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The child is asking a valuable question.

Why all of this working? How can the work be explained, made interesting and relevant. Is there some way of involving the child that is educational rather than abusive? (Also, if a 5 year old can understand how to correctly use the UI for the application, why can't your client?)

I think it'd be a valuable question if it were asked by someone sincerely interested in the answer, but at that age children are really just complaining.

Could you involve the child? Maybe, but training someone for work is non-trivial. When I'm just starting to train someone, our collective output is usually less than mine working alone, and that's for someone with the requisite skills. How much work could reasonably be assigned to children in a way which isn't just a waste of time? How much are they really going to benefit from that?

I agree as regards four year-olds. That said, the usefulness of older children, even ~8-10, is frequently underestimated. There was a time when they made useful apprentices and assistants, though admittedly at crafts that were probably less abstract and specialised.

Still, I started programming and using UNIX when I was 9. I imagine I was probably capable of some amount of useful output by 11-12, though it would have to be carefully directed by a pragmatic mentor with a view to bottom-line impact.

I'm not sure why you're getting downvoted, perhaps because people don't want to imagine modern child labour.

From my side, in the company where I work there are a small handful of people who could easily be replaced with fully unskilled labour (ie. an 8-12yo) with no negative effects.

I wasn't proposing that we employ children! My statement was made in the context of the discussion about the practicality of engaging and occupying children of certain ages in higher-order cognitive tasks.

Except for negative effects on the children? How do you schedule that with school and homework?

Of course. I was only showing it as a comparison from the adult side to show that some adults are easily replaceable with children.

I wouldn't want to actually implement it.

Even some adult employees require non-trivial amounts of effort to keep them working, just so anyone in a role with oversight can actually try to get something done.

That's like every employee with a child taking on a completely incompetent intern. It will just suck down the productivity of them massively without really gaining anything useful.

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