A person’s task during their life is to learn to take risks safely and choose the proper forms of risk. However, during adolescence, the peak of risky human behavior occurs. Firstly, this is because adolescents have a different attitude to their own death and do not perceive it as the end of life (Fryt, 2017). They perceive death as an act after which life continues since most have not experienced losses yet, particularly irrecoverable ones (Fryt, 2017). Therefore, in adolescence, it seems that everything can be fixed and returned.
In addition, in various studies, it has been found that adults have a high intolerance to uncertainty. Because of this, they choose those decisions that suggest the most understandable result. As for adolescents, they are ready to make decisions with unclear consequences. This is since even in childhood, a person is accustomed to the fact that the world for themselves is in itself ambiguous and unpredictable (Fryt, 2017). Such a decision-making peculiarity can also affect a child’s readiness for risky behavior.
In general, adolescence is an age including a social test. When there is such an opportunity, they try to test the boundaries. This is why teenagers’ tendency towards risky behavior shall be implied to social policies and regulations. Thus, in the context of age-based policies, an increased level of risk is primarily associated with various forms of illegal behavior and the commission of offenses (Morese et al., 2019). These include alcoholism, vandalism, substance abuse, anti-vital behavior, creating a threat to the safety of other individuals and others. Legislation has to account for higher risk appetite among teens and avoid contact with potentially vulnerable and dangerous situations.
Various age-based restrictive measures are driven primarily by an incentive to avoid risk related to a lack of self-control among teenagers. However, as studies show, the end of adolescence is highly difficult to determine. Thus, there is still a gap between cognitivists’ understanding of a youngster’s psychological development and real restrictions. In fact, teenagers are commonly referred to when considering people of age up to 22 (Morese et al., 2019). This means that a large proportion of adolescents access the right to drive, buy alcohol, and do other potentially risky activities before gaining self-control and emotional stability.
Moreover, it is essential to note that one of the crucial tasks of a person’s growing up, particularly in adolescence, is their socialization, that is, assimilation of norms and rules of the society. When normal socialization is disturbed, when a teenager cannot find a place for themselves in society, classroom, or environment, they are often forced out. For example, a teenager who commits an offense will be registered with the school. The community’s reaction will not contribute to its socialization as an individual, as a person. People will label them as people who cannot socialize normally, which will somewhat hinder their socialization (Morese et al., 2019). That is why, in many Western countries, the application of prison to adolescents is highly selective and is often replaced by rehabilitation centers.
Furthermore, various manifestations of risky social behavior in adolescence can be perceived as symptoms of a severe problem, which can be called the social and psychological maladjustment of the adolescent. For example, among those adults who smoke, 78% started smoking in adolescence – this is according to research in the United States (Skibba, 2018). It is known that among those who try to smoke, a significant part turns out to be linked with those who use alcohol and those who then begin to use drugs (Skibba, 2018). These data signal that it is necessary to improve the age-related social policy to realize their cognitive needs and socialize without posing a threat to society.
Fryt, J. (2017). Adolescent sensitivity to rewards, risk-taking, and adaptive behavior: Development of the dual systems perspective. Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 26(3), 140–145. Web.
Morese, R., Palermo, S., Defedele, M., Nervo, J., & Borraccino, A. (2019). Vulnerability and social exclusion: Risk in adolescence and old age. The New Forms of Social Exclusion. Web.
Skibba, R. (2018). Scientists say that the age-based justice system approach overlooks adolescence extends beyond age 18. Inside Science. Web.