At TDSU we focus on tweens because their highly plastic brains make them uniquely primed to learn the skills they need to be safe, responsible, and eventually independent online.
What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt and change in response to experiences.
The adolescent brain is highly plastic, meaning that during this period, the brain grows and develops new pathways at a rate second only to the first five years of life.
With hundreds of millions of new neural connections being made, adolescence provides a window of opportunity for learning, particularly in terms of social skills and executive functioning.
What does neuroplasticity of the adolescent brain have to do with what tweens are doing online?
The very things the adolescent brain is most primed to learn – how to competently and appropriately interact in a social context (social skills); and control of thought, action, and emotion (executive functioning) – are the foundation of the skills and habits they need to be safe, responsible, and eventually independent online.
For example, tweens are starting to develop the ability to anticipate consequences and how their actions might impact others. This enables them to learn how to identify and if necessary disengage from what TDSU calls Problematic Posts.
Tweens are also starting to develop the ability to delay gratification, making it easier for them to learn skills like Pausing Before Posting.
How does the TDSU approach harness the neuroplasticity of the adolescent brain to prepare tweens for an online life that doesn’t require constant oversight?
The TDSU approach helps parents to create safe and supportive online experiences with their tweens. It is through novel and challenging experiences that the adolescent brain builds new neural connections, which is how deep learning happens.
TDSU’s engaging and developmentally appropriate activities, tips, and conversation starters are designed to capitalize on the highly plastic adolescent brain, preparing tweens to be safe, responsible, and eventually independent online.
Don’t just follow your kids on social media. Lead them.