What Are Children?


A child is a young person, male or female, who is usually aged between birth and the beginning of adolescence. In general, children are not considered to be fully adult in the sense that they do not have the same legal rights as adults, though they may be able to vote and drive depending on their country’s law. Children are a vital part of society, as they can bring fresh perspectives to problems and ideas. They can also help in the fight against climate change, poverty, war and terrorism.

The word “child” derives from the Old English cild, and in many cultures, the term is used to refer to someone who is still young and not yet an adult. Biologically, puberty can be seen as the point at which one stops being a child, though in some countries this is not strictly true and people can remain children even after puberty has begun.

Children have different interests from adults, and they can learn things more quickly than adults. They can make mistakes, but they can also be very resourceful and can learn from their own experiences as well as from the experiences of others. They have the right to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of whether they are old or young. They have the right to freedom of expression, including the right to express their opinions, as long as this does not harm other people. They have the right to education and should be encouraged to study all subjects. They also have the right to social and cultural activities.

A parent or other adult is responsible for bringing up a child, but if they can’t, then the government should take on this responsibility. Governments should protect children from violence and neglect. They must ensure that the people who look after them treat them well, and are not cruel or unfair. People who abuse or neglect their children must be punished. Governments must also make sure that children can get help if they are ill or have been hurt. They must protect children from going to war, and they should ensure that children are not used as soldiers or taken advantage of during conflict.

In the modern world, it is much safer for most children to be born and live in industrialized countries. They have less risk of being killed by fatal accidents, serious diseases or debilitating injuries. They are also less likely to be killed or injured by war, poverty and slavery. However, the earliest years of life are often stressful and difficult.

There are still a large number of children who have no legal identity or access to basic services like health, education and food. They often have no way of knowing who their parents are, and this can prevent them from being able to claim their rights in court. Governments should use their laws to protect children as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and should work with other countries to protect the human rights of all children.