The Teen Brain

The Teen Brain

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  • DON'T DO THAT! It's dangerous, what are you thinking?
  • You're no fun!
  • I think it's a great idea if I jump down that hole. It'll be fun!
  • She is holding us back. Violet does not even have her textbooks!
  • Violet, WAKE UP! We are in english class, not nap time!
  • And then Violet complains about her failing grades, she never pays attention to Ms. Linda!
  • "In a land far, far, away...
  • Yay! I got invited instead of her!
  • Oh, its fine.
  • Um, yeah, about that. You can still come but you aren't part of the group anymore.
  • Hey Anna and Michelle! ready for tonight's party?
  • Crying inside...
  • Yes. Christine, the new girl is a better fit in our group than you.
  • Many adults can ask themselves, "Why do teens make poor decisions?" Well, the answer has to do with their brain development. The teen prefrontal cortex is responsible for assessing risks and rewards. But, the teen prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. That means, adolescents have a deficit for making decisions. They do not think before acting, and their brain does not send them a clear warning saying, "Is that a good idea, what are the consequences?" This is why teens can drive fast without precautions, or break their curfew thinking nothing will happen. As shown in the scene above, Violet, the protagonist and teen, wanted to jump down the sewer. This is definitely not a good choice, but in the eyes and mind of a teen, it is an excellent decision. What Violet did not think through is, what if I get stuck or drown? I will get into so much trouble!. Thankfully, an adult helped impede this possibly disastrous idea. But adults are not always around to guard teens. This could lead them to many issues, adolescents have to be careful and assess risks before they can get harmed.
  • Violet is such a boring person.
  • If you want do be part of the group, you have to do something daring!
  • Um, if I do this I will be cool and they will be my friends again. (Feelings) But if I smoke, my lungs will suffer. I can die and become addicted. (Logic)
  • Yeah, like smoke. It's fun, we all do it. You are so uncool not smoking.
  • Today's teens suffer from sleep deprivation. They do not get the 9 1/4 hours that they actually need. Teens get around 7 hours of sleep or less. This is caused by all of the new media and technology that teens have at their disposal.Many teens have electronics in their rooms and instead of sleeping, they spend hours surfing the web of playing games. They multitask with electronics and sites because their brain rewards them for doing that. Adolescents can spend 11 hours a day on social media and screen time. The next day, teen have a battle with their parents trying to wake up. And they most likely fall asleep in early core classes. Useful information is not received and the adolescents' grades suffer. Studies show that well rested teens are more likely to perform better than those who do not get well rested. A test was performed on two teens, Charlie and Nicole. They both had not slept well and were asked to complete mind engaging tasks. The next day, they had to do the same tasks , but Nicole was well rested. She did 44% better than Charlie and Charlie did 8% worst than the last test. So teens, get your zzz's and you will suceed!
  • The limbic system is one of the first parts of the brain to mature. During the teen years, the prefrontal cortex is immature but the limbic system is mature. The limbic system controls emotions and smells and social information. That is why teens perceive social information as a great importance, like food and shelter. Teens can be devastated when a friend makes a hurtful comment more than ever. They try to make their social life as perfect as possible, but teens don't think about weather harsh comments can make an impact, but they do. Most of the time, teens aren't hurt when a parent says no for food or a game. But when the no involves a social event, everything falls apart. The cell above shows how Violet felt after Anna and Michelle excluded her from the group. It was a blow to Violet, she was chosen over someone else. Teenage social drama can make teens do very dangerous things. It is important for teens to know that a social issue, is not the end of the world.
  • 5 YEARS LATER...
  • Hello everyone! Thank you for coming to see me perform. It has been a hard journey to get here. Many negative people and influences. But If you forget about them and push through, you dreams will come true. i know mine did! To all of the young people out there, work hard, do good things, and you wil be rewarded. It is an honor to play for The National Institute of Music. Thank you again!
  • Because the limbic system is mature and the prefrontal cortex is not, teens can make decisions weighted in feelings over logic. They make decisions in emotionally charged situations. Such decisions can cause regret later on. For example, when Violet was offered an opportunity to be in the group if she smoked , was an emotionally charged decision. Peers were pressuring her and a lot was happening. Violet thought the pros and cons of this. Her feelings interfered with the logic, but she did make the right choice. SHe said no to harmful substances which is what is what everyone, especially teens should do. Teens have to make make decisions with logic and the prefrontal cortex, this will save them from damaging their life.
  • No, I can't. I'm leaving
  • I spend hours playing the piano!
  • Teens have a growth spurt of brain cells in the frontal lobe right before puberty.This means that there are hundreds of chances for teens to fill the cells with information. Teens have to take advantage of this because if they don't, cells cannot regenerate. Once they are gone, the cells can't come back. If the cells are used in mind engaging activites, they will grow and lead into adulthood. If not, they will die and information will be lost. Violet is actively using the cells by playing the piano. The music and arts part of the brain (right side) will flourish. The teen brain is also prepared for adulthood through synaptic pruning. Synapses are gaps in between cells where information is exchanged. Synapses that are not used are shed, making thinking more fast and efficient.
  • I really enjoy playing the piano. It helps me not think about the bad things going on right now. I want to be a pianist when I grow up.
  • MOZART 101
  • After working hard throughout teen years, Violet reached her dream of being a pianist. Never give up on your dreams, and even though adolescence is tough, you can make it. Push aside obstacles, and you will become an amazing young adult!
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