Whatever! The Science of Teens
Teenagers are in limbo. Neither adults nor children, they are caught up in a confusing world of change.
Using entertaining segments and accessible language Whatever! The Science Of Teens taps into the most up-to-date scientific investigations of the teen brain, and the latest research into family and society, to reveal that much 'aberrant' teenage behaviour is really quite normal. Hosted by award-winning journalist and broadcaster Steve Cannane, each episode focuses on one of five main themes: risk, binge drinking, sex, moodiness and sleep.
The science is brought to life by actual teenagers who serve as 'lab rats' in a battery of tests designed to unravel the mysteries of teenage behaviour over the course of the series, observational documentary of the teens in their natural habitat and analysis from teen experts.
Ep 1 - Risk
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. Until recently it was thought that the brain was fully developed by the time a child reached their teen years. We now know that the adult brain isn't fully formed until well into a person's twenties.
Ep 2 - Binge
Host Steve Cannane meets three very different young Aussies who all have experience binge drinking to varying degrees. It's a teen issue that has shaken a cocktail of concern. But is this just media hype? Through experiments we'll expose the true dangers behind what used to be seen as just a harmless rite of passage. The latest science on the effect alcohol has on teen brains is sobering stuff, guaranteed to get the nation talking.
Ep 3 - Sex
Host Steve Cannane goes under the covers to explore the science of teen sex. Teenagers are tackling their emerging sexuality, pulled by biology and powerful peer group expectations. They also receive mixed messages from adults. In our highly sexualised raunch culture, teens are re‐writing the rules of sex and while their bodies suddenly become adult, they’re not necessarily in sync with their chief sex organ – the teen brain.
Ep 4 - Mood
Host Steve Cannane meets some diverse teens who are all known for a particular character trait – they are moody. Parents complain about how their perfectly sensible, lovable children turn into volatile, irrational adolescents seemingly overnight. The latest science shows that typical teenage negative moods aren’t only inevitable, but they are especially helpful and beneficial for growing up. However these opportunities also come at a cost. Being a teen is the most vulnerable time in our entire lifespan to develop a mental illness. About a quarter of Australian teens are suffering from mood disorders like depression.
Ep 5 - Sleep
Host Steve Cannane discovers that teen brains are wired to stay up late, sleep in and sleep more. But over a million Australian adolescents are struggling with this basic human process. With the assistance of five teen night owls we discover why, and what can be done to help them. We uncover the biological basis for adolescent sleep problems, undertake a series of tests to determine the damage sleep deprivation has on teenagers, and join one teen who tries to restart her body clock using bright light therapy.
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