The social environment in which children grow up today is quite different from that of their parents’ generations. Children spend at least seven hours a day in front of the television or on their phones, and they are exposed to hidden ads and messages from social media influencers. They are also exposed to the adult world much sooner than their parents were, which can be a very uncomfortable process for children.
The media is constantly bombarding children with ideas they are not developmentally ready for, and they view this content almost exclusively through the internet. These messages can cause kids to face adult realities before they are emotionally ready for them, a phenomenon we label ‘growing up too fast.’ This is not a healthy way to grow up.
The outlook for children around the world has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. Some countries, such as Brazil, have seen their child mortality rate drop to less than five percent. Still, many other countries in Africa continue to have high child mortality rates. Fortunately, the decline of child mortality is largely due to improved knowledge and service in the health sector.
The rate at which children reach adulthood is highly individual, influenced by many factors. As a result, there is no clear line between childhood and adulthood. Children don’t know the difference and it is difficult to compare them to an idealised view of youth.