4.1 Emerging capabilities across domains: physical, social emotional, moral and cognitive

Adolescent Physical Development

Entering puberty heralds the physical changes of adolescence: a growth spurt and sexual maturation. Professionals who work with adolescents need to know what is normative and what represents early or late physical development in order to help prepare the adolescent for the myriad changes that take place during this time of life. Even in schools where sex education is taught, many girls and boys still feel unprepared for the changes of puberty, suggesting that these important topics are not being dealt with in ways that are most useful to adolescents.

·        Puberty and Sexual Development

Although it sometimes seems that adolescents’ bodies change overnight, the process of sexual maturation actually occurs over a period of several years. The sequence of physical changes is largely predictable, but there is great variability in the age of onset of puberty and the pace at which changes occur. There are numerous factors that affect the onset and progression of puberty, including genetic and biological influences, stressful life events, socioeconomic status, nutrition and diet, amount of body fat, and the presence of a chronic illness. The growth spurt, which involves rapid skeletal growth, usually begins at about ages 10 to 12 in girls and 12 to 14 in boys and is complete at around age 17 to 19 in girls and 20 in boys. For most adolescents, sexual maturation involves achieving fertility and the physical changes that support fertility. For girls, these changes involve breast budding, which may begin around age 10 or earlier, and menstruation, which typically begins at age 12 or 13.9 For boys, the onset of puberty involves enlargement of the testes at around age 11 or 12 and first ejaculation, which typically occurs between the ages of 12 and 14. The development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as body hair and (for boys) voice changes, occurs later in puberty.

·        Physical Appearance and Body Image

Regardless of the timing of the physical changes that take place during adolescence, this is a period in which physical appearance commonly assumes paramount importance. Both girls and boys are known to spend hours concerned about their appearance, particularly in order to “fit in” with the norms of the group with whom they most identify. At the same time, they wish to have their own unique style, and they may spend hours in the bathroom or in front of the mirror trying to achieve this goal.

Adolescent Cognitive Development

The changes in how adolescents think, reason, and understand can be even more dramatic than their obvious physical changes. From the concrete, black-and-white thinkers they appear to be one day, rather suddenly it seems, adolescents become able to think abstractly and in shades of gray. They are now able to analyze situations logically in terms of cause and effect and to entertain hypothetical situations and use symbols, such as in metaphors, imaginatively (Piaget, 1950). Although there are marked individual differences in cognitive development among youth, these new capacities allow adolescents to engage in the kind of introspection and mature decision making that was previously beyond their cognitive capacity. Cognitive competence includes such things as the ability to reason effectively, problem solve, think abstractly and reflect, and plan for the future.

Adolescent Moral Development

Moral development refers to the development of a sense of values and ethical behavior. Adolescents’ cognitive development, in part, lays the groundwork for moral reasoning, honesty, and prosocial behaviors such as helping, volunteerism, or caring for others. Adults can help facilitate moral development in adolescents by modeling altruistic and caring behavior toward others and by helping youth take the perspective of others in conversations.

Adolescent Emotional Development

Emotional development during adolescence involves establishing a realistic and coherent sense of identity in the context of relating to others and learning to cope with stress and manage emotions (Santrock, 2001), processes that are life-long issues for most people. Identity refers to more than just how adolescents see themselves right now; it also includes what has been termed the “possible self”—what individuals might become and who they would like to become (Markus & Nurius, 1986). Establishing a sense of identity has traditionally been thought of as the central task of adolescence (Erikson, 1968), although it is now commonly accepted that identity formation neither begins nor ends during adolescence. Adolescence is the first time, however, when individuals have the cognitive capacity to consciously sort through who they are and what makes them unique.

