It's official - Teens are getting dumber
We all know that teenagers are stupid. Rather, they act stupid. Having been teens ourselves and now being adult enough to be able to reflect back, most of us agree that at one time or another, most teens are, well, dumb. Pregnancy pacts, virginity rings and Marilyn Manson obsessions aside, now it turns out that sentiment might actually be true! According to a new study, kids are getting less smart, mainly due to watching too much television and playing too many video games. Hmm. This sounds familiar. I feel like I heard the same thing in the early 80's when I was a kid with a pocketful of quarters and a Pac Man machine (OK, fine, it was Ms. Pac Man) in front of me. But, I digress.
The study reviewed test scores of 800 thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds and compared them with similar tests of teens from 1976, a generation ago. The results? In one test, only one in ten of the current teens tested with top scores, down from one in four twenty years ago. In another, only one in twenty reached the top score compared to one in five from the 1976 batch. Professor Michael Shayer, who lead the study, believes the educational focus on testing (rather than learning) is at least partially to blame. Focusing on testing leaves little time for teaching development skills such as those required in the tests that were part of the study.
Primarily, however, Shayer believes that television and video games are responsible for the decline. Participating in these "non" activities leads to a lack of being involved in other things such as playing with gadgets and tools which develop higher level thinking. The UK education system has responded that measures were being taken to "ease the burden" of testing. According to the article in the Mail Online, the UK government had also scrapped the SATs for fourteen-year-olds.