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According to an evolutionary-psychology theory that a person’s “life strategy” slows down or speeds up depending on the person’s surroundings, exposure to a “harsh and unpredictable” environment leads to faster development, while a more resource-rich and secure environment has the opposite effect, the study said.In the first scenario, “you’d have a lot of kids and be in survival mode, start having kids young, expect your kids will have kids young, and expect that there will be more diseases and fewer resources,” said Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University who is the author of “i Gen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.” A century ago, when life expectancy was lower and college education less prevalent, “the goal back then was survival, not violin lessons by 5,” Twenge said.Rather, they stick to G-rated activities such as rock-climbing or talking about books.They are in good company, according to a new study showing that teenagers are increasingly delaying activities that had long been seen as rites of passage into adulthood.
Chiara Power, 15, of San Juan Island in Washington state has no interest in dating, driving, working for pay or drinking alcohol — and the rising costs of college keep her up at night. But Haskew wonders whether her daughter is missing out on life lessons those behaviors can teach. Do you have to be risk-taking as a teenager in order to succeed as an adult?“In a culture that says, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to high school, go to college, go to graduate school and then get an internship, and you’re not going to really be responsible till your late 20s,’ well then the brain will respond accordingly,” he said.Whether the changes are positive or negative depends on the reasons for delaying adult activities, Siegel said. Why don’t I stay with my friends and away from anything that has heavy consequences, like pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases?‘There isn’t really anything magical about it’: Why more young people are avoiding sex “People say, ‘Oh, it’s because teenagers are more responsible, or more lazy, or more boring,’ but they’re missing the larger trend,” said Jean Twenge, lead author of the study, which drew on seven large time-lag surveys of Americans.Rather, she said, youths may be less interested in activities such as dating, driving or getting jobs because in today’s society, they no longer need to be.
If the delay is to make room for creative exploration and forming better social and emotional connections, it is a good thing. ’ ” Teenagers are also more conscious now about the possible repercussions of their actions, said Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families.