A Generation of “Firsts”
September 10, 2013
I went to a Webb Middle School PAC meeting this morning ( I know I am too old for this but don’t forget I am raising my 7th grade grandson) and was fascinated by the topic presented by David Nelson, Head of the Middle School. The title, “A Generation of Firsts,” was adapted from an article by Tim Elmore on GrowingLeaders.com. Think about this:
This is the First Generation of Youth Who:
1) Doesn’t need adults to get information
2) Can broadcast their every thought or emotion to those who “follow” them
3) Has external stimuli at their fingertips 24/7
4) Is socially connected at all times, but often connects in isolation
5) Will learn more from a portable device than from a classroom
6) Adults have enabled to be narcissistic instead of valuing a team
7) Use a phone instead of a wristwatch, camera, wall calendar or board game
8) Scores lower on global comparisons but believe they are “awesome.”
Wow! This is the generation who can receive outside stimulation anytime they are bored but have not had to motivate themselves. They are rarely disconnected but connect virtually on a screen. What is happening to their social skills, their ability to meet people and interact with a real person? They can send messages to huge populations, sometimes going viral, not necessarily always a good thing.
As adults we have told them they are gifted, and special. In an attempt to build self-esteem, it’s produced narcissism. American kids continue to score lower on standardized tests than their peers around the world but the one place they score highest is in self-confidence.
So how do we deal with these awesome individuals? Limit their screen time and encourage face time. Take a break from technology on occasion- all of us need to do that. Have a real conversation at a dinner table or in an elevator instead of constantly checking your texts and emails. Mr. Nelson suggests they use the “employer” test or “principal” test- when you tweet or post, would you want your boss or principal to see it? Figure out a way to use their technology to help their community or campus. Above all, check out what they are posting, playing, who they are communicating with and make sure they turn it off and have face time with the family.
Sure am glad I made that PAC meeting this morning.