Childrens Roles as Child Soldiers.

Complete 9 pages APA formatted article: Childrens Roles as Child Soldiers. At first blush, the concept of the child soldier seems an unnatural conflation of two contradictory and incompatible terms. The first, child, typically refers to a young person between infancy and youth and connotes immaturity, simplicity, and the absence of full physical, mental, and emotional development. The second, soldier, refers to men and women who are skilled warriors. However, where do childhood, youth, adolescence, and adulthood begin and end? For contemporary humanitarian groups that advocate an international ban on child soldiers and view child soldiers as a modem day aberration, the answer is clear and simple: childhood begins at birth and ends at age eighteen. This view, known as the Straight 18 position, defines a child soldier as anyone who is 18 years and below, recruited or used by the army or armed group.

However, it is not clear that all persons under age eighteen are or even should be deemed, children. The question, who is a child? is important because of the indisputable fact that very young people have always been on or near the field of battle. Despite these concerns, the term child soldier refers to anyone below 18 years of age. The heuristic use of the Straight 18 position does not mean that it relates to the idea of who is a child. However, it makes little scientific or common sense to assert that every seventeen-year-old soldier or bride in every society on the planet is a child. Therefore, it is merely used to highlight the difficulties of adopting this perspective.

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Inside armed groups, child soldiers perform various roles. Depending on the setting, child soldiers may serve as sentries, bodyguards, porters, domestic laborers, medics, guards, sex slaves, minesweepers, or recruiters. Roles may vary significantly by age and gender. For example, smaller, younger children often serve as spies. Girl soldiers perform the same wide variety of roles performed.

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