Since it was Election Day a couple days ago, I stumbled upon an article about changing the age for driving, criminal responsibility, and other privileges at the age of 18. I came up with some interesting questions, such as when should these privileges should be taken away and what the age limits were a hundred years ago. But one question I came up was personally important to me, “When should you be allowed to live like an adult?” This was important because my parents were strict with me and it took a long time to get more things unlike my friends. I think the best way is to look at a variety of factors. Also, what I mean by living freely is being able to date someone or go out with your friends, not just driving.
There are multiple ways to determine if you should be able to live freely, such as age or intelligence.
In my opinion, the most important thing to determine whether you deserve to be free is how responsible you are. Although some may disagree, but I think looking at your grades or what activities you are in and still maintaining your grades is a measure of your responsibility. Now this is only 1 factor, because you could be in middle school and fit those requirements. I would say age is an important factor, but to be honest, most people don’t care about age such as kids lying about their age on Facebook or when teenagers date others without their parents’ permission. Still though, I think age should play a role. According to this website (http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/brain.html#beyond), the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for planning, problem-solving, and other related tasks, is still changing during our teen years and not yet fully mature until our mid-20s. Even though these statistics may make you think that your child isn’t ready for adult privileges such as driving or voting, I would say give them some freedom such as going out with your friends or biking outside alone.
A more specific topic would be driving and voting. Sure, you can drive when you’re 16 and can vote when you’re 18, but does that mean you should immediately do it? For example, just because you’re qualified to take honor/AP classes, does that mean you should do it? Or should you invest your time to know how much time is spent in those classes or know about the teachers? I wonder say the same for the privileges mentioned above. For voting, I think people should study about the political situation of their region, know about changes that need to be made, research the candidates, and lastly just basic knowledge on economics and government. For driving, teenagers should have a basic knowledge of the dangers of texting or being under the influence while driving. The new, young driver should know how to use a GPS, check the weather for good conditions, and be able to pay for his or her own gas.
In general though, you should be literate in the vernacular of the region you live in, have the physical conditions to do them (sight to see when driving, adequate sleep, etc.), and have empathy for others. For example, if there was a law that supported veterans in exchange for more taxes, you should have the empathy to support it for the greater good even if you don’t have any family members in the military. Even when you receive these freedoms, I would still say it is up to the family members and friends to see if you are worthy of wielding such responsibility and power because if you are reckless and arrogant, you may unknowingly change someone’s life in a matter of seconds. Lastly, one question that doesn’t come up often is when these privileges should be revoked. Unfortunately, age doesn’t do us a favor and one day we will be physically and mentally unable to handle these responsibilities effectively. For example, if an elder has Alzheimer’s disease, then he or she shouldn’t be able to drive anymore because he or she now possess apathy and cannot remember all the rules of driving. Still though, elders should be respected and not be lonely.