·        Developing a Sense of Identity

Identity includes two concepts. First is self-concept: the set of beliefs one has about oneself. This includes beliefs about one’s attributes (e.g., tall, intelligent), roles and goals (e.g., occupation one wants to have when grown), and interests, values, and beliefs (e.g., religious, political). Second is self-esteem, which involves evaluating how one feels about one’s self-concept. “Global” self-esteem refers to how much we like or approve of our perceived selves as a whole. “Specific” self-esteem refers to how much we feel about certain parts of ourselves (e.g., as an athlete or student, how one looks, etc.). Self-esteem develops uniquely for each adolescent, and there are many different trajectories of self-esteem possible over the course of adolescence. Thus, self-esteem, whether high or low, may remain relatively stable during adolescence or may steadily improve or worsen.

·        Emotional Intelligence

Identity development as well as moral development occurs in the context of relating to others (Jordan, 1994). All adolescents must begin to master the emotional skills necessary to manage stress and be sensitive and effective in relating to other people. These skills have been called “emotional intelligence” (Goleman, 1994). Emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, but above all, relationship skills—the ability to get along well with other people and to make friends. Professionals who can help adolescents develop emotional intelligence provide them with resources that will help them succeed as adults in both their personal and professional lives. However, one does not have to look to the future for the benefits; youth without relationship skills are at greater risk than their peers who have these skills for a number of problems, including dropping out of school.

Adolescent Social Development

The social development of adolescents is best considered in the contexts in which it occurs; that is, relating to peers, family, school, work, and community. It is important to keep in mind when interpreting the findings of research on the social development of adolescents that most of the research to date is based on samples of White, middle-class adolescents. Research done with more diverse groups of adolescents has revealed differences among youth of different ethnic backgrounds, so generalizations to specific ethnic groups should be made with care when the research is based solely on samples of White adolescents

·        Peer Relationships

One of the most obvious changes in adolescence is that the hub around which the adolescent’s world revolves shifts from the family to the peer group. It is important to note that this decreased frequency of contact with family does not mean that family closeness has assumed less importance for the adolescent (O’Koon, 1997). In fact, family closeness and attachment has recently been confirmed as the most important factor associated with not smoking, less use of alcohol and other drugs, later initiation of sexual intercourse, and fewer suicide attempts among adolescents.

·        Family Relationships

During adolescence, parent–adolescent conflict tends to increase, particularly between adolescent girls and their mothers. This conflict appears to be a necessary part of gaining independence from parents while learning new ways of staying connected to them (Steinberg, 2001). Daughters, in particular, appear to strive for new ways of relating to their mothers (Debold, Weseen, & Brookins, 1999). In their search for new ways of relating, daughters may be awkward and seem rejecting. Understandably, mothers may withdraw, and a cycle of mutual distancing can begin that is sometimes difficult to disrupt. If parents can be reassured that the awkwardness their teen is displaying is not rejection and can be encouraged to stay involved, a new way of relating may eventually evolve that is satisfying for all.

·        School

For most adolescents, school is a prominent part of their life. It is here that they relate to and develop relationships with their peers and where they have the opportunity to develop key cognitive skills. For some youth, it is also a source of safety and stability. Some of the same qualities that characterize families of adolescents who do well—a strong sense of attachment, bonding, and belonging, and a feeling of being cared about—also characterize adolescents’ positive relationships with their teachers and their schools. One additional factor, adolescent perception of teacher fairness, has also been found to be associated with positive adolescent development. These factors, more than the size of the school, the type of school (e.g., public, private), or teacher–pupil ratio, have been found to be strongly associated with whether adolescents are successful or are involved with drugs or delinquency or drop out of school.

·        Community

The characteristics of the community in which an adolescent lives can have a profound impact on the adolescent’s development. Community includes such factors as the socioeconomic characteristics of one’s neighborhood, the types of resources available, the service systems within the community (including schools), religious organizations, the media, and the people who live in the community. Some communities are rich in resources that provide support and opportunity for adolescents. Unfortunately, many communities, particularly in inner cities or poor rural areas, do not.


4.2 Emerging capabilities across domains related to cognition, meta-cognition, creativity and ethics.

What is Metacognition?

