Celebrate International Youth Day
Since August 12, 1999, the United Nations has been inspiring the world to celebrate International Youth Day. By choosing a different theme each year, they hope to guide young people into understanding how much of an impact they can have on national and multilateral institutions, as well as policy and processes on multiple levels. The theme for this year is, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, with the goal of highlighting ways to engage young people at the local, national, and global levels.
Today, people under twenty-five make up about 40% of the global population. But 16% of that young population is between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. That’s 1.2 billion young people coming of age and becoming part of the global decision-making spectrum.
As our global landscape continues to change, it’s important to build the capacity in our youth to allow more informed decision making. We can do this by promoting education and supporting evidence-based thinking. And the best way to accomplish this is by encouraging brain health and to spark a love of learning.
Here are three reasons to inspire brain health and learning in today’s youth.
Reduced anxiety and depression
New research indicates that engaging in consistent brain training reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even better, these lowered levels continued to strengthen after the study was complete. We already know that brain training can increase cognitive functions such as working memory and increased focus, but now we know that these exercises can improve emotional functionality too.
Increased neuroplasticity throughout life
We know that brain training at any stage of life increases our brain’s ability to form new neural pathways and connections, keeping our thinking flexible and fluid while maintaining cognitive functionality later in life. But there’s growing research to show the earlier we begin, the more adaptable their brain becomes. This means skills such as reading, problem-solving, working memory, focus, attention, and cognitive flexibility continue to improve as they age. By encouraging brain training in our youth, we are giving them lifelong cognitive advantages.
Technology is the future
The most important reason we should encourage our kids to embrace brain training is to prepare them for a fast-paced, ever-changing future. Technology develops at an exponential pace. The technological innovations of today will be obsolete tomorrow. But we can use these advances to their advantage by incorporating play and learning. Many video games are not just fun to play, they offer cognitive functionality as they challenge memory, reflex response times, and attention spans. By incorporating learning into play, kids learn faster. It also encourages imagination, a skill that leads to innovation and discovery if fostered into adulthood.
Young people make up over a third of the world’s population, making International Youth Day a powerful day to embrace and celebrate. Youth holds incredible potential. By encouraging our younger generation to embrace brain training, they will develop cognitive skills to help them adapt and learn faster. These skills will translate to lifelong learning capacity, benefitting the future of the entire global population.