Credit: Photo courtesy of MTV © and TM MTV Networks Photo: The Skins Kids Get Cozy

TV has a time-honored tradition of casting older actors as teens — anyone remember Dylan McKay's receding hairline on 90210? The powers behind Skins have famously shunned this practice, using actual teenagers to keep the action real and fresh. While this practice might translate to greater authenticity onscreen, it also opens the show up to media hysteria and charges of exploitation, as we've certainly seen in the past two weeks. Morality watchdogs, like the Parents Television Council, claim Skins is using its underage cast to peddle pornography — and won't someone think of the children? But are they children? How old are these kids anyway?

Ron Mustafaa
(Abbud) is the oldest of the group — he hit the big 2-0 during filming and the cast threw him a surprise party. He's old enough to enlist, if he so desires, but he's got one more year until he can drink in the States! Eleanor Zichy, who plays Tony's hard-living younger sister Eura, is the baby of the gang at 15.

The rest of the cast hovers in the median, on either side of the magic 18. This week’s Skins showed Tea in a variety of adult situations. Not a problem — she's portrayed by Sofia Black D'Elia, who is 19. Next week's Skins will be called "Chris" and is expected to feature the title character in some public nudity and Viagra-based shenanigans. So how old is actor Jesse Carere, who plays Chris? He’s 17. In response to child porn concerns over a naked Chris, MTV has promised to edit the scene.

Add Camille Crescencia-Mills (Daisy) and Daniel Flaherty (Stanley) to the underage club: Both cast members clock in at just 17 years old. Britne Oldford (Cadie) is a year older at age 18. Although Skins ringleader Tony is wise beyond his years, the actor James Newman turned 19 just last week (January 22).

Of course, becoming an adult isn't a magical change that happens on your 18th birthday, but rather a transition that happens through the teen years. Do you think the cast is old enough for the characters they play? Tell us in the comments!