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.
67
views

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

Popular Right Now

Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Technology -- we all love it and we all use it, but how is it affecting us?
80359
views

In this day and age, it is near impossible to do anything without the use of technology. You can pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and even chat with a customer service representative all with the use of your smartphone.

Is the use of technology starting to take away from our person-to-person interaction? Think about how often you grab your smartphone or tablet and text your friends instead of picking up the phone to call them or, better yet, making plans to hang out in person.

Technology is supposed to make us feel more connected by allowing us to stay in touch with our friends by using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and of course, texting. But are our smartphones getting in the way of socializing? Does technology make us feel more alone?

There is a term that is commonly used, "FOMO" –– short for "fear of missing out." Yes, this is a real thing. If for some crazy reason you don't check your Twitter or Facebook news feed every 10 minutes are you really missing out?

The fact that we have become so dependent on knowing exactly what is going on in other people's lives is sad. We should be focusing on our own lives and our own interactions and relationships with people.

Technology is making us more alone because instead of interacting with our friends in person, we are dependent on using our phones or tablets. We start to compare ourselves and our lives to others because of how many likes we get on our Instagram photos.

We are forgetting how to use our basic communication skills because we aren't interacting with each other, anymore. We are too busy with our noses in our phones. Young kids are dependent on a tablet to keep them entertained rather than playing with toys. That is not how I want my children to grow up.

As a society, we will start to become very lonely people if we don't start making changes. We are ruining personal relationships because of the addiction to our smartphones and checking our social media sites every five minutes.

It's time for us to own our mistakes and start to change. Next time you reach for your phone, stop yourself. When you are with your friends, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you.

Technology is a great thing, but it is also going to be the thing that tears us apart as a society if we don't make changes on how dependent we are on it.

Cover Image Credit: NewsOK

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Technology Is Dictating Our Lives, And It's Time To Stop Letting It

Technology has slowly been taking over how our lives run.

25
views

Something that really has been on my mind lately is how people who are way older than me, probably like my grandparents and those before them, grew up and how they approached everyday life. I don't really know if anyone else can relate, but how did they grow up without technology or the use of smartphones every day? How would they have a regular conversation with people over the phone?

I will use my grandparents, for example. Not too long ago, I went to visit them in the Dominican Republic and it amazed me how they are so intelligent for their own time. The technology over there is not very advanced but they still have enough to understand and function every day. My grandfather builds and fixes gas stoves as a little side hobby since they don't use a lot of electric stoves. They rely more on gas for everything over there. My grandmother, on the other hand, works for the parish of the community.

Every time I go over there it amazes me how they can function and interact with other people without having to rely on technology. Often, I think of the movies that were based in the 80's like "Dirty Dancing" and how there is not much technology present in the movie. I'm going this route because of how relationships are currently being brought up. We often meet individuals through social media most of the time, and there is nothing wrong with meeting people over the internet, but I believe after taking the first step a relationship should be built in person, not through a blue screen. Doing this causes a lot of misinterpretation and potentially builds an image of an individual the wrong way.

I often think about how relationships for people my age begin. Most of my friends all meet and we all have the same mutual preferences for certain activities which is why we all bonded. But mostly everyone meets over social media and never meet in person. So, every time we are at events we see the individual whom we are friends with on social media but never really acknowledge the person when seeing them in the flesh.

It's kind of weird how we have let our phones and our social media outlets dictate and control the way we make relationships. I say that because not too long ago, the only way people would talk to each other was through the phone or letters. I wonder what times would be like if we still communicated that way and if most of the problems we face in relationships like jealousy would even exist. If girls and boys would still compare themselves to each other as often as we do. What if insecurity was not such a big factor in people's lives? This is one of the many ways social media and technology have influenced us all.

Something I been trying to do lately is enjoying my time away from my phone and trying and do things that don't involve using my technological devices. It's been very difficult, but I've found it to be something very refreshing and something that people should try and practice for at least 15 minutes every day.

Related Content

Facebook Comments