Developing the ability to think about thinking in a process known as “meta-cognition.” Meta-cognition allows individuals to think about how they feel and what they are thinking. It involves being able to think about how one is perceived by others. It can also be used to develop strategies, also known as mnemonic devices, for improving learning.

·        Thinking about thinking

·        Knowing what we know

·        Understanding how we learn

·        Being able to discern when and how to apply strategies for learning

·        Appreciating how our brains work

Why is metacognition important?

·        Studies show that direct instruction, in metacognition strategies, result in measurable increases in learning.

·        For students who struggle, encapsulating the area of weakness lessens the feelings of overwhelming failure.

·        Students who understand how they learn and what they need to be successful when they learn, are the best communicators of this very important information.

·        When these students understand how to communicate their metacognitive awareness, they become their own advocates and can be reflective, independent, self-aware, strategic learners.

Middle school and Metacogniton

·        Middle school students love to talk about themselves, love to think about themselves and love to understand themselves. Early adolescents are the perfect candidates for metacognitive experiences. They are natural experts on their lives and they usually enjoy learning about how they learn.

·        People underestimate adolescent students’ interest in learning about learning. It’s wonderful to observe the surprised reactions of seasoned middle school and high school teachers, when they discover the impact of their student’s metacognative awareness.


Creativity in Adolescents

For creativity to take place in the learning environment, students must learn to become self aware and responsible for themselves. This is a life stage where they are getting acquainted with their own emotional reactivity from a different standpoint, compared to when they were children. Developing emotional intelligence in the teenage years is a positive investment in the building of a healthy identity for their present self and for their future adult-self. Adolescents also need to learn how to handle stress, adapt to change and deal positively with interpersonal relationships. During adolescence, most individuals are in the process of developing maturity on these skills, whether consciously or unconsciously. It is normal to expect that teens haven’t mastered these skills yet. Self leadership, as described by Bandura involves developing the skills for self-regulation and constructing a sense of self-efficacy, which is absolutely necessary for a healthy Self-Esteem: it responds to self-confidence, self-control, and self fulfillment as described by De Mezerville. Many adults haven’t mastered these personal skills. What should be the expectation of adolescents within educational settings? The answer is not to dismiss these skills as hard, but to foster and encourage them. It must be kept in mind that, by nature, this is a social process. Intergenerational relationships with positive adult models are required for these abilities to grow.

·        Creativity/imagination begins to serve the adolescent's emotional striving

·        Emotional + intellectual = creative imagination (thesis/antithesis = synthesis)

·        This inner drive for creative expression and inner tendency for productivity is a distinguishing feature of adolescence

·        Beginnings of intellect combined with imagination distinguishes adolescence

·        Only during adolescence that thinking aided by metaphors becomes accessible

·        Fantasy brings satisfaction to the emotional side of life (and is therefore reminiscent of child's play)

·        A child makes no attempt to hide his play but an adolescent conceals his fantasies from other people's eyes.

·        Reticent aspect of fantasy points to the fact that it is tightly bound up with inner desires, attractions and emotions

·        This kind of creative work is strictly for oneself - very much interior



4. 3 Issues challenges and debates related to puberty and adolescents

Behavioural problems
Adolescence is a time for developing independence. Typically, adolescents exercise their independence by questioning their parents’ rules, which at times leads to rule breaking. It is common for once loyal children to begin to grumble when asked to carry out some chores at home and to respond in harsh words when been rebuked by their parents. This is often a challenging time for most parents.
Some parents and their adolescents clash over almost everything. In these situations, the core issue is really control—adolescents want to feel in control of their lives and parents want adolescents to know they still make the rules.

Unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (stds)
This is as much a problem for the male adolescent as it is for the female but generally, the girls stand a greater risk of this. Due to the development of secondary sexual characteristics following adolescence, teens feel a great push to explore and experiment with their bodies. Early maturing girls are likely to start dating and a combination of the overwhelming urge to explore and peer pressure leads many into sex.

