The National Youth Council of Australia is an independent organisation for young people and youth organisations within Australia. The council brings together youth organisations and provides a platform for inter organisational cooperation and discussion. The council also runs a number of programs and events aimed at inspiring the next generation of young leaders.
Science reveals that irrational, inexplicable teenage mood swings aren't only normal, they're helpful and beneficial - even if they are painful for parents and teens alike. Teenagers may be sulky and surly one moment, exuberant and ecstatic the next. And it's more than hormones that brings on these extreme teen mood swings, it's their developing brains that are also to blame. Teens are at a cerebral crossroads; their brains driving new ways of thinking and feeling, and how teens learn to manage their moods can either empower or derail them for the rest of their lives.
The Teens: In this episode we meet four young Australians each with their own story to tell about the emotional roller coaster of being a teen. The science behind teen moods is told through each personal experience. Aaron, Estelle, Sarah and Rebecca are all experiencing life as a teen in different ways and talk about their moods and situations. The independence seeker, the popular kid, the misfit and the depressive all face their own challenges of mood as they negotiate their way through the teenage years.
The Science: The latest science shows that typical teen moods have very little to do with the effects of pubertal hormones. Scientists have recently found that the teen brain is itself in conflict, caught between heightened sensitivity to emotions, while at the same time lacking the skills to control feelings. At the same time teenagers' brains are going through this transformation, teens are thrust into a volatile and unstable social world. It's a perfect storm for emotional upheaval, negativity and just plain teen angst, but it's also an essential part of becoming an adult.
A typical teenager goes to bed late and can't get out of bed in the morning. But while many adults regard them as layabouts or lazy, the reality is most teens need more sleep not less. Experts say adolescents require between 9 and 10 hours sleep a night - but only a small fraction get this much. The latest science shows teenagers have a biological basis for their sleep patterns; their brains are wired to stay up late, sleep in and sleep more. Add to this a modern 24/7 lifestyle, which bombards them with things that keep them hyper alert and wired, and Australia is now creating a nation of sleep-deprived adolescents. Rather than sleeping too much, teens are some of the most sleep-deprived members of the population, vulnerable to devastating consequences on their physical and mental health.
Teens are re-writing the rules of sex but while their bodies suddenly become adult, they're not necessarily in sync with their chief sex organ - the teen brain. Whether they're having sex or not, whether their parents like it or not, teenagers are sexual beings.
Steve Cannane, journalist and broadcaster, examines risk. Everyone likes a thrill but teens take it to the next level. The more dangerous a dare, the more crazy a stunt, teens just can't get enough of risk-taking. Scientists are now realising that risk-taking is actually a crucial phase of adolescence. By taking risks we force our brains to make decisions which allow our brains to grow. The adult brain isn't fully formed until well into a person's twenties. This period of growth is central to carving out the future individual adult. But it also means that certain regions of the brain are still under construction. The brain's "brakes" don't yet work, which lead teens to making some poor decisions.