Age is more than just a number

Rachel Brauer, Staff Writer

18A student’s perspective on what age makes a teenager an adult

By Staff Writer: Rachel Brauer

There’s always a big hype on turning 18 years old. It’s one of life’s greater age milestones: becoming an official adult. But lately, there seems to be confusion on what age actually makes one an adult.  According to the nepsy website, 17-year-old teens in the nine states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, and North Carolina can be charged as an adult in the court of law and be sentenced to prison as of 1996. However, a 17-year-old doesn’t have the right to get piercings, tattoos, or a license without a parent or a legal guardian’s permission. I believe there needs to be a consistency between what age one actually becomes an adult.

In court, the teen being prosecuted can waive their Miranda Rights, and be tried by a jury of adults in either district or circuit court while signing plea agreements, without any parent participation. Two thirds of the charges prosecuted against 17-year-olds are trespassing and shoplifting.  Possessing a record puts a barrier on many opportunities later on in life, such as education and employment, and is something that will be carried around like luggage until death.

I don’t believe that it is fair for 17-year-olds to go to prison versus a juvenile detention center. A teenager’s brain is not fully developed until 18 to 21 years of age. It’s an awkward time in which one is still trying to discover themselves, and sometime mistakes are made during that process.

I don’t necessarily like the idea of 17-year-olds being in a confined area with troubled adults for this reason either. There’s more of a possibility of them to be taken advantage of emotionally, physically, and sexually. They are of course always consequences to actions, but that punishment is too harsh in my opinion.

Even if there is only a year’s difference between a 17- and 18-year-old, I feel that a year can make a vital difference in individual mental growth. Most 17-year-olds are in their junior or senior years of high school, and are beginning to have jobs, cars, and bills. It’s like the pre-school to adulthood. They need that last year of guidance to gain as much maturity and worldliness as possible.

As for any body modifications, I have always believed strongly that what one does with themselves is of that individual’s concern only. If it’s something the individual and their parents agree on, then I don’t think it’s anything for anyone else to worry about, especially the government.

In any case, I think that there needs to be an agreed age in which a person is considered to be 100% an adult. What is occurring right now is hypocrisy, and the exact age should be 18.