Are the kids growing up today going to be the first generation of nincompoops, know-nothings who don’t know how to do anything mechanical or practical? That was the headline on MSN, and some experts say, yes, maybe - but the change is completely logical and not as bad as it seems. Sure, a lot of 7-year-olds can’t tie their shoes or zip their jackets, many tweens and teens have no idea how to use a can opener or empty an ice cube tray, and a lot of college kids have never done laundry, addressed an envelope, or taken a bus on their own. It’s partly because of how kids are being raised, and partly because of how the world has changed. After all, toddlers who’d be struggling to tie their laces are strapped into Velcro sneakers. Kitchens are filled with push-button icemakers and pop-top cans, and helicopter parents are doing the laundry and driving their kids everywhere. With emails, texts and online bill paying, kids don’t need to address any envelopes.
Bottom line: They’re not learning how to do certain things because they don’t need to anymore. Just like most of us have never had to plant crops, milk cows, pump water, or churn butter to get dinner on the table. Instead, kids are learning how to do things that are practical in today’s electronic world - like being able to change captions on photos and email them to friends, create videos and post them on YouTube, program the family TiVo to record every episode of “Glee,”and hit speed dial to order dinner. With cell phones and the Internet, they don’t have to figure things out for themselves, or solve problems anymore. If they need to research an author, consult a map, or find a video showing how to get ice cubes out of a tray, they’d do a Google search. Or simply call mom or dad for step-by-step instructions.