TED Conversations

Cloe Shasha

Associate Programs Producer, TED Content, TED


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What are the defining qualities of today's youth?

Every generation seems to think that the next generation is vastly different from their own.

The characteristics that a generation identifies with, however, may not be the characteristics that others believe that generation identifies with.

Are there any defining qualities of today's youth that you have observed that you believe are relevant to the youth of the world?

Is it even possible to attribute qualities to an entire generation around the world?


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    Oct 12 2011: By far the most intelligent generation to land on the planet.
    • Oct 13 2011: I generally agree with you. However; can they start a fire without a match, can they skip a rock across a pond, can they climb a tree? Ok now I know most of that was outdoor stuff; so lets try this: can they change a tire on their car, can they make change without a calculator type device, can they cook a meal for someone. Socially can they tell a good joke, can they listen intently, can the create a budget to live on and not ask the parents for help? All this to say: you aren't always the smartest one in the room an when you realize that just be quiet and go to that person and ask them the most profound intellectual question you can and then pay attention to what they say.
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      Oct 13 2011: Kathryn, how do you know this?.............Really?
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        Oct 13 2011: I know this because I see this in teens over and over again. They are the first generation to come of age knowing how to communicate worldwide with the use of computers, to research, to educate, to eradicate the old world for the new. This generation knows we are all one. It is a new day with these people. They have seen and experienced life as we can only imagine. The breadth of knowledge they have is inspiring. And yes, they can still skip rocks, change a tire, cook a meal, tell a good joke and they can read and listen. They learn anything they want and can do it because they know how to research and implement.
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          Oct 13 2011: Well I allways keep a strong sense of hope in youth. But....not all and not allways the youth are capable to being in succes (as allways)...why they have to "eradicate the old world for the new"....which are that reasons to do that, The allways youth people exist just in fashion magaines or in hollywood dramas but not in reality. That Peter pan syndrome is well enough to guide the actual youth?....maybe the times are different in some technological aspects but not in the human life. For better or worst we are the same from the beginning. I also see teens over and over again and I dont see how they "communicate"....with emoticons? with facebok?....really a lot of teens dont know how to read...or write...they dont like the school and the failures and deceptions from the college are wide spread. We can help...but just if they are humble and recognize their faults and their achievments.
        • Oct 16 2011: By your logic then every next generation is the smartest generation because they are the first generation to be born into a culture with all of the new technology. I would agree with you that today's teens have access to infinitely more information. However, having more information doesn't make you more intelligent. Being able to use the information to create something new now that is intelligent. Having taught for 27 years I am not sure I can claim that any generation is more intelligent than another.
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      Oct 16 2011: Perhaps at the time we are the most intelligent. But the next generation will be smarter because they have parents from the "smartest generation" hopefully teaching their children everything they know.

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