Friday, July 6, 2012

Get off my lawn!

If you've ever told any of those young punks to get off your lawn, or found yourself despairing at 'kids these days' it's important to remind yourself that thus it has always been. One of the constants since the beginning of time has been one generation despairing at the next. Even Socrates felt that youth should be trained in such things as "when the young are to be silent before their elders; how they are to show respect to them by standing and making them sit; what honour is due to parents; what garments or shoes are to be worn; the mode of dressing the hair; deportment and manners in general" I bet he chased a few kids off the lawn.

Just so we remember that the kids are alright, here's a study to show that children these days are no "less attentive or more distractible than kids in the past"
"The study gave a large sample of kids the "Gordon Diagnostic System" GDS test of sustained concentration ability. This dates to the 80s and it consists of a box, with a button, and a display with three digits. There are three different tasks but the main one is a sustained attention test. The goal is to watch a series of numbers and quickly press the button whenever a "1" is followed by a "9". Easy... but it takes concentration to do well.
Over the period of 2000-2006, the researchers gave the GDS to 445 healthy American kids, not diagnosed with any learning or behavioural disorder and not taking medication. They compared their scores to the standardized norms - which were based on a sample of American kids back in 1983.
The results showed that today's kids scored pretty much the same, on average, as the 1983 kids. The average age-standardized scores were extremely close to the 1983 means, across the board. Children diagnosed with ADHD, as expected, scored much worse. Oddly, kids with an Autism Spectrum Disorder did just as badly as the ADHD ones."

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