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Dumbing Down: The Next Generation

HalfEatenSurprise

Registered Member
Is the next generation destined to be less knowledgable, in general, than the present?
Has there been a steady decline in general smarts over the past few years/decades? Or is this a myth?

I wonder, because I find it shocking how ignorant certain youthful persons are, in which I mean they don't know things I and many others knew at their age as though it were common knowledge. Simple facts even, that I always took as just 'known' seem not to be. Things like people in the monarchy, the year in which the Titanic sank, the fact Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character and wasn't actually a living person etc etc etc.

Geography is a particular concern too (although that might be because it's one of my favoured subjects). Yet, on asking a number of younger members of my family, and some of their friends I found that most of them couldn't even point in the correct general direction of a major city, like London, or Nottingham which is minutes away. I found this baffling? One of them wouldn't even be able to walk to the our nearest town without help, and he's 14...

Perhaps it's just the youngsters I've asked, and they don't represent the majority.
Or perhaps it's because they don't need to know such stuff, what with all places and things of knowledge being a click away on the internet, should it be needed.

I don't know. I find it a little disconcerting though, I just would have expected some of them to know the lot, or most of it put to them. Especially such knowledge that could and probably would at some stage prove useful to their very lives.
But sadly that was not the case.

What do you reckon to this? Am I the only one seeing this?
 

Crouton

Ninja
V.I.P.
I believe that there is a dumbing down in youth at the moment, and to me it's most evident in novels aimed at young people and the whole 'tween' age group.

When I was a child I grew up with books like Watership Down by Richard Adams, the Harry Potter series and the Redwall series by Brian Jaqques. Although aimed at young people, these books were extensive in their use of highly developed language. They never dumbed down anything just because they were speaking to a younger audience, they knew that they didn't need to speak down to children, because children understand more than we think.

Now though, look at the most popular books for young people. The likes of the Twilight series and The Hunger Games series are the best sellers amoung tweens and other young kids. I have personally read each Twilight book and The Hunger Games trilogy and I was actually appalled by how... simple they are. The use of the english language is appalling in those books. They are 'dumbed down' in every sense of the phrase. Where we used to have beautiful epic tales told for young people through words, we now have these simplified stories that sound like they were written by a 5 year old with a typewriter, and these are what are selling the most.

What scares me most is that there's literally thousands of young people out there who genuinely believe that things like Twilight are well-written and count as good literature. If this isn't the beginning of the dumbing down of younger generations then I don't know what is. Once they lose language skills what will be the next thing to go?
 
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BigBob

Registered Member
In America, I can tell from experience that it has a lot to do with what state you live in. I lived in Florida from 3rd grade to 9th grade. What I learned in 9th grade in Florida is what they learned in 5th/6th grade in Pennsylvania. So depending on where you ask is going to depend on what answers you get. It's disgusting the difference in education between one state to another.

I do believe that in 20-years, people are going to be close to complete morons compared to today. There's some people who don't bother learning or paying attention in school.. why? There's an app for whatever they're going to learn anyways, so they'll learn it when they need it.
 

wooly

I am the woolrus
While i would agree with Crouton that i think there is a certain dumbing down in terms of media aimed at youngsters today, i don't know if it's fair to say that the current generation, or the next generation are dumbed down and less knowledgeable than previous ones.

While there may be large amounts of ignorance among the youth of today, particularly in certain regions or sub-cultures, i also think that the current generation of youngsters are far more empowered and knowledgeable than previous generations in many other ways. Because of how connected the world is today, there are many cohorts of young people who are extremely knowledgeable and involved in what's happening in the world, much more than was even possible in previous generations.

Young people also have more of a voice in today's world. I mean, facebook and twitter are the first places the media goes to now when reporting on trends and news items that are causing a sensation, generally websites where young people are the majority. In these areas, young people's opinions are just as valid as anyone else's, and many young people are extremely informed and connected with what's going on in the world.

Though mainstream media may be rotting the brains of many youngsters in modern society, those who don't get caught in this net have more of an opportunity to be know what's happening in world and much more of an opportunity to get involved than previous generations.
 

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
Maybe people are getting dumber but part of it may be the type of literature they are reading and the way it is written. Then all they do when they aren't in school is text each other or sit in front of a computer reading blogs, facebook, never something informative. More concerned about friending someone than learning anything new.

This subject reminds me of this movie I saw "Idiocracy" where this idiot man and woman was frozen then unthawed in the future. Everyone had dumbed down so much he was the worlds smartest man, funny.
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
I get the feeling that people aren't becoming less intelligent - we just hear about it more. If your friends in the UK don't know vaguely where London is, I wouldn't have ever heard of it a few years ago without the internet.

Also, I'm pretty sure I've heard that multiple studies indicate people as a whole are smarter, faster, and stronger than their parents. And that this is always happening.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
While there may be large amounts of ignorance among the youth of today, particularly in certain regions or sub-cultures, i also think that the current generation of youngsters are far more empowered and knowledgeable than previous generations in many other ways. Because of how connected the world is today, there are many cohorts of young people who are extremely knowledgeable and involved in what's happening in the world, much more than was even possible in previous generations.
I agree with wooly. This generation have so much tools available for learning and discovery that my youth generation didn't have. I wonder though if this is also contributing to the seeming complacency to do real or further research or even to memorise information because of the dependency on wiki and google that will "provide us the smarts" on the moment we need it.
 

ChaosHerald

Registered Member
Well in Slovenia, I really get the feeling that younger generations are dumbing down. But that's not the scary thing for me, because as it was said above, they can get the information they need whenever they need, so that may be a sense of complacency. What's scarier for me: the younger generation became a lot lazier than we were. Or that's at least how it seems to me. They know they have the possibility to fund and know everything they want to know, yet they don't even find the will to search for it. That's the sad part in my opinion.
 

AnitaKnapp

It's not me, it's you.
V.I.P.
I can see both sides of the coin here. He irritates me to no end that the newer generation doesn't understand the differences between then and than; your and you're, etc.

However, I also think that they are more intelligent in other ways that our generations were not at their age. With developing technology and things like that. It's just that what we learned when we were younger just isn't as important now in today's world...and they are just learning different material that changes as the years go by.
 
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