“Experts say that even at ages 16 and 17, when compared to adults, juveniles on average are more:— impulsive.
— emotionally volatile.
— likely to take risks.
— reactive to stress.
— vulnerable to peer pressure.
— prone to focus on and overestimate short-term payoffs and underplay longer-term consequences of what they do.
— likely to overlook alternative courses of action.
Violence toward others also tends to peak in adolescent years, says psychiatrist Dr. Peter Ash of Emory University. It’s mostly likely to start around age 16, and people who haven’t committed a violent crime by age 19 only rarely start doing it later, he said.
The good news here, he said, is that a violent adolescent doesn’t necessarily become a violent adult. Some two-thirds to three-quarters of violent youth grow out of it, he said. “They get more self-controlled.”” (Link)
The front part of the brain ties together signals from other parts of the brain. However this area does not fully mature until age 25. Almost every college student (or high school student) is under pressure (whether is be peer, self or parental pressure) and there is always a flux of emotions waiting to happen at any one time.
This pressure is said to cause strain on the maturing frontal lobes of the brain. So this is why college students under go risks? This is why students drink, do drugs, and stay up all night long partying? I don’t think so. While peer pressure and stress might have something to do with the massive under age drinking problem in our country, I do not think it is plausible to blame it on the brain.
The main reason that high school and college students take the risk of drinking is that they know it is not legal. They can get away with it and it makes them feel powerful. Look at other countries. With a legal drinking age of 18 their children are as crazy about alcohol as ours. I am not saying that the drinking age should be lowered — it is fine where it is.
The opening line of the article linked above interested me: “ The teenage brain, Laurence Steinberg says, is like a car with a good accelerator but a weak brake. With powerful impulses under poor control, the likely result is a crash.”
While the brain might be still developing, I do not think it can be given total fault for the reckless behavior of teenagers. There are other influences that one must take into consideration.