Visual Encyclopedia

Babysitting

Babysitting is temporarily caring for a child. Babysitting can be a paid job for all ages; however, it is best known as a temporary activity for young teenagers who are too young to be eligible for employment in the general economy. It provides autonomy from parental control, and spending money, as well as an introduction to the techniques of child care. It emerged as a social role for teenagers in the 1920s, and became especially important in suburban America in the 1950s and 1960s, when there was an abundance of small children. It stimulated an outpouring of folk culture in the form of urban legends, pulp novels, and horror films.

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