Review of The Dumbest Generation | Teen Ink

Review of The Dumbest Generation

March 27, 2009
By Anonymous

The author of The Dumbest Generation insinuates that the reason for our lack of knowledge and lack of an inclination to pursue knowledge is dependent on the schools. I disagree with this statement. It is my opinion that the archetypal teenagers who earned the title “The Dumbest Generation” make a conscious choice to live up to that name. However, I do not believe that they know how not to.

The schools are not to blame for the adolescents’ misuse of the internet. Schools teach children that the internet is “an electronic information source with access to worldwide databases of information, (an) interactive and easy to use information exchange medium… (and) a source for experiences through application of real-world problems” (New Horizons for Learning). Nowhere does this list include any recreational uses of the internet. The discovery of gaming and/or social networking websites is reliant on the students, who are prevented from accessing these pages in most schools by a filtering system. So why blame the schools for the technology they integrate into education?

Incorporating technology into droll everyday lessons has had an impact on the students. According to the NAEP test, 4th and 8th grade students benefited from technology education. This form of contemporary education must be doing us some good; an annual $5 billon is spent nationwide on technology education. I believe that it is effective; it makes class more interesting, and viewing information is one of the most effective ways to retain it. Ultimately, the students are being taught how to use the internet in a productive manner; regretfully, most discard the information.

The average teenager’s queue of frequently visited web pages is laden with game sites, e-mail, chat rooms, and blogs, but all are usurped by YouTube, Google, and Facebook. The use of Google to adolescents is debatable, but it is a likely estimate that they are not using YouTube to watch the evening news, nor are they using Facebook for anything other than social purposes. According to, for most of these teenagers, this internet surfing is done at their home, on their own computer. Adolescents are being self-destructive by partaking in these activities, and the schools are not to blame; they learn of these from their friends, and to them, the things that are passed on by their friends are of more value than information passed on by teachers.

The majority of this generation of adolescents is conditioned to believe that their self-worth is determined through websites that cater to their aspirations of ultimate social popularity. However, there are some of us that use the internet the way it was designed to function, and the rising demand for technology education in schools is indicative that all of us need to be taught how. Whether we apply it or not is the real issue. I think it is not entirely unfair that most of us fall into the “Dumbest Generation” caste, but to slap a label on everyone is. Unjustly blaming the schools and the “Dumbest Generation” themselves for their supposed insufficient learning capabilities is a pathetic deviation from the fact that the world we grew up in, a world created by adults, conditioned us to be this way.

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