The Instigator
luvx
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TrueScotsman
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Runaway laws for teens should be abolished

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
TrueScotsman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/12/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,229 times Debate No: 40372
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

luvx

Pro

Before the industrial revolution it was common for people to marry at the age 13. If someone is at least 13 and is fully rational (at an adult level) they should be able to leave home without their parents' permission. One can argue that youth cannot adequately support themselves but many 18 year olds cannot adequately support themselves and are allowed to leave home without their parents' permission.


Parents also won't be responsible for their child's actions. If a youth destroys a car or vandalizes property, the youth gets sued and has to pay. All the other laws that hold parents responsible for their youth's behavior will be abolished.

TrueScotsman

Con

Hello there,

Hope you're having a fantastic Tuesday!

It appears you are appealing to pratices done in the past as justification for future legislation. Most of these child marriages of the past were arranged, which infringe upon women's rights and have little to do teens or children who would run away and get married. They would be more likely to run away, because their parents were trying to force them to marry a much older man.[1]

My opponent then attempts to draw a comparison between 13 year olds and 18 year olds who cannot support themselves. This of course ignores age limits by the states and federal government that would not permit a 13 year old to have active employment.[2]

Lastly, parents should be responsible for the actions of their children as these children have no capacity to represent themselves or pay in a law suit. What Pro is advocating is the transfer of responsibility from a mature party to an immature party who has not cognitively developed due to the growth of the prefrontal cortex and other related brain structures. This would be extremely destructive for the youth of our nation and these laws should be kept to protect the next generation.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.dol.gov...;
Debate Round No. 1
luvx

Pro

1. This of course ignores age limits by the states and federal government that would not permit a 13 year old to have active employment.


I believe a 13 year old should be able to get a job and make a good salary.


2. Lastly, parents should be responsible for the actions of their children as these children have no capacity to represent themselves or pay in a law suit.


We can change the laws allowing rational 13 year olds to be sued and sue.


3. What Pro is advocating is the transfer of responsibility from a mature party to an immature party who has not cognitively developed due to the growth of the prefrontal cortex and other related brain structures.


Before the industrial revolution it was common for people to marry at the age 13. Adolescence is a recently invented concept. Many people believe that the brain is not fully developed till 25. I will cite a link to this study but 1st a quote from the link (1st page, last paragraph).


The researchers speculated in their article that this may be due to a plethora of life experiences in young adulthood such as pursing post-secondary education, starting a career, independence and developing new social and family relationships.


http://www.news-medical.net...


Elliot Valentin, a retired neuroscientist wrote a book called Blaming the brain, published in 1998. He wrote,


A persons mental state and experience can modify the brain just as surely as the other way around. When there is a correlation between these two events, we should not assume that we always know which way causation flows….


It has been shown in numerous experiments, for example. That exposure to stressful situations can produce long lasting brain changes.”


And there was a study that showed that even when you're 40 and you become a taxi driver your brain rewires itself and new neurons grow in certain areas to help settle into your new career.


If adolescence was a recent invention by society, so is the teen brain. Teens brains are influenced by their outside environment, including schooling, and all teens are required to go to school, so it makes sense that all their brains are the same. Lets compare those brains to the brains of teens in countries where they don't go to school and are married young. We might see a big difference. If it were the norm to finish high school at 25, there would be a new study saying the brain has not matured till 30.


I will use shoe shopping as an example. We don't go to the shoe shop to buy 12 year old shoes, 13 year old shoes, 17 year old shoes. We buy shoes based on our size, not our age. When someone hits puberty, they start making more and more rational decisions, but every once in a while, they would do something immature like they were ten years old again. The frequency of those "regressions" decreases with age (in most people, anyway), and hopefully goes away at some point -- that's when they should legally be considered an adult. Once someone hits the biggest maturity "size" (equivalent to the biggest shoe size), they become an adult.

TrueScotsman

Con

Hi again,

Thanks for your detailed rebuttal, I am really enjoying this debate so far!

Rebuttal #1: 13 year olds working?

You said:

"I believe a 13 year old should be able to get a job and make a good salary."

This is a rather curious belief. What would 13 year olds be employed as being an independent adolescent being treated as an adult who still must go to school? How would a 13 year old live off of 20 hours of week of minimum wage, with no credit, no parental support and still succeed in schooling?

These beliefs I believe demonstrate an ignorance about the issue of runaway teenagers and it's relation to youth homelessness.

