A teenager, or teen, is a person who falls within the ages of 13 to 19 years old. The word "teenager" is often associated with adolescence. However the World Health Organization considers anyone between the ages of 10 and 21 to be an adolescent, and most neurologists consider the brain still developing into the early third decade (early 20s). After the 20th birthday, ones is no longer a teenager. However, neural plasticity continues, as the brain and particularly the prefrontal cortex (PFC) develop further.
The way the word is used varies. Most societies have rites of passage to mark the change from childhood to adulthood. These ceremonies may be quite elaborate. During puberty, rapid mental and physical development occurs. Adolescence is the name for this transition period from childhood to adulthood.
In the United States, children and teens from the ages 11–14 go to middle school, while teenagers from the ages of 14–18 typically go to high school. In the United Kingdom, teenagers and children are mixed in secondary school. Teenagers attending secondary school (high school in the US) generally graduate at the age of 18.
Timing of pubertyEdit
On average, girls begin puberty at ages 10–13; boys at ages 12–15. Girls usually complete puberty by ages 16–17, while boys usually complete puberty by ages 18–19. The major landmark of puberty for females is menarche, the onset of menstruation, which occurs on average between ages 12–13; for males, it is the first ejaculation, which occurs on average between the ages of 14-15.In the 21st century, the average age at which children, especially girls, reach puberty is lower compared to the 19th century, when it was 15 for girls and 16 for boys. This can be due to improved nutrition resulting in rapid body growth, increased weight and fat deposition, or eating meat from animals which have been dosed up with estrogen.
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