Teenagers have always done silly, risky and stupid things…throughout time it has always been this way. But why do teens act this way?
It is developmentally appropriate in many ways. Their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed, and this is the area that manages impulsivity and judgment. Since it is still in formation, it makes sense that teenagers engage in risky things. However, today’s teens seem to be participating in activities that involve scarier and more dangerous outcomes.
Teens, as we all do, have so much more access to things. Where, years ago, we looked to our friends to encourage our stupid tricks, today, teens look to the internet–to YouTube or other sites–to find seemingly exciting and risky activities. They then take those ideas and try them, or, even worse, take it to a further extreme.
Teenagers think they are invincible. They believe that they won’t get hurt, that they are untouchable. Unfortunately, they don’t think about the long term consequences of their actions, which can often lead to long-term injuries.
It’s up to parents to stop and talk to their teens about what they are doing, and encourage them to err on the side of caution. If you see them looking at videos of scary activities, ask about it. If you see them doing these behaviors, intervene. Parents need to be the voice of reason regarding long-term consequences…teens stay in the moment, which makes it hard to see what might be wrong.
For more information about this, check out this New York Time article:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/teens-take-high-risks-for-a-virtual-audience/And here’s the link from this morning’s segment:http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6588120n&tag=cbsnewsVideoArea.0