Risk-Taking – Aakanksh

Teenagers are characterized by risk-taking behaviors that can sometimes lead to death. Some of these risk-taking behaviors are substance abuse, reckless driving, extreme sports and hooliganism. Teenagers know the dangers of risk-taking behavior. However, some of them continue to do so anyway.

It is my habit to observe the emotions and behavior of my schoolmates. This often serves to guide my own behavior. In my previous school, I particularly tried to stay away from a certain group of older kids. This group of teenagers spent their lunchtime talking dirty and breaking the rules deliberately. Once I heard a rumor that one of them had jumped over the school fence and jumped back in. They had got in trouble for it. They were infamous for doing many pranks, some of which went wrong and injured them or others. Some of my classmates looked up to them. I maintained my distance from these classmates.

Uncle Ben of the Spider-Man comics always says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” He may just be a comic book character, but this has influenced me greatly.

Teens who take too many risks may harm themselves as well as others who are not even involved. I am surrounded by teenagers. That is the reason this issue is relevant to me. In the past, some of my classmates did bad things which got the entire class in trouble as well.

This is a worldwide phenomenon. As the World Health Organization has mentioned in its 2014 report on Health for the World’s Adolescents, “An estimated 1.3 million adolescents died in 2012, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. Road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death in 2012, with some 330 adolescents dying every day. Other main causes of adolescent deaths include HIV, suicide, lower respiratory infections and interpersonal violence.” This information surprised me. Hence, I looked for more information. I found that this risk-taking behavior is because “many adolescents feel superior and invincible at some point in their teenage life. They have this superhero mentality where they think they cannot bleed and get injuries from impulsive activities… These risk-taking behaviors may be due to immaturity of that part of the brain that controls such kind of behavior.” As you can see in the picture below, teens like to take risks such as substance abuse where they drink or do drugs, or smoke.

Some degree of risk-taking may be fine. However, excessive risk-taking may affect not only the teenagers who take these risks but also their family members and friends due to lawbreaking, injuries or even deaths. Teenagers who love their family members and friends should be more responsible. This responsible behavior would come from:

(1) Developing our capacity to recognize our own and other people’s emotions and to use the emotional information to guide our thinking and behavior. This is called emotional intelligence.

(2) “Surround ourselves with people we like, who like us, and who like doing things” that are right. This is called avoidance of peer pressure.

The influence that my parents and my elder brother have had on me, make me believe that excessive risk-taking is not good for anyone. However, that does not mean that I need to stop myself from taking any risks, of course. Some degree of risk-taking is essential not only for succeeding in life (e.g., equity investments) but also for our survival (e.g., learning to swim.)

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