Does giving more information to teens really reduce risky behaviour?

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Offline thedoc

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Kevin Lucas  asked the Naked Scientists:
I was just listening to the episode "tricks of the mind". I'm only 2 years late, but better late than never.

I wanted to ask about the item discussed (at 22 minutes) where you discussed a study about risk taking behaviour in teenagers. The study compared behaviour of teens compared to adults when different amounts of info about the odds of the outcome was provided.

As I understand, the adults' behaviour became more cautious as the information available was reduced, while the teenage behaviour was unchanged. Your guest went on to conclude that providing better information to teens would result in less risky behaviour. It seems to me that the study suggests exactly the opposite (as does life in my opinion, having been a teenager myself once), that providing more information will have little effect on behaviour of teens. I doubt very much that any teen today does not understand the mechanisms of pregnancy, for example.

My comments are probably not worth much coming about 2 years after the discussion, but I had been meaning to tell you anyway that I really enjoy the show, and I was struggling to get over this teen behaviour thing, so I thought I'd write in.  

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 04/12/2014 21:30:01 by _system »


Offline CliffordK

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Human sexuality and health education has been a hot topic for decades.

On one hand, one might think that more knowledge would increase the acceptance of things such as premarital sex.  However, If they are going to do it anyway, then one might as well give them the necessary information about avoiding pregnancy and disease.  Some may ignore the info, but it may be a life saver for many.