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The Dumbest Generation

It is mentioned in “Knowledge Deficits”, in Digital Nation and in several online chat sites and websites that our generation is believed to be growing dumber. They credit this supposed decrease of intellect to the growing age of Technology, saying it cuts us off from the world around us and makes us unable to focus on anything other than our own lives. Under these accusations it’s clear that the older generations will never fully understand our own. Technology is not a lifeline for our generation; we use it and excel at it, but we do not depend on it as we are said to. It does not diminish our intellect.
When they do a short segment about game addicted kids in Digital Nation, they make us all seem like we’re hopelessly lost in technology. This is not completely true. For though we use it in our everyday life, we do exist separate from it. In “Knowledge Deficits” when Bauerlein tries to prove we are cut off from the world we live in, it is specifically mentioned that our own little bubbles include ‘friends, work, and clothes’. None of these things are technology, and besides, they are not the only non-technological things in our life. ‘Does a computer make us bad writers?’ says a writer called ‘The Southerner’ in his blog. ‘In most K-12 classrooms, technology has not been integrated into educational practice in meaningful way,’ says the sanbenito website. And saying that technology is not even used for learning in schools is true. We all go to school, it’s a part of our every day lives, but we usually don’t use excess amounts of technology until afterwards. In fact, during a normal school week the electronics come second to school and other activities we may partake in throughout our daily lives. Even though we might carry with us our phones or i-pods, as shown in the scenes in Digital Nation, it is only when we find the time that we actually use them. In this way electronics are our luxuries not our priority.
According to online chats by concerned parents and websites like www.independent.ie , we are believed to be increasingly dependent on technology.’It's becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.’ This is what is thought of us, and in some ways this is true; but all these items listed are mechanical items already. We cannot replace them with technology because that’s exactly what they already are. We do not replace non-electronics with electronics. We do not walk the dog through a computer, we do not cook dinner with a robotical arm, and we have never given a child an electronic mother. Technology is not a replacement for life, not a very good one at least. ‘Adults look down on our generation, saying we turned out bad when they're the ones that raised us,’ says one commenter on yahoo, and they have a point. Our parents and teachers taught us everything we now know, why should they think we know nothing? They accuse us of living through our computers, i-pods and phones, and they constantly berate us for not going outdoors or living outside of testing and e-mailing. If any of us are like that, we are not like that because our entire generation is. We are like that because it is what the adults in our lives taught us to be like.
Not unlike when Bauerlein tries to prove we have been cut off from the world he also makes fun of us for a few teenagers’ inability to answer simple questions on a talk show. ‘Think of how many things you must do in order not to know the year 1776 or the British Prime Minister or the Fifth Amendment,’ is what he said when referring to a couple of teenagers’ answers to question in a TV show. This is unfair to all teens who work extremely hard to better ourselves in school and life. ‘Like clockwork, another story comes out that paints today's teenagers in the worst possible light;’ says a writer on sparknotes.com, rebuking the common assumption that we all do stupid things just because a very few teens actually do; ‘what with their hysterical late-breaking reaction to every high school-related scandal or social trend to emerge over the past ten years.’ Why should we be judged for the few who answer and act dumbly? “Knowledge Deficits” even mentions this unjust judging: ‘No doubt The Tonight Show edits the footage and keeps the most humiliating footage’, but then the author later uses this information against us anyway, saying that it doesn’t matter just because a couple surveys said so. Who were they surveying I wonder, the kids or the adults? They say that even college students don’t try for the grade and have better stuff to do. This is a stereotype; the results of a couple of students can never speak for all. ‘It always bothers me when people just lump a big group of people together and assume they have something bad in common,’ says a writer on momaroo.com, ‘While the media likes to describe us as kids that like to slide our way through high school with a C average, doing the minimum, a lot of us aren't like that.’ Some may slack off but others work themselves to their limit every day. We deserve to be recognized too.
Thus our generation does not live off electronics and the Technological age. We use it, yes; but we don’t feed off of it. We are no less smart because we talk on our cell phones, no less likely to succeed on a test because we listened to music this morning and no less likely to remember our lesson because we just happen to check our email. We may not be understood by the older generations because we have grown up among these things but we are no different from them. Give us the same task and training as someone of a different generation and we will complete it the same. Just because we are different doesn’t mean we are dumber.





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