Thursday September 20, 2018

It’s Not What it Looks Like! Today’s Teenagers Growing up Slowly

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Teenagers are growing up slowly
Teenagers are growing up slowly. Pixabay
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New York, Sep 19, 2017: Contrary to popular perception, today’s teenagers are actually growing up more slowly than their predecessors, with 18-year-olds now behaving like 15-year-olds of yesteryears, suggests new research.

The findings published in the journal Child Development suggest that today’s teenagers are taking longer to engage in adult activities such as drinking alcohol, working, driving, or having sex.

“The developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed, with teenagers growing up more slowly than they used to,” explained Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in the US and lead author of the study.
“In terms of adult activities, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds once did,” Twenge said. 

The researchers examined how often teenagers engaged in activities that adults do and that children do not, including dating, working for pay, going out without parents, driving and having sex.

They analysed seven large surveys of 8.3 million 13- to 19-year-olds between 1976 and 2016.

The surveys were nationally representative, reflecting the population of US teenagers in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic region.

In the surveys, teenagers were asked how they used their time, including their engagement in one or more adult activities, allowing researchers to compare teens in the 2010s to teenagers in the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s.

The study found that today’s adolescents are less likely than their predecessors to take part in activities typically undertaken by adults.

The researchers also examined how changes in family size, life expectancy, education and the economy may have influenced the speed at which teenagers take on adult activities.

Also Read: Introducing Adolescents to Alcohol in their Teen Years Can be Risky 

The trend toward engaging in fewer adult activities cannot be explained by time spent on homework or extracurricular activities because time doing those activities decreased among eighth and tenth graders and was steady among twelfth graders and college students, the researchers said.

The decline may be linked to the time teenagers spend online, which increased markedly, the authors noted.

“Our study suggests that teenagers today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol),” study co-author Heejung Park, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, said. (IANS)


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Exposure to Smoke Linked with Respiratory Problems in Teenagers

Also, health professionals should educate teens on the dangers associated with tobacco use to prevent initiation

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Second hand smoke linked to dry cough among teenagers. Pixabay

As little as one hour of exposure to tobacco smoke per week can increase the risk of having respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath and a dry cough at night among teenagers, warns a study.

“There is no safe level of second hand smoke exposure,” said lead author of the study Ashley Merianos, Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US.

“Even a small amount of exposure can lead to more emergency department visits and health problems for teens. That includes not just respiratory symptoms, but lower overall health,” Merianos said.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, involved 7,389 non-smoking US teenagers without asthma.

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A man smoking cigarette. Pixabay

The findings showed that teenagers exposed to just one hour of second hand smoke per week are 1.5 times more likely to find it harder to exercise and two times more likely to experience wheezing during or after exercise.

They are two times more likely to have a dry cough at night and and 1.5 times more likely to miss school due to illness.

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“Healthcare providers or other health professionals can offer counselling to parents and other family members who smoke to help them quit smoking, and parents should be counselled on how to prevent and reduce their adolescent’s second hand smoke exposure,” Merianos said.

“Also, health professionals should educate teens on the dangers associated with tobacco use to prevent initiation,” she added. (IANS)

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