Teens often equate intimacy with sex. Rather than exploring a deep emotional attachment first, teens tend to assume that if they engage in the physical act, the emotional attachment will follow
Most sexually active adolescents are not fully informed about contraception, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. As a result, many fall victims of unwanted pregnancies as well as STD’s.

Most times, pregnant teens attempt abortion, but this does not remove the psychological problems of an unwanted pregnancy—either for the adolescent girl or her partner. Really, it leads to more psychological and medical problems and the church has very strong words against abortion.

Drug and substance abuse
Substance use among adolescents occurs on a spectrum; from experimentation to dependence. Experimentation with alcohol and drugs during adolescence is common. Moreover, unlike drug use, the moderate use of alcohol is considered perfectly acceptable in most adult social circles. Teens see their parents enjoying a cocktail after work or having a glass of wine at dinner.
While some teens will experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems. Others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others.

Teenagers at risk for developing serious alcohol and drug problems include those: with a family history of substance abuse , those who are depressed , those who have low self-esteem, and who feel like they don’t fit in or are out of the mainstream.

Stress and depression

Stress is characterized by feelings of tension, frustration, worry, sadness and withdrawal that commonly last from a few hours to a few days. Depression is both more severe and longer lasting. Depression is characterized by more extreme feelings of hopelessness, sadness, isolation, worry, withdrawal and worthlessness that last for two weeks or more.

Young people respond to stress and depression by exhibiting much more anger and ventilation; being passive and aggressive. They yell, fight and complain just about everything. Drinking, smoking and crying more often- especially the girls- are other popular signs. They are also less inclined to do things with their family or to go along with parents’ rules and requests.

This is a huge problem that exists among adolescents though it is often neglected in this part of the world. Bullying is the act of intentionally causing harm to others, through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion such as manipulation.
Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.

In colloquial speech, bullying often describes a form of harassment perpetrated by an abuser who possesses more physical and/or social power and dominance than the victim. The harassment can be verbal, physical and/or emotional.
Bullies are at risk for problems, too. Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy.

School problems
The School constitutes a large part of an adolescent’s existence. Difficulties in almost any area of life often manifest as school problems.
School problems during the adolescent years may be the result of rebellion and a need for independence. Less commonly, they may be caused by mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Substance use, abuse, and family conflict also are common contributors to school problems. Sometimes, inappropriate academic placement—particularly in adolescents with a learning disability or mild mental retardation that was not recognized early in life—causes school problems.
Particular school problems include fear of going to school, truancy, dropping out, and academic underachievement.


Biological Challenges

Adolescence begins with the first well-defined maturation event called puberty. Included in the biological challenges are the changes that occur due to the release of the sexual hormones that affect emotions. Mood changes can increase, which can impact on relationships both at home with parents and siblings and socially or at school.

Cognitive Challenges

Piaget, in his theory of social development believed that adolescence is the time when young people develop cognitively from “concrete operations” to “formal operations”. So they are able to deal with ideas, concepts and abstract theories. However, it takes time for confidence to build with using these newly acquired skills, and they may make mistakes in judgement. Learning through success and failure is part of the challenge of the learning process for the adolescent.

Adolescents are egocentric, they can become self conscious; thinking they are being watched by others, and at other times want to behave as if they were on a centre stage and perform for a non existent audience. For example, acting like a music idol, singing their favourites songs in their room, with all the accompanying dance steps.

Adolescents live in their private world where they may think they are invincible and cannot be hurt. Unfortunately, these beliefs can lead them to believe that no-one is capable of understanding them, or know how they are feeling.

Psychological Challenges

The psychological challenges that the adolescent must cope with are moving from childhood to adulthood. A new person is emerging, where rules will change, maybe more responsibilities will be placed on him/her so that a certain standard of behaviour is now required to be maintained. Accountability is becoming an expectation from both a parental and legal concept.

During adolescence the process of individuation occurs, which involves the development of relative independence from family relationships, with the weakening ties to objects and people who were previously important to the young person, coupled by an increased capacity and societal expectation to assume a functional role as a member of adult society.