1. Teenagers that run away are not walking into a healthy transition, but rather are likely making an emotional decision to leave a disfunctional situation.[1]

2. 75% of homeless or runaway youth drop out of school.[2]

3. 20,000 youths are forced into prostitution through human trafficing networks every year.[3]

4. There is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.7 children currently homeless in America today.[4]

Self declared emancipation by teenagers, to obtain full independence from their parents would drastically increase these sad statistics and cause great harm to future generations. The measures states take to bring runaway teens back to their homes or a foster home (in the case of abuse) is to protect them from the dangers of living off of the streets, which make them more likely to starve, be abused (physically or sexually), receive no education, and die before 20.

Rebuttal #2: Teens suing?

Many of my objections to the last argument also apply to this. Namely, the question of money. In a civil suit, one has to pay their attorney hourly for their representation in court. Where would a 13 year old obtain thousands of dollars to sue, in addition to supporting themselves as individual adults and succeed in schooling? This isn't Richie Rich, where a young kid stumbles on a blank check and all of the sudden has access to whatever he wants.[5] Homeless teens make up 40% of the total population of homeless people in America,[3] even if jobs were opened up to 13 year olds they still would have no skills, limited time and minimal development of higher cognitive functions.

The expectation that lawyers would do pro bono work for teenage civil suits is also ludicrious. Lawyers like any profession need to make money in order to be successful, and civil suits initiated by minors who would not have the ability to pay is not the kind of opportunity that would engender interest.

Rebuttal #3: Is Adolescense a real thing?

Once again my opponent appealed to the idea that it was common prior to the industrial revolution for 13 year olds to marry. This is of course a continued fallacious appeal to tradition, just because something has been done in the past does not make it right or beneficial. Here are just a few major issues of child marraige.

1. Teenagers under the age of 15 who become pregnant are 5 times more likely to die during child birth.

2. Mortality rates are 20% in teenagers under 20 who bear children.

3. Children who marry early are often pulled out school early and thus denied an education are likely to be illiterate.

4. Most children who marry before 18 are females, thus this is demonstrated to be a remnant of a sexist society.

5. Children married in their early teens are much more likely to be the victim of domestic or sexual abuse.

Source:[6]

Your source also does not take into account the incredible reorganization of our brains that takes place.

"The first full series of scans of the developing adolescent brain—a National Institutes of Health (NIH) project that studied over a hundred young people as they grew up during the 1990s—showed that our brains undergo a massive reorganization between our 12th and 25th years. The brain doesn't actually grow very much during this period. It has already reached 90 percent of its full size by the time a person is six, and a thickening skull accounts for most head growth afterward. But as we move through adolescence, the brain undergoes extensive remodeling, resembling a network and wiring upgrade."[7]

While the rates of develpment may differ from teenager to teenager, and may indeed be influenced by their experiences. It cannot be denied that there is a vasts difference between a brain like mine (at 25 years of age) and the brain of a 13 year old.

Also, these radical measures do not take into account that there are in fact emancipation laws that exist in most states. For instance, I live in Washington State and they have a law that a teenager at 16 years of age can submit a petition to become emancipated from his parents and thus an independent adult according to the law.[8] Which there would be by a judicial officer to assess the teen's eligibility for emancipation. This law restricts this ability to teens older than 15, and causes the process to be a bit more difficult to dissuade emancipation only in the instances where individual independence is a realistic possibility. Children running away for family issues, etc. should not be treated as adults, but rather should receive better care from perhaps a foster home.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman

[1] http://www.nationalhomeless.org...
[2] http://www.ncsl.org...
[3] http://www.covenanthouse.org...
[4] http://www.dosomething.org...;
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...(film)
[6] http://www.pbs.org...
[7] http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com...;
[8] http://apps.leg.wa.gov...;
Debate Round No. 2
luvx

Pro

1. 13 year olds working


1. How would a 13 year old live off of 20 hours of week of minimum wage, with no credit, no parental support and still succeed in schooling?


Before World War II, people finished school at 8th grade (excluding higher education). College students still succeed and they are not subject to the same restrictions high schoolers are.


2. Teenagers that run away are not walking into a healthy transition, but rather are likely making an emotional decision to leave a dysfunctional situation.


If their situation is dysfunctional, they should not be forced to stay in it. What if an 18 year old is leaving a dysfunctional situation? They are not subject to the same laws. In the UK, youths can move out at 16.


3. 75% of homeless or runaway youth drop out of school.


We can offer alternative services to help them support themselves.


4. 20,000 youths are forced into prostitution through human trafficking networks every year.


62% of confirmed sex trafficking victims are 25 or older.


5. There is somewhere between 1.3 and 1.7 children currently homeless in America today.


We need to resolve that issue.


