Apple admitted to violating child labor laws in one of its own annual reports recently, joining the ranks of Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Coca-Cola, and Sesame Street as known child exploiters. In the report Apple found eleven employees had been hired at the age of fifteen in countries where the employment requirement is sixteen years of age or older. Apple chastised these suppliers, stating they need to live up to Apple's expectations, though it also noted in their report that the employees in question "were no longer underage." Growing up in a college town, I've heard that argument before, though it was usually along the lines of "Well, she's eighteen now."
Before anyone rushes to conclusions or begins to mount their high horse, truthfully, this news shouldn't come as a surprise. Apple's products are known for their vivacious colors, colors children would surely enjoy and be attracted to. And let's be honest - the colorful Apple products could be just as much for the child laborers as anyone else. If you think the children working for Apple aren't talking amongst themselves, you're crazy. "Sure, working in a sweatshop sixteen hours a day is stunting my growth, but at least we're not working at Nike. Those kids only make bland Nike swooshes over and over - I've been lucky enough to build these Atomic Tangerine iPods all week." The move makes sense from a logistic standpoint, too. Apple's products are moving to increasingly smaller sizes to the point only a child's sweet, limber hands could adequately make the required maneuvers.
But these reasons are all secondary to the plethora of health-related issues Steve Jobs, Apple's Founder, has dealt with this past decade, including his recently successful liver transplant. Now I'm not saying Jobs keeps these children at his employ as a kind of stem cell buffet for future health-related concerns. I'm implying it. And before angrily firing up your laptop with hate mail for Apple, admit to yourself that it's something we've all thought about. After all, that's what drives adults to have their own children in the first place, and why the Jack Daniels I'm currently drinking doesn't seem quite as toxic.