Tuesday, May 16, 2017
How Do They Decide the Age When You Become an Adult?
When do you become an adult? Kids think they are as smart as adults, and middle-aged people say they still don't "feel" adult. Maturity is a gradual process, a spectrum in which wisdom is hard to pin down. The question of when someone is mature "enough" for certain responsibilities has legal ramifications, so we set an age. A number to determine when a person is mature enough to make adult decisions will never be applicable to everyone, but in large societies, we need to treat people equally.
How does a culture set the age of consent? It depends on consent for what, then it depends on the culture, and on the real goal of setting a limit. In America, we let 16-year-old drive but not drink. In some European countries, one can drink at a much younger age than one can get a driver's license. It makes sense when you realize that Europeans can get around without driving, while in America, cross-country mass transit means buying an airline ticket. Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out tackles the question from several angles.