 4.4 Locating adolescence in the socio cultural milieu ( special focus on gender, caste, socio economic background and disability)

Locating adolescence in socio-cultural mileiu

·        Socio- Cultural milieu refers to the setting and environment in which a person lives, including social and cultural aspects of life.

·        Adolescent’s physical, cognitive, and emotional development occurs within social institutions, including families, friends, and schools. Also various other factors like gender, caste, socio-economic status and disability also contribute to the overall development of an adolescent.

·        Therefore, understanding the nature of development necessitates understanding the social contexts in which it occurs.

Adolescence and gender

·        One of the first stages in adolescence is gender development and it is related to establishing gender identity or what it means to be a part of each gender.

·        Gender identity refers to whether people consider themselves to be primarily masculine, primarily feminine, or some combination of the two.

·        During early to mid-adolescence, youths' understanding of gender is quite rigid and stereotyped. As a result, younger adolescents will typically participate in more gender-stereotyped behaviors than do older adolescents. This means that girls will gravitate toward more "girly" activities and present an ultra-feminine appearance, while guys will lean toward more "guy" activities and present an über-masculine appearance.

·        There are a number of reasons for these gender-stereotyped behaviors:-

1.     First, teens' bodies have changed so much during puberty that their bodies now begin to resemble adult bodies. Of course, youth like some of these physical changes, but dislike others. As a result may want to enhance the physical changes they find desirable or appealing, and downplay or conceal the changes they dislike.

2.     Second, because teens are becoming more interested in dating and forming romantic relationships, they will perform stereotypic, gender-specific behaviors in an effort to be attractive to the opposite sex. In general, guys tend to be attracted to young ladies who have feminine hair styles, feminine shaped bodies, feminine facial features, and feminine scents. They do all of this in an effort to capture the guys' attention. Likewise, guys begin to spend a lot of time enhancing their masculine appearance because teen girls are generally attracted to guys who appear masculine, strong, tough, and handsome. Therefore, some increase in gender-stereotyped behavior results from these efforts to attract the opposite sex.

3.     Third, during early adolescence, friends and families will influence how teens express their gender. Thus, stereotypical behaviors are passed down from one generation to the next. When fathers, grandfathers, uncles, older brothers, and friends tell youth what it means "to be a man," or describe what men are expected to do, this shapes youths' perception of masculinity, and influences their behavior.

Adolescence and caste

·        Caste, a system of social stratification is based on division of labour in India. It segregates people on the basis of traditional hereditary occupations.

·        Social stratification based on the caste system is deep rooted in India, and is a main feature to determine the social standing and identity of an individual and the group in the society.

Ø Children from lower castes continue to be educationally disadvantaged as compared to children in upper castes. The students from lower castes are more likely to have been educated in government schools, in vernacular languages. They have less educated parents who lack resources as well.

Ø Dalit children are reported to be victims of caste discrimination in schools. They are asked to sit separately, forbidden from participating in school events and routinely subjected to other discriminatory practices that account for large number of them leaving school before completion.  

·        The adolescents are most vulnerable to this discrimination and exploitation.

Adolescence and socio-economic background

·        Socio-economic background also plays a very important role in the adolescent period of a person.

·         It is studied that poor and low-income adolescents are more likely than their more affluent counterparts to be in fair or poor (versus good or excellent) health, have limitations in their activities, and have had behavioral or emotional problems.

·        The association between low income, on one hand, and reduced access to health care and worse health, on the other, represents just one manifestation of the effect of socioeconomic status on the life chances of adolescents.

·        Adolescents growing up in families under economic stress or with a single parent may be poorly supervised and often gain autonomy too early.

·        Low family income has been associated with early sexual activity, cigarette smoking, adolescent pregnancy, and delinquency.

·        Family income also affects the quality of the neighborhoods in which children and adolescents grow up.

·        Family income also has a profound influence on the educational opportunities available to adolescents and on their chances of educational success.

