Posted by: Alex Borders | November 30, 2010

Are Kids Getting Stupid? Philadelphia Magazine

Tuesday 30th November

Is It Just Us, Or Are Kids Getting Really Stupid? They don’t read.  They can’t spell. They spend all their time playing computer games and texting and hanging out with one another or Facebook.  But the problem is much worse than you think, because the way your kids live now is rewiring their brains…..So writes Sandy Hingston for the December issue of Philadelphia Magazine.  Read Ms Hingston’s thought-provoking article at



  1. This is truly disturbing. Went to the Kim John Payne talk last night and came home grateful to have the wonderful resource that is the Waldorf School of Philadelphia. Some really good hard data regarding the toxicity of media intrusion in our children’s lives and its effect on their resiliency. Fascinating stuff, and if I didn’t know that an alternative existed, this article would be all the more frightening.

  2. The article raises strong counterarguments to its central premise, which is admirable. In fact, the evidence FOR the argument that “kids are getting really stupid,” would be bounced out of any solid high school writing class:
    * A woman shook her baby to death because she wanted to play Farmville on Facebook – a horrific logical fallacy that the Philly Inquirer editors should have struck at the first draft.
    * The author’s son watches movies (BAD movies – Robert Redford’s ‘Gatsby’???) in a Community College English class…maybe he shouldn’t be trying to shirk real college credit by attending an inferior institution. Maybe he is ‘stupid,’ but it doesn’t mean that all 3,000 text messages per month teenagers are.
    * “Isn’t it self-evident that my son would be a better student, better future employee, better human being, if he spent six hours a day reading Tolstoy and listening to Bach instead of playing WoW?” NO. IT ISN’T. What research would suggest Tolstoy/Bach would be somehow better? And maybe she should consider her responsibility as a parent and find a way to help her son get off his 6 hour per day WOW bender.

    I don’t know if kids are ‘smarter’ or not, or exactly what that might mean. I’d hesitate to describe any group of people as ‘stupid’ without some rock-solid research. But maybe journalism IS devolving to the kind of writing that should receive a ‘D’ in an AP English course. The logic reads like a 1950s screed on Elvis, arguing that America will burn in hellfire if teenagers see his swiveling hips. Please.

    • “trying to shirk real college credit by attending an inferior institution …”

      Well. Aren’t YOU special.

      • There may not be “rock solid research” that kids today are more “stupid,” but there is plenty that they are more distracted and have a much shorter attention span (not to mention a higher level of anxiety.) Some of it is presented here, whether or not you like the way the piece itself is written.

    • I went to a community college. Felt real enough to me. And it was that or nothing, as that was what I could afford at the time. Eventually I completed a bachelor’s degree at Penn, but I still value my time at community college and I would be happy if my children started off at one as I did.

      By the way, her son watched the movie version of *The Great Gatsby* in his HIGH SCHOOL English class.

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