I read a recent article in Philadelphia Magazine (Dec.) that brought up some interesting points regarding the kids of today. Basically blamed Facebook, Twitter, Ipods, etc, for creating a generation of idiots. While I agree that there are kids (and adults) who are addicted to their Facebook, Droids or Iphones or whatever else might be cool by the time I finish this sentence, I also disagree with a lot that the writer said.
Mainly, kids ain't stupid.
First of all, don't blame them. We've armed them with these devices, and we all use them as much if not more than they do. While driving to work the other day I saw a Dad pushing his baby in a stroller, texting. Later, as I stood outside of my sons' school to pick him up, I noticed the five other parents/guardians/whoevers around me all staring at their phones, either texting, waiting for a text, or waiting for something amazing to happen. And yes, I did have my own phone in hand, which I immediately put away, felt a bit silly. Maybe a better subject for the article would've been PEOPLE are Getting Stupider.
So it's not all the kids. It's like that old anti-drug commercial where the kid is being grilled by his dad after dad finds his pot stash, and the kid shoots back "I learned it from watching you!"
The writer also worries that her child doesn't know the days of the week. My immediate reaction is that her kid is indeed, dumb. I couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic of not, but hell, there's songs about the damn days of the week that pretty much tell you the damn days of the week, it goes like this - Sunday, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday Friday, Saturday...." so if her towhead doesn't know them yet, blame the damn school or the teachers. Or maybe the kid should take his head out of his own ass.
The main point that I do agree with the article is cyber bullying. It is easier to cut somebody down, especially if they're not face-to-face. But bullies will always be around, no matter if they're hiding under the bleachers or behind the keyboard. How do we stop it? I don't know that we can and that's scary as hell for the kids today. And as much anti-bullying speeches the teachers give, humans are humans, and there will always be a pile of assholes ready to bully the weak. That goes for adults, too, though, not just teens. For all us nice folks out in the world, there are way too many assbags.
The writer goes on to bring up a mom that was on Facebook, playing Farmville, and her child woke up crying, so the mom shook the kid to death. Blame Faceville all you want, that kid was a goner with or without it. This mom was akin to a ticking time bomb. Mom coulda been scrapbooking or doing laundry or driving or anything else and went off on the poor kid. Condoms or some other birth control should be mandatory until some parents pass some type of test or physical (of the mind - maybe a mental physical!). "Oh, you're actually crazy? Sorry dude, you still gotta bag it." Point is, don't blame some website - instead blame the person who should've put the kid up for adoption.
Today though, some of the technology is simply necessary. Personally, I like the fact that I can call my kid or he can get in touch with me if he needs to or there's some shit going down. I see some of these kids, scanning through their phones or IPads (like Tom Cruise in Minority Report), dumbfounded at the speed and dexterity they can do this. And these kids are stupid? Hell, they're light years ahead.
I think it comes down to adults pointing the finger and saying that kids are dumber than they were. It happened to them, and it happened to their parents, and so on. And the kids that are texting right now at a million characters a second will go on to say the next generation is dumb and don't know the days of the week. But Facebook and Blackberrys are an easy target.
Back in the 80s, we had our own distractions. Not as many, but we still got distracted plenty. Atari, then Nintendo, etc, we're the same. Sure there's more stuff nowadays, but it's not all that different. And the kids that are going to be idiots in 2011 would have been idiots in 1981 or 1951. Can't get around being stupid, the technology (or lack of) that you're wielding doesn't change that.