According to The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman, the Christian Church of the Middle Ages considered the age of accountability, when a person could be tried and even executed as an adult, to be age 7.
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Niger, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon define adulthood at age 15, but marriage of girls at an earlier age is common.
In most of the world, including most of the United States, parts of the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Wales), India and China, the legal adult age is 18 (historically 21) for most purposes, with some notable exceptions: According to Jewish tradition, adulthood is reached at age 13 (the minimal age of the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah) for Jewish boys and girls; they are expected to demonstrate preparation for adulthood by learning the Torah and other Jewish practices.
Admission of a young person to a place may be restricted because of danger for that person, concern that the place may lead the person to immoral behavior or because of the risk that the young person causes damage (for example, at an exhibition of fragile items).
One can distinguish the legality of acts of a young person, or of enabling a young person to carry out that act, by selling, renting out, showing, permitting entrance, allowing participation, etc.
The Christian Bible and Jewish scripture contain no age requirement for adulthood or marrying, which includes engaging in sexual activity.
Although this is the primary definition of the base word "adult", the term is also frequently used to refer to social adults.
Conversely, one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and responsibility that may define an adult character.
In different cultures there are events that relate passing from being a child to becoming an adult or coming of age.
In contrast to a "minor", a legal adult is a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible.
Human adulthood encompasses psychological adult development. Definitions of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory; a person may be biologically an adult, and have adult behavior but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal age of majority.