“Children, Borders, and ‘Adultification’”


Mar. 29, 2024, 3pm to 5pm

Office/Remote Location

Room 210


Amy Reed-Sandoval, Department of Philosophy, UNLV — Many of the world’s borders systematically harm children and adolescents in terrible ways. In particularly violent cases, they are sites where children experience death, injury, sexual violence, and a range of other physical harms. Borders are also frequently sites of family separation and trauma—leading some philosophers to argue that border coercion violates many children’s “right to an open future.”

In this paper, I aim to expand upon a small, but important, normative literature on the relationship between borders and childhood by arguing that many borders also harm children by effectively turning them into adults in the eyes of society. That is, many borders are complicit in the phenomenon of “adultification,” as young people find their social identities “transferred” from the category of children to that of adults upon crossing them. This, in turn, leaves many children—particularly children of color—vulnerable to increased targeting by police and harsher penalties under the criminal justice system. Border-crossings may also serve to disadvantage children in education systems, subject them to a wide range of hostile, racist, anti-immigrant attitudes, and make children even more vulnerable to family separation. After diagnosing the moral wrong of “adultification” that occurs at many of the world’s borders, which I do through the lens of privacy ethics, I move on to argue that addressing this problem requires us to refashion "adultifying borders" as “child-friendly spaces.”



Admission Information

Open to the public

Contact Information

UNLV Department of Philosophy
Nicole Moore

External Sponsor

UNLV Department of Philosophy