Monday, May 18, 2009

The Dumbest Generation

Recently, I posted some thoughts on inner conflicts I deal with regarding our overdependence on technology.

From the website:

"The dawn of the digital age once aroused our hopes: the Internet, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and ultra-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children. The terms “information superhighway” and “knowledge economy” entered the lexicon, and we assumed that teens would use their know-how and understanding of technology to form the vanguard of this new, hyper-informed era.

That was the promise. But the enlightenment didn’t happen.

The technology that was supposed to make young adults more astute, diversify their tastes, and improve their minds had the opposite effect.

According to recent reports from government agencies, foundations, survey firms, and scholarly institutions, most young people in the United States neither read literature (or fully know how), work reliably (just ask employers), visit cultural institutions (of any sort), nor vote (most can’t even understand a simple ballot). They cannot explain basic scientific methods, recount foundations of American history, or name any of their local political representatives. What do they happen to excel at is – each other. They spend unbelievable amounts of time electronically passing stories, pictures, tunes, and texts back and forth, savoring the thrill of peer attention and dwelling in a world of puerile banter and coarse images."

A few days ago, I posted a Twitter and Facebook update stating that I was "pondering the decline of intellectual curiosity in Western Civilization."
That day, I was thinking about how many issues we face in society could be related to that topic.
Appropriately enough, a friend of mine actually replied to this by saying, " are seriously too deep. Are you a half empty or half full fella? Have faith in your fellow man:-)"

A few other replies were as follows:
- "you're wasting your time man, westerners are too indifferent..."
- "
We're much better off when society watches the boob tube 5+ hours a day, don't you think?"
- "
really? Why? Oh who cares anyway..."

For the last one, I really liked the ignorance and apathy reference.
A lot more on this subject is bouncing around inside my head, but it probably won't come out coherently and I'm out of time for blogging today...


rob horton said...

hmm...relationship is centric in my thought - so maybe things aren't going into the toilet as much as some may think :)

Melissa said...

Not exactly the same line of thinking but I thought of your post when I read it

Joan said...

Ben, We rid ourselves of TV when Jesse, Jamie, and Jacob were 11, 10, and 2. Was it difficult at first? Absolutely--initially we'd sit and just stare at the screen--no joke, but it was only a couple of months until we were over it. Jesse and Jamie, now grown, have thanked me repeatedly for keeping TV out of their lives. So, what's taken its place? Admittedly, more technology, to a degree, but it's technology that we control (somewhat) in that we control what/when/how we interact, as opposed to sitting there soaking up whatever is on the screen.

I think we still spend too much time with technology and are too dependent on it--all forms. Maybe a massive EMP event (as described by one of my severely-alarmist friends) could be a blessing to us after the initial shock?

I could detail the consequences of technology related to my students' listening/thinking/reading/writing skills, but that's a book I haven't written yet :)

Take care, Ben, of yourself, Allison, and Isabella (I marked a couple of my favorite pics of her) It's really good to "see you" (which I couldn't have done w/o technology). It's a treat to have dinner with our dads and the rest of the "gang" once a month. The stories are great! Stay in touch and let me know how things are going, and if there's anything I can pray about for you and your family...Joan