Research is under way into what could be done to ease the transition to adulthood, following the recent death of an Auckland schoolboy.
James Webster, 16, a student at King's College, died after drinking a bottle of vodka at a party.
The Government's chief science advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, says young people are reaching sexual maturity earlier and face an increasingly complex social environment because of mobile phones and the internet.
He says these factors have the potential to produce behaviour such as binge drinking, drug use, unsafe sex and criminal offending.
Sir Peter says a team is reviewing all published work to get a better understanding of young people.