Adolescence is a fundamental period for the development of the brain. When we disengage from young people and “entrust” them exclusively to traditional education and new technologies, are we aware of our actions?

It is not easy to deal with children. Many times, the tritest way is to throw them in front of the screens, so that the videogame on duty saves us from attending them in their multiple and exhausting expectations. It is not bad that their brains are technologically trained, because, after all, the professions at future will be in that field. But, that training must be compatible with other activities. Experts believe that if you “abandon” your children and transfer your responsibility to a cellphone, it will be difficult for the child to return to you tomorrow.

The influence of new technologies is only part of the matter because there are also family, social and even biological factors that affect development in the youngest. The “Libro blanco de la psiquiatría del niño y el adolescente”, published by the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation, estimates that one-fifth of teenagers under 18 suffer from a problem of emotional development or behavior and also, one in eight has a mental disorder.

There are dissimilar learning methodologies for young people to assume the great challenge of empowering themselves and preparing for a changing world. The challenge is to learn to raise awareness about social innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership. I am thinking of the great collaborative example of i-Exponential Camp, an experimental learning camp at the University of Miami, which seeks to increase the alignment of adolescents with present and future careers; create skills for friendship; think critically and solve problems; to teach to speak in public and to negotiate, as well as to work the emotional universe to form balanced people.

According to UNICEF, that time between ten and twenty years old is key to exercise the brain. At this stage, adolescents who learn to put their thoughts in order and measure their impulses can establish important neural foundations that will last throughout their lives. A genius like Walt Disney once said that “Growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional “. Growing old or growing up? Investment in yourself —and children— is the key.