Defining Youth Discrimination

I have written this mini-glossary for terms that need to be understood in order to define youth discrimination throughout society. To learn more, visit The Freechild Project Glossary.

  • Adultcentrism is the practice of regarding adult, including their opinions, interests and actions, above young peoples’ opinions, interests and action.
  • Adultization is the elimination of childhood and adolescence by schools, marketers and parents in order to promote order and eliminate the “inconvenience” of youth.
  • Adultism is the practice of favoring adults before young people. This happens every where, all of the time: Schools, lawmaking, movies and music all reflect adults’ interests and perceptions. Even young people can unconsciously share adults’ perceptions of young people. 
  • Adultocracy is the collection of obvious and unobvious tools adults use to impose their authority, domination and superiority over children and youth. 
  • Commercialism is the manufacturing and distribution of objects and traits that were formerly free to young people, particularly in the forms of education and culture. 
  • Consumerism is the process of identifying, training and transforming young people into complacent consumers rather than dissatisfied citizens. 
  • Criminalization is the formal and informal process that makes young people or their specific actions illegal, particularly when young people or their actions were legal in the past.
  • Decoration happens when young people are used to make a situation look sufficient, often without their consent or knowledge.  
  • Demonization is a process for making young people evil in order to justify attacking them in the forms of character assassination, legal action and to get rid of their civil liberties. 
  • Discrimination happens whenever someone makes a decision that does not include other people. Everyone discriminates all the time, and that is not always bad. 
  • Ephebiphobia is the fear of youth. 
  • Gerontocracy happens when older people control an institution or government at the expense of all other age groups in society. 
  • Gerontophobia is the fear of older people. 
  • Infantalization happens whenever a person is made unable or assumed to be incapable of something because of their age, presumed development, or education. 
  • Juenism is the favoring of children and youth over adults. 
  • Manipulation occurs when adults exert influence over young people in order to gain for themselves. 
  • Militarization is the process where young people and the procedures they participate in become overtly manipulated or controlled by the military or administered in a military fashion. 
  • Neoliberalism is the process of making private formerly public entities in order to introduce market values to young people at the expense of collective benefit. 
  • Paternalism describes the notion that by “protecting” children and youth, adults are preventing young people from harming themselves. 
  • Pediaphobia is the fear of children. 
  • Standardization is causing young people to conform to any standard or norm, particularly those administered by adults. 
  • Tokenism happens whenever young people are included in order to make it appear that young people are participating; occurs exclusive of meaningful participation.

Learning the language is the first step to stopping discrimination against youth. Learn more throughout The Freechild Project website!

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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