·        The cumulative effect of socioeconomic status on families, neighborhoods, schools, and health care guarantees that poor and low-income adolescents arrive at young adulthood in worse health, engaging in riskier and more dangerous behaviors, and with lower educational attainment and more limited career prospects than their more affluent counterparts. Thus, the repercussions of socioeconomic status in childhood and adolescence are often felt throughout the life cycle.

Adolescence and disability

·        For people with disabilities, the transition from childhood to adulthood is complex, in part because they are often seen as being ‘childlike’. Children, particularly those with more visible disabilities, are frequently assumed to be in frail health and likely to die young.

·        Adolescents with disabilities are among the most marginalized and poorest of all of the world's youth. According to the United Nations, almost a third of the world’s disabled population is youth and over 80% live in developing countries. Like people with disabilities generally, adolescents with disabilities often experience social exclusion and discrimination and do not have the same access to human rights as their non-disabled peers.

·        Globally, it is widely acknowledged that the greatest impediment to the lives of young people with disabilities is prejudice, social isolation and discrimination. While all individuals with disability may be affected by this lifelong cycle of stigma and prejudice, females are at increased risk.

·        Disability and prejudice –

§  By far the greatest problems reported globally by experts and by individuals with disabilities are prejudice, social isolation and discrimination in society.

§   A society's attitude towards disability is shaped in part by what people believe to be the cause of disability.

§  Poverty and unemployment are also very serious concerns for many of the world's disabled adolescents and youth.


4.5 Contemporary issues in adolescence: ( impact of globalization, engagement with media, technology, and social networking)

Globalization is a process through which the diverse world is unified into a single society. Globalization has opened new opportunities for sustained economic growth and the development of the world economy. Globalization has also permitted countries to share experiences and to learn from one another’s achievements and difficulties and has promoted a cross-fertilization of ideas, cultural values and aspirations. Globalization has thus helped to connect youth not only to the rest of the world, but also with each other. Many young people, especially in developing countries, remain marginalized from the global economy and lack the capabilities to access the opportunities that globalization offers. Many are restricted by inadequate education, limited skills, unemployment and poverty or are outside the reach of basic information and communication and the goods and services that have become available with globalization.


Globalization has existed for many centuries as a process by which cultures influence one another and become more alike through trade, immigration, and the exchange of information and ideas. However, in recent decades, the degree and intensity of the connections among different cultures and different world regions have accelerated dramatically because of advances in telecommunications and a rapid increase in economic and financial interdependence worldwide.

The Psychological Consequences of Globalization

The central psychological consequence of globalization is that it results in transformations in identity, that is, in how people think about themselves in relation to the social environment. Four aspects of identity stand out as issues related to globalization. First, as a consequence of globalization, most people in the world now develop a bicultural identity, in which part of their identity is rooted in their local culture while another part stems from an awareness of their relation to the global culture. Second, the pervasiveness of identity confusion may be increasing among young people in non-Western cultures. As local cultures change in response to globalization, some young people find themselves at home in neither the local culture nor the global culture. Third, in every society there are people who choose to form self-selected cultures with like-minded persons who wish to have an identity that is untainted by the global culture and its values. Fourth, identity explorations in love and work are increasingly stretching beyond the adolescent years (roughly from ages 10 to 18 years) into a post adolescent period of emerging adulthood (roughly from ages 18 to 25 years).

