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We're Teenagers Until Age 24, According to a New Research

In many Western countries when a child turns 18 years, it is not unusual for them to leave home for further studies or to get a job because they are now considered adults. 18 is when you can get your permanent driving license or are in a position to vote. Even in a court of law, anyone under the age of 18 is still considered a juvenile and can be saved from a long prison sentence!

However, science has recently turned this number on its head by stating that adulthood does not begin until the age of 24. This is largely because the youngsters these days are studying for longer periods and also delaying marriage and parenthood. Added to this, scientists say that the kinds of media children are exposed to these days “are affecting health and wellbeing across the years.”

Researchers from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne expressed their views about this in the journal Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. In their study entitled Age of Adolescence, they opined that the period between the ages of 10 and 19 that was once considered adolescence, needed to be revised.

They backed up this statement with the fact that the human brain does not stop maturing at the age of 20 but goes beyond that. Even the wisdom teeth do not show up until the age of 25.  Further to this, psychologists stated that the manner in which society has transformed over the past few decades has resulted in prolonged adolescence. The average age of a man entering his first marriage is 32.5 while it is 30.6 for women these days. The average age in the 1970s was eight years less, which meant most men were already married by the age of 25!

Professor Susan Sawyer, the lead author of the study argues that policies which support youth should be extended beyond teenage years because trends now show that adolescence is extended beyond the age of 19.

She said, “Age definitions are arbitrary and our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted.”
New Zealand is one country which seems to take these pointers seriously as children who have been in care are considered vulnerable until they are 25. These young adults who have been in care enjoy the same rights as youngsters till they are 25.

Professor Sawyer does admit that there could be a downside to this plan of rethinking the age of adolescence, especially if it denied the right of young adults to be seen as fully responsible till the age of 24.

She said, “Such a view would risk disenfranchising adolescents and undermines their rights to fully participate in society.”

There are two sides to every coin and academicians feel that just because young people choose not to get married early or want to continue studying for longer periods, it did not mean they were underperforming adults.

Parenting Sociologist at the University of Kent, Dr. Jan Macvarish said to the BBC. “There is nothing inevitably infantilizing about spending your early 20s in higher education or experimenting in the world of work.”
We're Teenagers Until Age 24, According to a New Research We're Teenagers Until Age 24, According to a New Research Reviewed by Tim on March 13, 2019 Rating: 5

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