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Age is the chronological measure of the length of time that has passed since a person’s birth. However, in children’s lives, age plays multiple, important roles that go beyond a simple measure of lifespan. It acts as a marker of developmental progress and forms part of a child’s identity. Age has a governing influence over many aspects of children’s lives. In domains such as education, medicine, and research, it is used to organise and classify children into categories and groups.

Age is also a means of governing children’s social and civic participation. In Western, industrialized societies, measuring and monitoring children’s age is taken for granted. However, not all cultures conceptualize children and age in the same way. In addition, the way Western cultures think about children ...

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