What Is the Dumbest Generation?

Older folks are always looking to point fingers at the younger generations. From the stereotypical “you crazy kids get off my lawn” to “it wasn’t like this back in my day,” elders and now baby boomers are beginning to shake their fists at the Millennial Generation and all its technology.

Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30), leads the argument that technology has only served as a distraction. Being born and raised in a world with unlimited information at everyone’s fingertips, the Millennial Generation has become dependent on technology, causing them to turn lazy and close-minded.

One professor at University of Tampa pointed out his declining experience in the classroom throughout his years of teaching in a lecture held a couple of weeks ago. He blames today’s upbringing in children has given them a sense of entitlement: Instead of parents scolding their children for getting a bad grade on a test, the teachers feel the heat. Growing up in such a disillusioned cushioned world spits out narcissistic people expecting opportunities to be thrown their way.

Brianna Cellini, an accounting major at UT and a part of the Millennial Generation, very much disagrees. “There is always dumb people in every generation. That will never change,” she said. Cellini accredits herself with balancing her nightly routine of studying, 18 credit hour course schedule, and long-distance relationship.

Upon the topic of technology, she admits it has faults as it “is probably more of a distraction.” Although she finds Google a great resource, she knows what students are really browsing through when they whip out their phones in class. “I do it too, and I can tell you I am not doing a for-fun, educational Google search.” In The Digital Divide, a collection of for and against essays put together by Mark Bauerlein, one essay goes on to argue that the easy access to unlimited information eliminates the useless what?, when? and where?, and lets the upcoming generation focus on the important why? and how?.

Cellini was quick to jump in when the concern of narcissism arose. “It seems that way because of all the technology we have. I mean, people are always taking selfies, but it is not a problem.” She pointed out its relation to her first point where every generation will contain arrogant people.

Maybe the fear is not in hiring a fresh out of college student armed with an iPhone in hand, but the unknown of how to utilize their potential. Or maybe they are just dumb.

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