Are we becoming a “generation of idiots?”

It has been a dire concern expressed by many Parkview teachers and other adults in today’s world. As technology is getting more involved into our lives at a quickly growing pace, these concerns have arisen since most of today’s teenagers have been drawn into social media.

These concerns have been confirmed from observations of other students of our school, including those in my grade level and my own classmates and former classmates. Many kids around my age have become so obsessed with socializing and enjoying life that they have become almost completely disconnected from the real world that we all live in. These kids do not even know basic information such as who our vice president is, how old our earth and universe are, what are the three branches of government, etc.

For some adults, the low knowledge of our current generation is not much of a fear. Some believe that there have been a large portion of misinformed people in each of the previous generations and that our society has made significant progress in spite of their presence in the past.

“The major problems they pose are distractions,” states Language Arts teacher Mr. Allen Murphy. “It is not the technology hurting the intelligence of students. Kids who have a strong work ethic get the most benefits from the new technology in our lives. The amusements that gadgets like video games and other entertainment divert students’ attention to their education, however.” Though Mr. Murphy still believes that the advent of technology has largely benefited our coming of age generation, he and other adults still assert that prominent elements of today’s media, mainly pop culture and social media, have delivered the detrimental counter-effects of technology.

Others like Coach Joseph Farah have mixed feelings about technology’s mental effects on the minds of the modern American youth. “I think our society has been split.” Farah asserts. “There is one portion of millennials that includes kids who take advantage of the information within their fingertips to better inform themselves in order to emerge as leaders, and then there is another portion that includes kids who use it mainly for entertainment purposes that disconnect them from reality.”

It may seem unbelievable, but the concerns expressed by Mr. Murphy and Mr. Mangano have been proven to be true. I recently surveyed five Parkview seniors that I randomly chose to ask about our government and the recent midterm elections. I asked them questions about who our vice president is, what is the supreme law of the our land, how many members make up the US Senate, who the governor of Georgia was, and who were the candidates who ran for US Senate in Georgia. Although all of the seniors were able to at least one to two of the questions, they still struggled to answer the rest of the questions.

The main fear of low knowledge among young people in America is how it could impact the future. Individuals around my age will decide who governs our nation in the future, and many adults worry that these people will not be informed enough to make wise decisions in elections.

“People ought to know all that information if they are ever going to make the right decisions in our elections.” said Mr. Mangano. “You need to know who’s in charge so you can make an informed decision when you vote. Knowing all of our prominent elected officials is an important civic duty.”

The concerns of poorly-educated people among younger generations still have been attributed to the fast growth of technology in our lives. One famous quote by an anonymous figure says, “I fear that the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Based on what I have witnessed throughout my years spanning from elementary school to today seem to prove this quote to be true. There is no question that technology has benefited us immensely now that information can easily be accessed. However, technology has also laid the basis for the rise of social media and celebrity culture that has disconnected kids from reality and has rendered many students “intelligent but lazy” as Mr. Murphy believes. Now that cell phones have become available to nearly every person near my age, the very same kids that I thought were intelligent and hard-working when I first knew them in elementary and middle school are now either failing or in danger of failing one or more of their classes. Just like what Mr. Murphy knew, these kids have been distracted by their cell phones and other gadgets now that social media has become a big part of our lives. They are now too focused on socializing and entertaining themselves. instead of informing and educating themselves. In fact, they have become so addicted to socializing that they cannot resist the need to use their cell phones during class time, even though they are not supposed to.

And then you wonder why many in the Parkview faculty are so annoyed by the presence of cell phones in school.