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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Are we raising the Dumbest Generation?



Writer Beth Harpaz asks: Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? The tough love from a mom of two tweenage boys is appalled by a visiting 12 year old who looks dumbly at an ice cube tray and it makes her ponder:

Second-graders who can't tie shoes or zip jackets. Four-year-olds in Pull-Ups diapers. Five-year-olds in strollers. Teens and preteens befuddled by can openers and ice-cube trays. College kids who've never done laundry, taken a bus alone or addressed an envelope.

Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? And do we have only ourselves to blame? Or are some of these things simply the result of kids growing up with push-button technology in an era when mechanical devices are gradually being replaced by electronics?

Between helicopter parents who put kneedpads on their crawlers and won't let their 12 year old walk a block to a friend's house, to the baby-industrial complex that sells us every product we never knew we needed, we have raised our kids in egg cartons, so maybe this isn't just another "kids these days" rant from a crank. But still, think about how smart this generation is about their computers and cell phones and technology that leaves their parents looking as dumb as that kid with the ice cube tray.

I interviewed Harpaz last March when she was taking the opposite tack, marveling at the sophistication of this generation in her very funny book 13 is the New 18. So how can this crop of kids be so brilliantly incompetent? Maybe, she posits, this is simply the last gasp of the analog era as we move once and for all to the digital age. In 10 years, there won't be any ice cube trays; every fridge will have push-button ice.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 7:05am]


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