Are young crusaders and heroes fair game for critics?

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers a speech during the Friday for Future strike on climate emergency, in Turin, on December 13, 2019. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

(AP) The point where childhood ends and adulthood begins isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Add the limelight and things can get complicated for young people who either voluntarily or through circumstances live very public lives.

Children and teens have at their disposal mobile megaphones to reach the entire world. Adult-size sniping also comes with those public roles, but are the young still entitled to age-appropriate protection from the harsher realities of public discourse?

Developmental psychologist Parissa Ballard says such scrutiny can be stressful. Hope College associate professor of psychology Daryl Van Tongeren says sometimes the limelight means that the young forfeit mores afforded to their more private peers.

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