Globalization and Children’s Welfare

  • Peter N. Stearns
Reference work entry


The process of modern globalization began in the later nineteenth century, with substantial acceleration in the later twentieth century. From the start, global processes interacted with child welfare. Early connections involved accelerated interregional contacts that could promote changes such as school reform, in Japan, or the campaign against foot binding, in China. More systematically, global efforts emerged to limit child labor – though these were complicated with global economic effects that might intensify demands on children and that still, in the twenty-first century, increase exploitation for a minority. Movements toward defining and defending children’s rights on a global basis gained momentum particularly from the 1920s. International charitable organizations emerged, with particular focus on children. Global consumerism quickly developed a child audience around common toy and media exports, and strong suggestions of a global youth culture emerged by the early twenty-first century. Always, globalization’s impact on child welfare must be interpreted in its interaction with regional conditions and values. Any calculus of benefits and drawbacks, from this same impact, is inherently complex. There is no question, however, that globalization has contributed to significant changes in children’s welfare and in the definition of this welfare.


Child Welfare Child Labor Sesame Street Child Worker Civil Strife 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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