Hero at Age 5 (04:51)
By age 4, girls have better hand-eye coordination and communication skills than boys. Sienna Aderley called emergency services when her mother collapsed. She used logic to call from the land line, so police could trace her address, and helped paramedics enter the home.
Girls' Communication Skills (02:25)
Girls' brains may be wired differently than boys, enabling them to learn foreign languages easier. Yukine Cruz, age 7, acts as a tour guide in London for her Spanish father; she is proficient in Japanese, English, German, and sign language.
Child Body Armor (03:23)
Boys and girls are matched in physical strength until 9. Children have more body water than adults to protect them from collisions. Jaden Channel, age 5, was unhurt after being hit by a car due to his natural cushioning and flexible joints.
Early Puberty (03:32)
Growth rates increase and children become clumsy and emotional. Puberty is starting four years earlier than in the Victorian era; our brains have not yet caught up to larger limbs and stronger muscles. Girls start around age 9 and boys around age 11.
Physical Changes During Puberty (02:03)
Boys grow faster than at any point since birth. Scientists believe we develop a sweet tooth to gain enough energy for development. Both boys' and girls' voices drop.
Problem Solving Skills during Puberty (05:15)
Jamie Edwards, age 15, is the youngest person to build a working nuclear reactor. The biggest challenge was convincing his headmaster and parents of project safety. He enjoys building things and science.
Adolescent "Laziness" (03:58)
As teenagers, our brains reorganize information accumulated during childhood. Hormones cause teenagers to wake two hours later than adults. Maude Buckel suffered sleeping problems until she transferred to an experimental school starting at 11am— allowing her to thrive academically.
Dopamine Addicts (02:18)
Chaos during teenage years helps us to grow into skilled, self-reliant adults. By age 14, teenagers have sharper brains and stronger bodies, but are open to trying risky things. Computer games can actually help acquire new hand-eye coordination skills.
Teenage Socialization (04:01)
Adolescents identify with "tribes" that help them become more independent. Without thinking, Tyler Scar and Matt Chisum, age 17, risked their lives to free livestock from a burning barn.
Risk Taking (03:27)
Those who take more risks when growing up seem to become smarter. Harry Gallagher, age 17, continues his gymnastics training on the streets. He climbs London high rises at night to take long exposure photographs— an illegal and dangerous hobby.
Emotional Maturity (02:13)
Around age 18, our brains and bodies synchronize; vision, smell, and hearing senses peak. Creativity and self-confidence help us become independent and appeal to the opposite sex.
Teenage Angst (03:30)
Adolescents experience social rejection as they would a life threatening illness. Danny Bowman became obsessed with taking selfies to impress his schoolmates; online bullying caused him to attempt suicide. He has recovered and is now emotionally mature.
First Love (04:26)
Teenagers cry for others, releasing stress and strengthening social bonds. Elaine Sunshine and Alan Dorson recall the emotional intensity of falling in love and the heartbreak of being separated.
Elaine contacted Alan, age 27, years after their teenage romance; they are now married. Couples are attracted by pheromones from different gene sets to prevent inbreeding. Adolescence is a challenging physical and emotional journey.
Credits: Teenagers: Secret Life of Growing Up (00:34)
Credits: Teenagers: Secret Life of Growing Up
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