Every parent has their opinion about how to raise their children, including when they should get their own cell phone or at what age they are considered an adult. In recent years, everything from laptops to diet programs have been marketed towards kids, but just how young is too young? Students from Beijing BISS International School gave us their opinions about the age at which kids are mature enough to handle technology, romance and fast cars.
Annie Chen, 15, Canada, has lived in Beijing for six years
Henry Zhai, 15, Canada, has lived in Beijing for more than three years
Laura Ramoso, 14, Italy, has lived in Beijing for four years
Nitish Joshi, 15, India, has lived in Beijing for almost 3 years
How young is too young to have a cell phone?
Annie: What society says is probably 10 years old, but I was 7.
Henry: It varies depending on one’s responsibility – you have to consider that as parents. I had one when I was 9.
How young is too young to have a computer?
Nitish: Five years old is old enough to have access to a computer, but parents should control it. And when students reach secondary school (12 years old), they should be allowed to have their own laptops.
Laura: When you get to middle school and you have to write more essays, it would be easier to have your own laptop.
How young is too young to have an mp3 player, like an iPod?
Henry: I think it’s OK if you have interacted with society and other people besides your family. Maybe music can soothe your feelings and comfort you.
Annie: I think it has to do with responsibility, like the phone and the computer. So basically when the parents think their children are ready for one. Around 10 years old – I think that’s when I got mine.
How old should one be to drive a car?
Nitish: Over 18, because teenagers have all these hormones and like to do stunts. Sometimes it can get risky.
Laura: I think a person should be allowed to handle a car when they’re an adult. Some teenagers can’t take responsibility for serious things.
When should someone be considered an adult?
Henry: Over 20, when the mind becomes more stable and the body is going through fewer changes.
Annie: Some people develop faster mentally, so some people can be considered an adult when they are 16.
Laura: I think when one finishes college – 25 would be a good age to be considered an adult.
How young is too young to diet?
Laura: I think that dieting isn’t necessary, because one should be happy with what they have. Some young people get carried away with dieting, get too thin and may develop psychological diseases, like anorexia or bulimia. When you’re 18, you have more knowledge of what’s healthy and what’s too risky.
Henry: Personally, I don’t think dieting is necessary. There are really different body types. Sometimes dieting doesn’t even work and it just hurts you.
What do you think the marrying age should be?
Henry: You can’t really restrict love. But if you want to have a good life with the person you like, it’s better to finish your education and have a stable job so you can support the family you’re about to establish.
Laura: I see a lot of people getting married when they are 18 or 19. I don’t think you can really love at that age. I think when you have developed a good life you can start thinking about marriage.
Annie: It depends on the person and how well they handle responsibility. Marriage is a really big deal, so you don’t want to rush into it. Definitely after college, because you don’t want to be juggling marriage and school.
Do you think these ages should differ for men and women?
Annie: I’ve heard that men develop four years slower than women, but their physical age is probably the same. In elementary school, I can see that there is a big difference.
Nitish: I think there shouldn’t be an age difference. People act according to the society they live in and what they see around them.
Should children be prohibited from dating?
Laura: Usually parents feel really nervous when their child says "I’m going out." Their kid is growing up and they don’t really want that, so they usually say, "You’re too young to date."
Henry: Dating is a feeling between two people. They should be allowed to date no matter what age they are.
Nitish: If someone feels like dating, and their parents don’t allow it, then that guy or girl is going to do it secretly without them knowing.
Do you think you can be too old for some things?
Annie: I think people over 75 are too old to drive. Their senses aren’t as alert and their memory isn’t as good.
Laura: If someone wants to sky-dive and they’re 80, I don’t think that would be safe. They’re too old to do dangerous things.
Nitish: People over 15 shouldn’t get curfews. They already know what will happen if they come home too late.