2. Teens suing.


1. Where would a 13 year old obtain thousands of dollars to sue?


Many 18 year olds don't have the money to sue but they still can sue and be sued. Also, even adults can obtain a free attorney (public defender) if they can't afford one. A minor can hire a "you don't pay unless I win" attorney. When a minor wins a lawsuit and has the money to pay for a lawyer, the minor can pay.


2. Even if jobs were opened up to 13 year olds they still would have no skills, limited time and minimal development of higher cognitive functions.


Some have the same cognitive functioning as adults.


3. The expectation that lawyers would do pro bono work for teenage civil suits is also ludicrious. Lawyers like any profession need to make money in order to be successful, and civil suits initiated by minors who would not have the ability to pay is not the kind of opportunity that would engender interest.


Again, a minor can hire a "you don't pay unless I win" attorney. When a minor wins a lawsuit and has the money to pay for a lawyer, the minor can pay.


3. Is Adolescence a real thing?


Teen pregnancy studies began in the 20th century. Teen mothers have existed throughout history and many of their children did fine.



1. Your source also does not take into account the incredible reorganization of our brains that takes place.


That study on the teen brain did not take into account the environment that shape teens brains. If we compared the brains of teens in countries where they don't go to school and marry young, or brains of teens before the industrial revolution, we might see differences.


2. While the rates of development may differ from teenager to teenager, and may indeed be influenced by their experiences, it cannot be denied that there is a vast difference between a brain like mine (at 25 years of age) and the brain of a 13 year old.


Yes it can.


3. Also, these radical measures do not take into account that there are in fact emancipation laws that exist in most states.


Not all states allow emancipation. In states that allow emancipation, a minor must be at least 16, so a 14 year old cannot get emancipated. A minor has to be able to support himself to qualify, which is very hard because a minor can work for limited hours, they have to be living on their own for X months, what if their parent's don't allow them to move out? And there is also a criteria that emancipation must be "in the minor's best interests" and "best interests" is ambiguous and discretionary.

TrueScotsman

Con

Hello,

I would like to thank my opponent for a thorough and respectful debate, and look forward to more in the future!

Rebuttal #1: Appeal to Tradition

You said:

"Before World War II, people finished school at 8th grade (excluding higher education). College students still succeed and they are not subject to the same restrictions high schoolers are."

This again like your argument for child marriage before, is a fallacious appeal to tradition. There are reasons why children are kept in school longer, and it is because we have excelled in human rights and realized the value of an education in this technological age. Simply because people at some point in the past handled school differently, in no way suggests we should continue in their footsteps.

Rebuttal #2: Situation for Leaving

My argument is not in any way suggesting that children should be confined to their homes if a possible abusive situation exists. There are organizations in the United States that can protect children from these situations, rather than the child themselves taking the initiative to run off on their own and possibly incur more harm.

Remember, my opponent's contention is that teenagers at the age of 13 should be allowed to leave their homes, and that by law, no one would be able to interfere with their decision and return them home or to some kind of protective service.

Rebuttal #3: Alternative Support Structure?

You said:

"We can offer alternative services to help them support themselves."

Please note that my opponent has not offered any kind of realistic solution to the problem of runaway/homeless teens and the drop out rate. Simply saying we need to do something about that ignores the fact that his motion to allow teens to run away and the state have no power to return them to saftey would greatly exacerbate this problem.

Rebuttal #4: Sex Trafficking Statistics?

You said:

"62% of confirmed sex trafficking victims are 25 or older."

May the reader be aware that my opponent has not supplied any sources so as to corraborate this statistic. Here are some actual statistics on Sex Trafficking that give you a true picture of the reality of the issue.

"The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12 to 14."[1][2]

This demonstrates, that even if 62% of sex trafficking victims in the US are 25 or older (can't find that anywhere) it still ignores the fact that most of them first became victims when they were between the ages of 12 to 14.

Rebuttal #5: Teen homelessness

You said:

"We need to resolve that issue."

Again, this desire to resolve the issue ignores the blatant fact that what you have proposed would increase drastically the overall population of homeless youth. Teenagers 12 to 15 aren't looking around to be independent and totally responsible for their well-being and living. They often run away to escape suffering due to family issues, as previously mentioned. Teenagers in these emotional states would not in any case, even disregarding age be accepted for a petition to become emancipated.

As my opponent has not refuted any of my claims regarding the connection between homelessness and teen runaways (a connection made in all statistics on the matter). It must be accepted that his contention must be rejected.

