Adultification: the bias of treating children in an increasingly adult way

Adultification: the bias of treating children in an increasingly adult way

Children are born with standard behavior patterns, certain abilities that are encoded in genes. However, these latent skills, if not activated at an early age, are permanently deactivated. In that sense, the child is born wild, and if education and adequate social context, the child remains trapped in an aberrant wild state .

In other words, the child is not an adult, and must be treated as a child. If we do the opposite, we may be incurring an adultification bias .

Adultification and its adult antithesis

A good book on the subject of adultification is T he Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grownups by Erika Christakis . She uses adultification as the inability to see the world from a child’s perspective.

Paradoxically, in addition, we are treating children as adults in some matters, as helpless in others, and, above all, demanding that women appear more like girls.

This study talks about it by examining the “adultification” of girls and the “youth” of women in magazines, in which girls are “dressed smartly” to look like women and women “dress casually” to look like women. look like girls.

The analysis included a total of 540 advertising and editorial images from US magazines for women, men and adolescents. The results show that adultification is more prevalent than youth, that youth is equally prevalent in men’s and women’s magazines, that girls who are adultized are more likely to dress provocatively and display sexy facial expressions , and that advertising and editorial images have the same probability of appearing adultification and youth.