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The two reasons our kids are growing up slower

Australian psychologists are backing a US study that has found children are growing up slower.

The research, led by Professor Jean Twenge, shows teenagers are taking longer in life to:

  • date;
  • work;
  • drive;
  • leave the house without their parents; and,
  • have sex.

Clinical psychologist Dr Judith Locke told Ross and John the internet and protective parents are the biggest contributors.

“I think most adults now when growing up, they had to go outside the home to get their kicks and meet their friends,” she said.

“Now there’s a lot more available in the four walls of your bedroom.”

And while the internet might be exposing children to more adult content than ever, “they’re not growing up in a way they can handle the things they’re talking about”.

“There’s not so much a knowledge available on the internet as much as opinion.”

Ross: And games.

Dr Locke said the age of instant gratification was eroding self-regulation.

“(Children need to learn to) stop current pleasure for future gain,” she said.

“So don’t eat the chocolate bar, go for the run – that sort of thing.”