Actually, Boomers, Technology Is NOT Making Us The 'Dumbest Generation'

Actually, Boomers, Technology Is NOT Making Us The 'Dumbest Generation'

To those that argue that technology is ruining the minds of modern young people, you could not be further from the truth.

It's incredibly frustrating to constantly hear adults saying things like, "Technology is making kids stupid." Are there kids that may be better off spending less time on phones and TV? Sure, but the same could be said for adults. Modern-day youth are far from “dumb” because of technology. If anything, technology expands young people’s intellectual capacities and increases their potential to do amazing things. So, I took personal offense when I found out that critics like Mark Bauerlein, who wrote “The Dumbest Generation,” argue that “the advantages [of more technology] don’t show up in intellectual outcomes,” and the “mental equipment” of younger generations is sorely lacking.

First of all, the actual definition of the word “intelligence” depends on the context and a variety of other factors. Bauerlein seems to focus on the fact that young people know comparatively “less” than previous generations. As journalist Sharon Begley points out, Bauerlein does have a point in terms of intelligence defined as “holding the most knowledge.”

However, I dislike this idea that one person may be more intelligent than another simply because they know all 44 presidents or can name the capitals of all 196 countries. That may have been relevant when Bauerlein was younger, but my generation shouldn't need to spend effort memorizing trivial information like the aforementioned if it's a Google search away. Instead, young people are exploring their own unique brands of intelligence.

Another thing people complain about all the time is video games. From a productivity standpoint, I completely understand. Yet most critics of video games seem to be influenced by the “cliché that [video games] are about improving hand-eye coordination and firing virtual weapons." As is true of many stereotypes, these supposed traits of are only representative of a small number of video games. As science author Steven Johnson says, “the majority of video games on the best-seller list contain no more bloodshed than a game of Risk.” The most popular games challenge mental dexterity just as much as, if not more so than, they challenge manual dexterity. This, and the fact that most players choose to “feel their way” through a game rather than reading a manual or walk-through, contribute to the increasing reliance of video games on what Johnson calls “competence principle.” Video games do not make young people stupid. In fact, modern video games rely on the aforementioned competence principle in order to add depth, complexity, and value to the gaming experience. The most highly rated games are far from what anyone would call ‘simple.’

Minecraft,” for example, is a popular adventure game that initially puts a player in an outdoor environment. Its simplistic graphics belie its true nature. Players must be constantly aware of their surroundings, adaptable to sudden changes in the environment and willing to take risks and explore if they want their character to survive. More experienced players have typically learned to plan accordingly for the future, and apply real-world principles and techniques such as physics, architecture and coding to create complex environments. This is the competence principle in its purest form. Players can’t get involved or invested in a game that can be completed in less than five minutes, so video games require an increasing degree of competence and adaptive mental capacity in order for a player to be successful.

People who call out technology as idiot-inducing ignore the fact that tech is a toy and a tool. My biotechnology class at Paulding County High School is a perfect example of this. As the name of the course may suggest, student research and experiments in the class are dependent on technology. Students who take the course must understand to some degree the complex processes that their tools undergo. With this technology, students isolate genes in microscopic animals, study mutations in C. elegans, observe yeast’s effects on various saccharides and map out the genome for E. coli. Between hunting for water bears and collecting data from bird boxes, the class is definitely a blast. Students enjoy what they’re doing. With this technology, students revolutionize the world of science at their school, and develop the potential to change the lives of millions of people.

Technology isn’t dampening the intelligence of younger people; it’s enhancing them. Yes, the degree of straight up memorization is not as high as that of previous generations, but that’s only because technology has made it so that young people can spend mental effort on more important things. Yes, video games can change how a young person thinks, but more often than not, it’s for the better and with skills that are nothing but valuable. And yes, a good portion of today's youth could afford to spend less time on their phone and more time outside, but honestly? The modern young generation’s access to technology is critical if the world is ever to continue to grow and expand in new ways. Older generations tend to be uninformed about the “latest tech,” but young people are more connected and involved with technology than anyone in the past has ever seen.

We’re anything but the “dumbest generation." We’re the generation that’s going to change the world.

Cover Image Credit: Zainab Thompson

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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.

We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.

2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^

8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.

14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.


17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.

18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”

23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

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Stop Feeling Guilty About Unfollowing People Who Are No Longer In Your Life

We need to stop defining ourselves by a double tap.


The number of followers I have on my Instagram account keeps falling every day, and I couldn't be happier about it.

You're probably like, "Is she okay?" But here's the deal: I have told myself for so long that I couldn't and shouldn't unfollow people out of courtesy. But the truth of the matter is that there are plenty of people whose lives I really don't need to be keeping up with anymore. I don't see them. I don't talk to them.

So why do I need to be concerned with throwing them a double tap?

I believe in authenticity over pity. I try my best to keep my personal account pretty real. I don't need to keep seeing pictures of people who really have no impact on my life.

So that's why I like seeing my numbers go down. Because I know that the truth of the matter is that there are people whose lives I'm no longer making an impact on. They shouldn't be following me!

I'm not relevant to them anymore, so why should they feel like they need to keep tabs on me?

Yes, I'm aware that this all might seem a little harsh. But why live a life where you're wasting energy on people you know longer know or connect with? We manipulate social media to reflect the best parts of our lives.

I don't know what's REALLY going on with so many people I follow. The opposite is the same too. I'm not a huge fan of social media cleanses because I like to be in the know. So I'd rather do a purge than take a break.

I want to be in the know with people I care about and have an interest in, not with people who I think might be offended that they lost a follower.

That follower number is just that: a number. It doesn't define who you are. It doesn't reflect your best attributes. So why obsess over it?

It's not who you are and it's never who you will be.

Challenge yourself to let go. It's an exercise that will leave you with so much relief and I guarantee that you'll be proud that you took a step in being honest with yourself. That's the true test.

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