

Children are human beings who are younger than adults. They have fewer rights than adults and are often classed as unable to make serious decisions. This means that children must follow the rules and ideas of those who are responsible for them, such as parents or other family members. Typically, this means that they must also be supervised and protected from activities that could be harmful to them.

The word child comes from the Old English word cild and means young person. In modern times, the term can mean a person of any age who is still considered to be a young person by his or her parents or other relatives. The adjective child is also used to refer to someone who behaves immaturely, such as throwing a temper tantrum in public.

A child’s parents are usually the people who have the main responsibility for bringing up the child. When a child does not have parents, another adult may take this role, and they are usually called a guardian or carer. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says that governments must always consider what is best for a child when making decisions about them. This includes protecting children from abuse, neglect and being taken advantage of by people who try to exploit them for money or power.

Many countries have laws to protect children from harm and give them the care they need to grow up healthy and happy. These laws may cover areas such as the health and education of children, child labour or the use of weapons in war. Governments must also help children to get information that is safe for them to see and hear, such as on the internet or from television, radio or newspapers. They should also encourage adults to give children information in languages that they can understand.

During their childhood, children need to be able to accept reality and limitations, have good behavioural models to follow, and feel secure. They should also be able to develop the skills they need for later life. For example, they need to learn how to read and write. They will also need to learn how to make friends and interact with others. They should also be able to solve problems and think critically.

The rights of children are under threat all over the world. Around the world, one in six children is living in extreme poverty and this can make them vulnerable to domestic violence, exploitation and sexual abuse, early marriage and being forced to fight or work. Many children do not attend school and millions more are at risk of missing out on key learning skills. In some countries, children are at risk of being abused by strangers and in some cases by their own family members. The plight of Iraq’s Yezidi children, who were abducted and tortured by the armed group known as ISIS, highlights how important it is for governments to protect children’s rights.