Age segregation

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Age segregation is separation of people based on their age. In the U.S., there is a cultural expectation that children refrain from lengthy interactions with adults other than authority figures such as parents and teachers. The result is that there tends to be an absence of adult-child relationships that don't involve a power imbalance. Children ride on school buses that do not include adult passengers, and adult visitors are not allowed at schools without permission from the school administration. A parent who allows his child to wander around the streets unattended may be reported to Child Protective Services for child neglect.

In some other countries, such as the Philippines, it is more culturally accepted for children to move about freely and interact with adults. Even in developed areas, such as wealthy neighborhoods and public parks, child beggars operate freely, and adults are allowed to freely walk through the school grounds and ride the same forms of public transportation (e.g. jeepneys) that children ride.

Also, during most of U.S. history, families were bigger, generations often worked side by side, and kids and adults got their entertainment at the same county fairs. Schoolchildren, meanwhile, were often assigned to classes based on how much they knew rather than when they were born.

Among the effects of age discrimination are that it "can sow distrust and prejudice between generations, and robs people of the chance to learn from those younger and older than them. Kids, the research indicates, develop important skills by interacting with adults and making friends of different ages, while the elderly have been shown to benefit from spending time around children. There is also evidence that age segregation can affect the economic well-being of a community by making people from different age groups blind to each other's needs." A study by University of Arizona anthropologist Alice Schlegel found that "age segregation was related to features of antisocial behavior and to socialization for competitiveness and aggressiveness."[1]

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