As far as reformers could see, child laborers were victims: Greedy parents, employers, and consumers all exploited them.
But these young workers did not necessarily suffer in silence. In fact some organized unions and even went on strike to demand better working conditions. And they weren't playing games, either -- children or not, they were engaged in real battles. Take a look at these newspaper reports of young strikers and see what they were up against. Can you imagine being in their shoes?
Messenger Boys: July 25, 1899, July 26, 1899 , July 27, 1899 , Aug. 1, 1899
Newsboys: July 22, 1899 , July 25, 1899, Jan. 1902