Discussion: Social Media, Brain Maturation, and Behavior

 PSYC 2002: Human Development: Childhood and Adolescence 

 
While your teenage years may have occurred many years ago, there is a strong chance you remember the challenges of being a teenager. For many, those are exciting and challenging years filled with changes.
Your parents may have begun treating you differently, offering you greater independence. Do you remember feeling unsure as to whether you were a child or an adult? The obvious changes to your body were likely both exciting and a little bit scary. At this same time, there were also many changes occurring that you could not see. Your brain was continuing to develop in important ways. If you ever felt your emotions were overwhelming or compelled to take risks, this may have been why.
Skip to the future. Do the teenagers you know and love spend endless hours on the phone texting, tweeting, and posting to social media accounts? Do they get anxious if they cannot respond quickly enough to friends because you request that the phone be put away during dinner? Was this a challenge when you were growing up? Rapidly changing technology is also changing the experience of teens in important ways. How parents respond to these new challenges may have a profound effect on development—socially but also in terms of actually changing the way teens think!
To prepare for this Discussion:

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Review Chapters 11 and 12 in your course text and the online interview with Jay Giedd, “Inside the Teenage Brain.”
Read the article “The Psychology of Begging to be Followed on Twitter,” concerning the impact of additive use of social media on adolescent development.
Consider the impact of pubertal changes and the ongoing maturation of the brain during adolescence.
Consider how physical changes impact adolescent behavior. In particular, focus on some of the stereotypes regarding adolescence (e.g., moodiness) and the possibility of risk-taking behavior.
Consider the impact of social media on the developing brain and the overall development of the adolescent.

With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 3
Post an analysis of the impact of ongoing physical maturation (i.e., pubertal change, brain maturation) on adolescent behavior. Also, post an analysis of the impact of social media on adolescent behavior. Pay particular attention to the danger for risk-taking behavior and how social media may shape the nature of development for teens today. Summarize your post by offering your ideas as to how parents and the larger community can successfully guide adolescents through this time.

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