From neurons to brain wiring, Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family gives an easy-to-understand tour of children’s and teens’ brain development and the impact of experience on the “wiring’ of their brains.
The National Institute on Media and Family says:
It is widely accepted that young children’s brains are extremely malleable. One look at a two year old shows us that early childhood is a time of incredible developmental change. However, new brain science is shedding light onto our understanding of how children’s brains grow and develop over time. Contrary to long-standing belief, the adolescent brain is not a finished product. In fact, it is in the midst of a period of dynamic growth. And during this important developmental stage, an adolescent brain can be very powerfully affected by the experiences they have.
Neuroscientists agree: when the brain is in the midst of major rewiring, it is extremely susceptible to outside influences. In other words, the experiences our kids have when their brains are developing have a profound impact on the mental map they will use as adults. This research not only explains a lot about the baffling behavior of teenagers but also reminds us that media are powerful forces in the lives of kids of all ages.
In other words, if we believe that Sesame Street is teaching our four-year-olds something then we better believe that Grand Theft Auto is teaching our fourteen-year-olds something.