Adolescence now lasts from 10 to 24, scientists suggest

People are not entering adulthood until well into their 20s some scientists believe

This change is directly related to the age of puberty which used to begin around the age of 14 but with increasing health standards around the world and especially in developed countries, this age has been brought down to around 10.

Societal and biological changes have prolonged the adolescent years from the ages of 10-19 to now ending at 24 years old, scientists said, leading to a debate about whether new policies would be benefit or "infantilize" the older adolescents.

"Although many adult legal privileges start at age 18 years, the adoption of adult roles and responsibilities generally occurs later". For instance, the brain doesn't stop its development at the age of 19.

"Arguably, the transition period from childhood to adulthood now occupies a greater portion of the life course than ever before at a time when unprecedented social forces, including marketing and digital media, are affecting health and well-being across these years", the researchers explain.

Similarly, young adults continuing their education for longer period, delayed marriage and parenthood, has pushed back popular perceptions of when adulthood begins.

The authors argue that redefining adolescence will help to create more effective policies, such as raising the age at which youth support services can be accessed to 25. In Britain, people are getting married almost eight years later than they were in 1973.

Some academics contest the Lancet piece, including sociologist Jan Macvarish from the University of Kent, who tweeted that "science really can't tell us how to live our lives and raise our children and what adulthood means".

Sawyer further stated that although age definitions are always arbitrary but our current definition of adolescence is too restrictive.

"Society should maintain the highest possible expectations of the next generation", she stated.

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