TED Conversations

David Williams

Training Specialist , Arvato

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Is the increased maturity of children leading us to educate them wrong?

In modern first world culture children not have much more access to information through multimedia and technology. Censors are more lenient, mobile internet more prevalent, access to knowledge and people is easier than ever.

Children as a result are less likely to ask questions and may be more inclined to self educate in areas of curiosity and interest. Does this new access to to information that would be previously staggered and controlled mean that children are maturing quicker and education needs to account for this?

Adults learn because they want to or have to, unlike children can be told to, will this now change?

Do we need to take more form Andragogy to apply to our Pedagogies?


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  • Sep 11 2013: i dont think we are blurring the lines between maturity and wisdom.. I am quite confused with the question. It may depend on how you define these two words David.

    However just as a primer my idea is this.. You may have all the information in your head, taken from the internet (knowledge) ... but how you use it depends on your life experience and maturity (wisdom).
    I got this definition of wisdom over the net:
    "The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
    The soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment."

    I know of a kid (4 years old) who can recite the names of the countries by looking at their flags.... but what it all means is empty to the kid. He/she just knows the names... politically, he/she has no idea what those flags really mean. No good judgement, no experience, no way of measuring the "soundless of an action/decision" I don't know how to fit that kid as mature.

    If that same 4 year old kid somehow has the knowledge/experience enough to become a diplomat as a 4 year old... i am willing to call that kid mature.
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      Sep 11 2013: Ok, Jeff, i see your point, but I'm going to have to disagree because maturity is not about the wisdom or how information or knowledge is used, it is just that you have the information to use it. Not so much to do with wisdom, but more its about being made to for and informed decision. Life experience and wisdom and ethical understanding of such information in decision making in not in anyway related to the maturity of the individual.

      This is where i believe the lines are blurred. In our common daily discussions i agree that all these factors are how we view maturity, but this is wrong. Maturity is a psychological word to describe the ability to appropriately respond to any environment. That response is learned through knowledge and information.

      For example, I don't need to put my hand in a fire to know that I will burn my hand. In the choice of not doing so i have made a mature decision. This ability is now stretched with online information to make decisions from what is popular to wear to or is it ok or not it is ok to commit suicide (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130610124201AAX4oKX), this is the type of discussion being had online buy people of all ages, and regardless of the ethical and social impact of the decisions, is the fact they can research them and judge for themselves not the very definition of maturity?
      • Sep 11 2013: David, and i see you point too. I suspected earlier we differ in interpreting the definition of maturity and wisdom. You were interpreting maturity in the psychological definition. And I believe you are correct
        However, just consider this in your quest for the answer.. while maturity is not bound by age but rather by how much information is known and used to make an informed decision, consider that wisdom shapes that knowledge/information into a tool that can be used more precisely. Wisdom to me is a fine-tuning device. And this is something you only get from much experience in life.

        While wisdom is supposed to be learned through experience, i figure there are a lot of people who share their experience online. What used to take years to learn can be somewhat shortened by listening/reading information by those who had the same experience, and in effect gain wisdom.
        This does blur the lines.

        Its an interesting concept.. for adults this isn't a problem. I don't know if learning children will be able to apply the same method though. Teens yes... not sure if children are ready to sift through all that information the way it is presented over the net.

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