There is no question that social media has a significant influence on the lives of millions of Americans, including Wisconsin residents. In fact, a study performed by the Pew Research Project found that as of January 2014, 89 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old use social networking sites on a regular basis. Young people can update their status and share pictures with a captive audience from around the world. Law enforcement agencies across the country have found that searching a suspect’s Facebook page may yield crucial information, which may be used in a juvenile crime court case.
Although teenagers are on their way to becoming responsible young adults, many of them are still in the process of learning that there can be severe consequences to some seemingly harmless acts. Experts agree that the developing teenage brain may make it hard for some adolescents to control impulsive behavior. Some believe that environmental stimuli, such as peer pressure and presence of parental guidance, also play a role in a Wisconsin teenager’s choice to commit juvenile crimes.
The teenage brain is often considered a mystery. Multiple studies prove that while the brain is continually developing throughout adolescence and into young adulthood, some areas of the brain are quicker to develop than others. Teenagers who fall victim to abuse while growing up have extended complications involving neurological development. Babies and children who are loved and nurtured tend to develop strong emotional and empathetic neurological pathways, while abused children develop a lack of empathy to help them cope with their negative surroundings. Wisconsin psychologists acknowledge that the extent of this brain damage varies depending on the type of abuse inflicted and the duration of the abuse. Abused individuals have an increased risk of committing juvenile crimes.
When it comes to sentencing children for heinous criminal acts, Wisconsin may be one of the strictest in the nation. Multiple studies show that the developing teenage brain lacks the ability to form mature, rational decisions in many situations, and may be quick to engage in aggressive behaviors. Yet, Wisconsin law mandates that children 10 years of age and older who are charged with attempted homicide or homicide be tried as an adult.
Although juvenile offenders in Wisconsin should be held responsible for their crimes, many people question the degree of punishment minors should receive. Credible studies confirm that teenagers are not always able to suppress aggressive behavior, make rational decisions, or understand the consequences of their actions. Some believe that rehabilitation and treatment should be favored over intense incarceration for juvenile crimes. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with this thought when they took away the courts’ ability to sentence juvenile offenders to life-without-parole in 2012.
Some teenagers who commit juvenile crimes are unaware that there are harsh consequences for their actions. Other Wisconsin teens may be fully cognizant that their deviant actions will result in severe penalties, yet they may lack the psychological understanding of what this entails. Evidence shows that the teenage brain is not fully developed and lacks maturity in areas that control aggression, reasoning and the ability to make practical decisions.
Many teenagers in Wisconsin engage in high-risk behaviors. There are some teens who are simply thrill-seekers looking for an adventure. Others participate in more dangerous juvenile crimes, unaware of the long-term consequences of their actions. Expert studies show that the teenage brain is still developing, especially in the areas that control aggressive behavior and make rational decisions. For a rare few, a combination of environmental and psychological factors may end in disaster.
Juvenile crimes are a sensitive subject for many Wisconsin residents. Some teenagers may commit heinous crimes and deserved to be punished. However, many believe the type of punishment inflicted on a teenager should differ from that of an adult. Multiple credible studies have found that teenage brains are still in the process of developing, and operate differently when it comes to controlling aggressive impulses and making decisions. Many teens are simply unable to foresee the consequences of their actions.
Many studies have shown that the adolescent brain is not yet fully developed and, in many cases, is unable to make rational decisions. This is especially true when teenagers are put into certain, high-stress situations. While some people believe that Wisconsin teenagers who commit juvenile crimes are a menace to society and should be locked away in prison, others believe that teens should be given a chance at rehabilitation.
Teenagers in Wisconsin and across the nation are at a vulnerable time in their lives. Not only are they learning essential societal rules and norms, but they are constantly trying to earn the respect of their peers. All of this pressure can be particularly hard for teens, as the area of the brain responsible for making rational and responsible decisions is still in the process of forming. When paired with their environment, all of these things can contribute to some teens becoming involved in juvenile crimes.