WhatsApp permissions: this is the difference in the brain at 13 and 16

April will undoubtedly be a month of changes for Meta, in particular for WhatsApp, which must adapt to the new Digital Services Law and the Digital Markets Law. One of the consequences will be that it will reduce the minimum age to access it: from 16 to 13 years. And this, which seems random, can have important consequences, mainly due to the age of brain maturation in adolescence.

Scientific evidence indicates that the brains of adults and adolescents function differently. grown ups they think with the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and awareness of long-term consequences. Adolescents, on the other hand, They process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part. There, instinctive reactions, including fear and aggressive behavior, are processed. This region develops early. However, the frontal cortex, the area of ​​the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before acting, develops later.

Obviously, it cannot be generalized: each person evolves differently and at different ages, but the average indicates certain characteristics that are fundamental. when deciding whether it is appropriate to reduce the age of using an application on social networks.

It must be taken into account that, depending on the stage of brain development, Teens are more likely to act on impulse, misinterpret social cues and emotions, suffer accidents of all kinds, get involved in fights and participate in dangerous or risky behavior. All this because the amygdala is what “rules” the brain.

At the same time, because of this, adolescents are less likely to think before acting, pause to consider the possible consequences of their actions, or modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors. But and this is the key question,How different is this behavior at 13 and 16? The key is in the prefrontal cortex. This region of the brain, which in adolescence has not yet begun to control our behavior, expands more than twice between the ages of 13 and 16.

This indicates that the difference in the brain between these ages is that at 16, adolescents They have almost twice the capacity to judge the consequences of their actions and not act on impulses other than at 13. In this way, reducing the age, even if it agrees with the law, is not an accurate measure from a neurophysiological aspect. And the consequences of this are that the brains of younger people are not prepared (or are even less prepared than at 16) for a responsibility like social networks.