§  Bicultural Identities- Several of the most prominent writers on globalization have argued that many children and adolescents now grow up with a global consciousness. The concept of bicultural identities has been discussed in relation to the identities developed by immigrants and members of ethnic minority groups but it can also be applied to globalization. What it means in this context is that in addition to their local identity, young people develop a global identity that gives them a sense of belonging to a worldwide culture and includes an awareness of the events, practices, styles, and information that are part of the global culture. Their global identity allows them to communicate with people from diverse places when they travel from home, when others travel to where they live, and when they communicate with people in other places through media technology (such as e-mail). Alongside their global identity, people continue to develop a local identity as well, one based on the local circumstances, local environment, and local traditions of the place where they grew up. This is the identity they are likely to use most in their daily interactions with family, friends, and community members. An example of retaining a local identity even as a global identity is developed can be found among young people in India. India has a growing, vigorous high-tech economic sector, led largely by young people. However, even the better educated young people, who have become full-fledged members of the global economy, still mostly prefer to have an arranged marriage, in accordance with Indian tradition. They also generally expect to care for their parents in old age, again in accordance with Indian tradition. Thus, they have one identity for participating in the global economy and succeeding in the fast-paced world of high technology, and another identity, rooted in Indian tradition, that they maintain with respect to their families and their personal lives.

§  Self-Selected Cultures -The values of the global culture are based on individualism, free market economics, and democracy and include freedom of choice, individual rights, openness to change, and tolerance of differences. These values dominate the global culture in part because they are the values that prevail in the countries that provide the driving energy behind globalization (i.e., the West, especially the United States). Also, because the global culture crosses so many cultural and national boundaries, in order to unify people across these boundaries the values of the global culture necessarily emphasize tolerating and even celebrating differences. This means that the values of the global culture are defined in part by what they are not: They are not dogmatic; they are not exclusionary; they do not condone suppression of people or groups who have a point of view or a way of life that is different from that of the majority.


Today we are living in a revolutionary world and within seconds, several bombardments of new inventions are happening around the globe, media technology being one of them. Media technology has changed our lives giving us the freedom to perform activities from the comfort of our homes.

Media today has a huge influence on teenagers. Be it television, computers, video games, social networking sites – it hugely impacts all aspects of their  lives.


·         Education and Entertainment-Television has its good side. It helps develop awareness. Television is a source of entertainment and education and opens up new worlds for teenagers, giving them a chance to travel the globe, learn about different cultures, and gain exposure to ideas they may never encounter in their own community. TV shows and programs with pro social messages have a positive effect on teenager’s behavior. The programs with positive role models influence teenagers to make positive lifestyle choices. 

For example:- Help Develop Social Skills: Many teens are socially awkward. Media gives them the chance to groom their social skills. It also gives them the chance to expand their social circle and develop new friendships.


 It has negative points too:

·         Obesity among teenagers-Obesity is a big issue in teenagers. Teenagers who watch too much TV are more likely to be inactive and tend to snack while watching TV. They often spend most of the time in front of the TV on weekends, holidays and evenings instead of sports and healthy activities. Many TV ads also encourage unhealthy eating habits like fast foods, sugary drinks, snacks, candies and etc. The food and beverage industry targets children with their television marketing through commercial and product placement.

·         Affects reading habits-Teenagers who are heavy television viewers dislike reading and tend to read materials of lower quality. Moreover, teenagers who spend more time with television and other screen media report lower grades and lower levels of personal contentment. In general, mostly heavy TV viewers get poor grades (mostly C’s or lower) compared to moderate and light TV viewers. Teenagers spend most of their time in front of their TV rather than study in the library.


·         Sleep problems among teenagers-Regular sleep schedules are an important part of a healthy life.  Teenagers who spend most of the time in front of TV have more irregular sleep schedules. Teens who watches TV late night and do not have enough sleep per day have high risk of sleep problems by early adulthood.

·        Cause Injuries-Different studies have proven that TV has strong effects on teenagers. Teenagers who watch too much TV sometimes try to mimic unsafe behavior on TV. Teens have been injured trying to repeat dangerous stunts they have seen on television shows.  

·        Promote alcohol and smoking-The alcoholic drinks are the most common beverage portrayed on TV and they are almost never shown in a negative light. TV ads are a major factor in normalizing alcoholic drinks and tobacco use in the minds of teenagers. Alcohol and smoking ads portray people as being happier, sexier, and more successful when they drink or smoke.

