Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Teenage Brain Under Construction

It is commonly known that teens are more emotional than adults are, but it has only been recently that we've been able to learn why. In Feinstein's article, we get a chance to explore the science behind teen behavior. "In tests performed on adult and adolescent brains, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reveals that teenagers actually rely on different parts of the brain than adults for reactions, decisions, and interpretations." (Feinstein, 2008, p. 122) The article goes into the teen's emotional response and lack of logical thinking that occurs in the frontal lobes of the adult brain.

Librarians need to be aware of the causes for erratic teen behavior. Feinstein provides many scientific reasons for librarians to find new ways to form a preemptive strike against visiting adolescents. Feinstein suggests improving the ways adults communicate with teens, though "it takes vigilance, patience, and a sense of humor on the part of the adult brain." (Feinstein, 2008, p.122) I think that as adults, we must remember that we were once teenagers and must have frustrated the adults around us – turnabout is fair play. Why not look back at when we were teens and recall what upset us about the way adults treated us and then try to avoid recreating those situations.

Feinstein also brings findings of a study that looked at what impact violent video games had on teenage boys; a lot of playing equaled increased impulsive and aggressive behavior. Though this has been proven by some research, I still find video games to be an important part of being an adolescent. The library system for which I work provides 2 hours every two weeks for teens ages 12-18 to play video games. This gives an outlet for many teens who are troubled as well as provides a chance to socialize in a safe environment; their emotional and social needs are met through joint video game sessions. With the right selection of games that are positive and that encourage interactions there is a chance to enhance the development of teens. In Paulson and Clabaugh's (2008) article, it states that teens playing the less violent and more social games "are much more engaged civically and politically than their peers, reporting greater interest and involvement in politics, volunteer activities, and raising money for charity."

References:
Feinstein, S. (2008, June). The teenage brain under construction. Voice of Youth Advocates, 31(2), 122-3. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database.
Paulson, A., & Clabaugh, R. (2008, September 17). 'Loner' image out: For teens, video games often social. Christian Science Monitor, pp. 1-11. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

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