Posted by: hagengreen | January 22, 2011

The next generation is already upon us; for better or worse?

I read an article this morning in the “paper” that reminded me Gen X is now passe. I’m now old school, along with nearly everyone else I know. Looking back, the Gen X kids broke away from their parents’ habits of reading a physical newspaper, not using that huge Yellow Pages book to phone a local business or phone number, and no longer having a “home” phone number. We were pretty cool and naturally computer literate. But for the most part we were still well-grounded in real life. We wanted to be outdoors, go on a bike ride, and meet up with our friends. All typical activities for a youngen of my time. So after reading this article, I didn’t just felt a little bit older (this tends to happen more and more often these days!), but rather disheartened and that our human values are being abandoned to a point of disbelief.

Study: Young kids better with tech than ‘life skills’

The participation in activities mentioned in this article is just astounding. For example, nearly 70% of small children can turn a computer on and use the mouse, but only 11% can tie their shoelaces. Perhaps even worse, a greater number of these same children can play a computer game compared to riding a bike. Really? That’s very sad. One joy of my childhood was the moment my dad let go of holding my bike without training wheels. Unfortunately the next generation of children may have that same moment of elation while playing a video game like Angry Birds.

While one can argue that learning to ride a bike doesn’t (well… Smile) count towards survival skills, the argument can be made that humans are drifting away from their ancestral past. The reason why we are all here today is because of the survival of our ancestors – survival of the fittest. They made it past the plague, through the blistery winters, and outran (or outsmarted, take your pick) the hungry mountain lion. Those are essential life skills, but we don’t need them so much anymore. Thanks to our modern world with roadways, airplanes, and cheap gas, we can get ourselves and stuff from A to B with no sweat. Water, gas, and electricity magically arriving to our places of dwelling (that, by the way, we didn’t need to physically build up on our own). Life is easy, humans have advanced, and we take it all for granted. I sure do. If you want a reality check, go get lost in the middle of the Cascade Wilderness and see how long you can go. Ok, don’t do that, but you get my point.

Now I’m not claiming we give up our modern lives or live off the land. What I am saying, however, is that we ensure our offspring be exposed to and learn about life basics and essentials. Technology is sapping up our natural human instincts to be social, mobile animals. You’d be hard pressed to find a teenager today that could go a day without Facebook and their cell phone. Let’s show that same teenager how simple and enjoyable life can be. Get them out on a hike or bike ride. Life’s simple treats can be more than Facebook will ever give us.

So here I am, a day older and a generation behind the new kids on the block. But I’m not envious of the “advancements” of Generation Z. I’m torn somewhere between Generation X and Y. But that doesn’t matter to me. It’s not my identity. Let us take notes from the Greatest and Silent Generations – they can keep us grounded and help guide us to live more fuller lives. Facebook will always be waiting for me when I get back.


Now before you head outdoors for a walk or bike ride, continue using technology for a moment to read about the generations in the western world:

Ok, you can go now.


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