November 10, 1998
If you needed any evidence that kids are growing up too fast, listen to all the things being said these days about tweens. What is a tween, you ask? Tweens are kids between 8 and 12, midway between childhood and adolescence. There used to be a middle stage there, but unfortunately most tweens are acting like teens.

Bruce Friend, a vice-president of the cable channel Nickelodeon, says that "12- to 14-year-olds of yesterday are the 10- to 12-'s of today." Youth Monitor has found that by the time they are 12, children describe themselves as "flirtatious, sexy, trendy, athletic, cool." If we ever needed any evidence that the age of innocence is being lost, it is this.

Advertisers have noticed this as well. There is the Sweet Georgia Brown line of cosmetics for tweens. It includes body paints and scented body oils with names like Vanilla Vibe and Follow Me Boy. They are even designing tween-sized lingerie.

But the greatest concern to me is that more and more tweens are engaged in risky and immoral behavior. What used to start in the 9th grade is now beginning in the 7th grade. For example, the number of juvenile arrests under 15 has grown disproportionately and the crimes they commit are becoming more severe.

Tweens are also becoming more sexually active. The number of kids under the age of 15 who have had sexual intercourse has grown significantly in the last few years and may continue to increase. Equally striking is the growing evidence of sexual contact short of intercourse. Tweens say it is merely fooling around and point to a role model in the White House who has done the same.

No longer are the tween years a time of innocence as more and more kids want to grow up too early and experiment too freely.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International