Rebuttal #6: Teen Law Suit Part 2

Again the connection to 18 year olds is unwarranted, as an 18 year old actually has the capacity to generate income and receive credit, loans, etc.

Also, your appeal to receive a free attorney is refuted by the fact that this does not apply. In the case of Gideon v. Wainwright 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that the government must provide free attorney for indigent defense, or in other words, in the instance the criminal defendant cannot provide an attorney for himself.[3] This only applies to CRIMINAL cases, and if the person is the defendant.

Rebuttal #7: The Teen Brain

You said:

"Some have the same cognitive functioning as adults."

No evidence or sources are provided to demonstrate that the reasoning capacities of a 13 year old can be on the same level of an adult.

You also said:

"That study on the teen brain did not take into account the environment that shape teens brains. If we compared the brains of teens in countries where they don't go to school and marry young, or brains of teens before the industrial revolution, we might see differences."

Even if this point is of much consequence, I would be very curious to see how the environment of a child forced into an early marriage, or a teen who drops out of school somehow ends up developing faster cognitively as a consequence. This argument in the end only would on the surface (because you provided no kind of evidence) turn out to be a benefit to my position.

Rebuttal #8: Early Teen Pregnancy

You said:

"Teen pregnancy studies began in the 20th century. Teen mothers have existed throughout history and many of their children did fine."

Here again we have the lack of any kind of evidence towards the idea that at some point (when child mortality rate was even worse)[4] early teen pregnancies were not harmful as they are today, even with the advancement of modern medicine.

Conclusion:

As I addressed the reasons for emancipation laws, which exist in many states (we can't have the debate about every single state as many have differing circumstances) I did not see fit to address in detail your final remarks about the emancipation laws.

However, do to my opponent's failure to provide sufficient evidence as to the benefit of having minors freely emancipate themselves. I believe my motion to dismiss this idea based upon the well subtantiated and documented dangers should be sustained.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman



[1] http://www.fbi.gov...
[2] https://www.ncjrs.gov...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://chnm.gmu.edu...

Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Svetlana 3 years ago
Svetlana
I have no problem with the "magic age" being 16 instead of 18 for drinking, moving out, consenting and refusing medical treatment, working without parents permission and not having child labor laws apply, age of sexual consent, leaving school and marrying. I did not live with my parents after 16. I was living in my own apartment, working full time, looking after myself. I never got into any kind of trouble. I was much more responsible at 19 then my parents were at that age. Now I see kids babied throughout their 20s. I think most 16 year olds are ready to be a part of the "real world"; but the law restrains them. Not all states allow emancipation and when it does, emancipation is difficult to obtain, and thus emancipations are RARELY granted. 16 is a perfect age for adulthood.
Posted by Svetlana 3 years ago
Svetlana
Think back to when you were 13. You wanted to marry, right? Where would you be right now if you married him or her? That is why 13 year olds should not be allowed to get married.
Posted by Svetlana 3 years ago
Svetlana
Luvx,
No 13 year old is ready for adulthood, regardless what kind of environment they are in. Some things, such as foresight (the ability to conceptualize the future), require time to develop. No person can conceptualize the future with just 13 years of life, regardless of what kind of environment they are in. That is why society sets limits on young adolescents to protect them from decisions they only think they are ready for, such as marriage. Marriage is a huge decision, and a 13 year old cannot fully analyze the long-term impact of such type of decision, regardless their environment. The 13 year olds who married in the past were forced to marry, and I'm sure all of them regretted their marriage at some point. Just because this practice was common once, slavery was once a common practice too. Does that mean we should return to it? No. Some things require time to develop. Functioning like an adult in society requires time.
Posted by TrueScotsman 3 years ago
TrueScotsman
Hi Lolo5,

Thanks for weighing in! Question for you though, do you believe it is wise to create legislation based off of one's own experience?

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman
Posted by Lolo5 3 years ago
Lolo5
Back in the 80s, I was allowed to roam around New York City at 13, I was allowed to stay out all night at 13, I was left home alone for 1 week at 15 (with my 13 year old sister). Many parents nowadays won't even let their 13 year old at the mall by themselves even if they have cell phones, it is safer today then the 80s, less crime, etc. The fact that teens have few legal rights always bothers me.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Emily77 3 years ago
Emily77
luvxTrueScotsmanTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: CON definitely took this debate. PRO, I'm not sure whether this is a stance you actually hold, or merely a debate position you wished to exercise, but either way I feel you would really benefit from some better research on the subject of neural development throughout youth and adolescence as a lot of your information was very misguided. There are good arguments to be made for your position, however.