News: Scientists Discover Teens Take Risks
Writing in the journal Cognitive Development, researchers at the University College of London have discovered teenagers take risks:
Scientists found that the teenagers took the most risks compared with the other groups, with the most risky behaviour seen in 14-year olds. [The test group ranged from age 9 to 35]
The results suggest that teenagers are good at weighing up the pros and cons of their decisions (unlike children) but take risks because they enjoy the thrill of a risky situation more than other age groups – especially when they have a ‘lucky escape’.
“The reason that teenagers take risks is not a problem with foreseeing the consequences. It was more because they chose to take those risks,” said Dr Stephanie Burnett from the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and the lead author.
Well, no surprises there. Anyone with boys knows this. Only the scientific community needs to have numerical data to prove it!
Actually, though, it does parallel other reports I was reading recently about underage gambling. While these researchers are wondering about the causes of risky behaviors like drug use and “unsafe sex”, other studies have found that as many as one out of eight teenagers has a gambling problem, and boys outnumber girls five to one.
This is pretty timely, given the basketball tournament season. Even the President is taking time off to publicly announce his picks for the NCAA brackets. A lot of people are making friendly bets at the office or other places (studies find kids often get started gambling by betting on sports, by the way). Instead of giving our sons a bad example, though, why not challenge them to take a real life risk that advances the kingdom of God, like volunteering with an inner-city ministry, or develops skills and character in other ways, like starting a micro-business, planning a wilderness camping trip, or entering a public-speaking contest?
Let’s give them a real thrill.