The Child reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Child

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A male Caucasian toddler

A child is a young human. Depending on context it may mean someone who is not yet an adult, or someone who has not yet hit puberty (someone who is prepubescent).

Table of contents
1 Gender
2 Law
3 Development
4 Notable child prodigies
5 Street child
6 Human development
7 See also
8 External links

Gender

A female child is called a girl and a male child is a boy (though a small percentage of humans are intersexual, this is a distinction of biological sex, not necessarily social or psychological gender). Apart from the genitals, young children do not differ much by sex. Whether cultural and parental practices emphasize or weaken gender identity is subject to debate. In general, the extent to which gender identity is formed during childhood or congenital is a matter of much debate within psychology and genetics.

Law

In law, a person who is not yet a legal adult is known as a minor (known in some places as an juvenile, or, in others, as a infant). For example, in many countries a person under the age of 18 is a minor. Most countries give additional legal protection to minors despite their underage status, and all UN member states except the United States and Somalia have ratified the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child, although not all of them have followed it.

Development

Child development is the study or examination of processes and mechanisms that operate during the physical and mental development of an infant into an adult.

Pediatrics is the branch of medicine relating to the care of children. It encompasses ages from prenatal to teenagers and even young adults (ages 0-21 years).

Terms for stages of age-related physical development include:

South American boyEnlarge

South American boy

Physical development milestones

Smiling ChildEnlarge

Smiling Child

Note - the Tanner stages can be used to approximately judge a child's age based on physical development.

Cognitive development

Notable child prodigies

Street child

A street child is a child that lives on the street, in particular one that is not taken care of by parents or other adults, and also sleeps on the street because he or she does not have a home. See also homelessness. [1]

Human development

Human development refers to all forms of development above, often in the context of clinical psychology or as human development theory (in economics, an outgrowth of welfare economics).

Both the psychological and economic fields share a special concern with education and language fluency including literacy and numeracy, and with identification and development of more unique talents into the economic variable known as individual capital.

Earlier branches of economics see humans in terms of labour for production, means of persuasion or protection, which tend to be skills acquired only in adolescence and adulthood. The human development view is more evident in sports, music and other performing arts, such as acting where the child begins training often as early as three years of age. Think of Tiger Woods and his early practice golfing.

While there are problems with such early "streaming", child murder, child abandonment, military use of children and other major social ills are thought to be reduced by a human development approach - as there is a high value assigned to children by the state.

The UN Human Development Index is a means of measuring well-being used to rank states by these criteria. Although child abuse is thought to be lower in countries with a high ranking on this Index, that is not easily proven.

See also

External links