·        Promote Violence -Television has a powerful influence in developing value systems and shaping behavior.  Unfortunately, much of today's television programming is violent.  Teenagers who watch too much violence and horror become:

o   "immune" or numb to the horror of violence 

o   gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems 

o   imitate the violence they observe on TV

·         Promote Sexuality-The average American teenager watches two to three hours of television a day. Sexuality is often presented on TV as a casual activity without risk or consequences and the messages from these content let the young viewers absorb and promote sexual activity. 

Therefore, teen sex, teen pregnancy, rape in teen, teen victim of violence, crime and murder is getting common these days.


Adolescents, old enough to master the technologies and young enough to welcome their novelty, are at the forefront of this “digital revolution”. The Internet, iPads, cell phones, Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other modern marvels unleash a virtual gusher of information to the plugged in teen brain. Today’s evolving technologies are also beneficial for person with disabilities.

There are many different types of technology that are used in special education classrooms, from devices to address specific disabilities to standard devices that can be used in modified ways. Many of the following pieces of technology are also being used in mainstream classrooms with similar positive results for students of all kinds of abilities.

·         Smart boardTeachers can use these modernized versions of overhead projectors to help engage students while providing them visual tools that might help keep them on track during classroom discussions. Students with visual disabilities can also benefit from the enlarged classroom board.

·         iPads – When many people think of technology in the classroom the iPad is usually what comes to mind because of its lower comparative cost, diverse capabilities, and ease of use.


·        Too much use of these things can affect the child’s eyesight.

·        Child becomes used to of such things.

·        Child may lack in physical activities.


Social networking

Using social media Web sites is among the most common activity of today's children and adolescents. Any Web site that allows social interaction is considered a social media site, including social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs. Such sites offer today's youth a portal for entertainment and communication and have grown exponentially in recent years.

·         digital media literacy: exploring and experimenting on social networking sites helps your child build knowledge and skills

·         improved learning outcomes: schools often use educational social networking sites to encourage collaboration and sharing

·         creativity: your child can get creative with profile pages, posts, photo and video uploads and so on

·         civic and political engagement: your child can get information about current affairs, explore values and ideas and take action on issues

·         Mental health and wellbeing: a sense of connection and belonging is good for your child’s self-esteem – and your child might be able to get help with things that are worrying her by using social networking.

Children with special needs can express themselves, including their thoughts and feelings, more easily and without fear of the rejection they may experience in real life. This experience may carry over into real life and give them the courage and skills to make and maintain friendships in daily life.


Using social media becomes a risk to adolescents more often than most adults realize. Most risks fall into the following categories: peer-to-peer; inappropriate content; lack of understanding of online privacy issues; and outside influences of third-party advertising groups.

·         Cyberbullying and Online Harassment-Cyberbullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about another person. It is the most common online risk for all teens and is a peer-to-peer risk. Although “online harassment” is often used interchangeably with the term “cyberbullying,” it is actually a different entity. Current data suggest that online harassment is not as common as offline harassment, and participation in social networking sites does not put most children at risk of online harassment. On the other hand, cyberbullying is quite common, can occur to any young person online, and can cause profound psychosocial outcomes including depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and, tragically, suicide.

·         Sexting- Sexting can be defined as “sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or images via cell phone, computer, or other digital devices.”Many of these images become distributed rapidly via cell phones or the Internet. This phenomenon does occur among the teen population; a recent survey revealed that 20% of teens have sent or posted nude or seminude photographs or videos of themselves. Some teens who have engaged in sexting have been threatened or charged with felony child pornography charges, although some states have started characterizing such behaviors as juvenile-law misdemeanors. Additional consequences include school suspension for perpetrators and emotional distress with accompanying mental health conditions for victims. In many circumstances, however, the sexting incident is not shared beyond a small peer group or a couple and is not found to be distressing at all.

·         Facebook Depression-Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called “Facebook depression,” defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. Acceptance by and contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents. As with offline depression, preadolescents and adolescents who suffer from Facebook depression are at risk for social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for “help” that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors.