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Kids can't use computers... & why it should worry you


DavidY

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#1
Kids Can't Use Computers... And This Is Why It Should Worry You

The phone rang through to my workroom. It was one of the school receptionists explaining that there was a visitor downstairs that needed to get on the school’s WiFi network. iPad in hand I trotted on down to the reception to see a young twenty-something sitting on a chair with a MacBook on her knee.

I smiled and introduced myself as I sat down beside her. She handed me her MacBook silently and the look on her face said it all. Fix my computer, geek, and hurry up about it. I’ve been mistaken for a technician enough times to recognise the expression.

...

I looked at the MacBook. I had no experience with OSX at the time. Jobs wasn’t an idiot though, and displayed proudly in the top right hand corner of the screen was a universally recognisable WiFi symbol. It took me seconds to get the device on the network.

...

‘So what do you teach?’ she asked as I worked on her presentation.
‘Computing’ I replied.
‘Oh… I guess these days you must find that the kids know more about computers than the teachers…’

Normally when someone spouts this rubbish I just nod and smile. This time I simply couldn’t let it pass. ‘Not really, most kids can’t use computers.’ (and neither can you – I didn’t add.)
I came across this blog post which amused and interested me (but worried me too!).

It relates to the UK but I suspect the problem is more widespread.

Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you - Coding 2 Learn
 

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#2
Kids Can't Use Computers... And This Is Why It Should Worry You

The phone rang through to my workroom. It was one of the school receptionists explaining that there was a visitor downstairs that needed to get on the school’s WiFi network. iPad in hand I trotted on down to the reception to see a young twenty-something sitting on a chair with a MacBook on her knee.

I smiled and introduced myself as I sat down beside her. She handed me her MacBook silently and the look on her face said it all. Fix my computer, geek, and hurry up about it. I’ve been mistaken for a technician enough times to recognise the expression.

...

I looked at the MacBook. I had no experience with OSX at the time. Jobs wasn’t an idiot though, and displayed proudly in the top right hand corner of the screen was a universally recognisable WiFi symbol. It took me seconds to get the device on the network.

...

‘So what do you teach?’ she asked as I worked on her presentation.
‘Computing’ I replied.
‘Oh… I guess these days you must find that the kids know more about computers than the teachers…’

Normally when someone spouts this rubbish I just nod and smile. This time I simply couldn’t let it pass. ‘Not really, most kids can’t use computers.’ (and neither can you – I didn’t add.)
I came across this blog post which amused and interested me (but worried me too!).

It relates to the UK but I suspect the problem is more widespread.

Kids can't use computers... and this is why it should worry you - Coding 2 Learn
This article is both true, and false. My niece is 8 years old, as of this weekend, she can properly navigate the web. She's able to search YouTube about animals, National Geographic, and more. She's only 8.

I agree with this article, but I also disagree. It's about the environment that you grow up in. Some kids aren't fortunate to have an Uncle that has over 15 years of experience. I'm the neighborhood techie. I fix everyones computers, they all have access to my WMC Network, but thats another story for another time.

The article is funny, and the kids reaction would be priceless if we knew what it was. My High School used to require a typing/internet class to help promote safe browsing and computer habits, but the school super intendent killed that pretty quick. I believe ALL kids from the age of 10, should be taught how to browse through Google Images, and the like.
 

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SIW2

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5,360
#3
Excellent article. I am not sure I share the optimism. It will probably get worse, if the big tech corps get their way.
 

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pparks1

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#4
This article is both true, and false. My niece is 8 years old, as of this weekend, she can properly navigate the web. She's able to search YouTube about animals, National Geographic, and more. She's only 8.
But isn't this somewhat the point of the article, that people can "use" these devices, but unless they work just like they are supposed to, they haven't a clue? My kids are both pretty savvy too, they are 8 and 6 now, they can use the web, they can use both an iPhone and an Android, they understand how to use a touchscreen, mouse or trackball.

The examples in this article are spot on. I've had to fix the "wifi switch is turned off", many times. I also get complaints of "hey my computer isn't working right, what could be happening?". I mean that's all they say, no other information. Do they call the car dealership and say, "um, something isn't right with my car, any ideas".

Heck, it's usually the people who tell me, "they are tech savvy" that worry me the most. It's pretty bad when these people cannot explain the problem in such a way that you understand what is actually happening. 9 times out of 10, I have to sit down and see it myself and then it's a quick easy fix.
 

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#5
This article is both true, and false. My niece is 8 years old, as of this weekend, she can properly navigate the web. She's able to search YouTube about animals, National Geographic, and more. She's only 8.
But isn't this somewhat the point of the article, that people can "use" these devices, but unless they work just like they are supposed to, they haven't a clue? My kids are both pretty savvy too, they are 8 and 6 now, they can use the web, they can use both an iPhone and an Android, they understand how to use a touchscreen, mouse or trackball.

The examples in this article are spot on. I've had to fix the "wifi switch is turned off", many times. I also get complaints of "hey my computer isn't working right, what could be happening?". I mean that's all they say, no other information. Do they call the car dealership and say, "um, something isn't right with my car, any ideas".

Heck, it's usually the people who tell me, "they are tech savvy" that worry me the most. It's pretty bad when these people cannot explain the problem in such a way that you understand what is actually happening. 9 times out of 10, I have to sit down and see it myself and then it's a quick easy fix.
I'm tech savvy, but I'm hands on. I cannot tell someone how to fix something over the phone. There is a lot of information that I don't know, that I'm intriguied to learn about. I'm going for my CCENT/CCNA (Cisco Certifications), and my Certs for MSOffice / Windows XP/7/8(When its released). My goal is the CCIE Certification from Cisco.

My major beef is people automatically assume because you dress nice, and you know a bit about computers, that it makes you knowledgable about everything. I'm a college student, and I get asked IT questions just because I walked into the Network Class, and corrected the teacher on IPv6 vs IPv4.

But all that is beside the point, I think kids need to be taught at an earlier age to use the computer, society is moving faster towards a digital era, and our children are going to be left behind. Hell, my brother, whose is turning 19 in a few months here, doesn't know jack squat about computers. He can browse the internet, install applications, and thats it. He knows NOTHING about web security, nothing about Adware, Spyware, and the works. I think kids should be taught how to use Google, YouTube, Bing, etc, from an EARLY age. Ages 8 - 10 should be taught how to type, and search for things. Ages 11 - 13 should be taught how to type properly, so on and so forth. Our education is declining with the lack of skills being taught in schools. Its no longer about quality, its all about quantity. That is the major problem.
 

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#6
Im 13. Took my gcse in IT a year ago. You don't need to be young to be good with tech. Im 13 and im pretty damn good with it. Its not age. I guess if you use it enough, you're good. But, freakishly good me aside, my friends are all pretty crap. Im helping them a lot. So to a certain extent, I agree.
 

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mikeytg

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Joisey

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#7
Kids can use computers just fine. What people can't do is figure out the myriad technical glitches and shortcomings that current computing devices exhibit. The day will come when computers just work, then all will be well. Most people here revel in the arcane details that keep our devices running and productive; most people in the "real world" do not.

For instance, why should the user have to know to fiddle with WiFi settings when they travel to a new location? A well designed system would proactively walk the user through the required steps when the situation presented itself.

Consider the automobile. When they first appeared you had to be a mechanic to get anywhere with one and keep it running. Strictly for hobbyists. Now, unless there is a "hardware failure" a modern car is an appliance that needs only occasional, simple routine maintenance to reliably take us where we want to go. That's where computing devices need to evolve to.
 

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HippsieGypsie

It's Gururrrrrr8!
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#8
But all that is beside the point, I think kids need to be taught at an earlier age to use the computer, society is moving faster towards a digital era, and our children are going to be left behind. Hell, my brother, whose is turning 19 in a few months here, doesn't know jack squat about computers. He can browse the internet, install applications, and thats it. He knows NOTHING about web security, nothing about Adware, Spyware, and the works. I think kids should be taught how to use Google, YouTube, Bing, etc, from an EARLY age. Ages 8 - 10 should be taught how to type, and search for things. Ages 11 - 13 should be taught how to type properly, so on and so forth. Our education is declining with the lack of skills being taught in schools. Its no longer about quality, its all about quantity. That is the major problem.
I agree. Our American public school system is in a rather sad state. I think you are correct in stating that its all about quantity not quality.

For sure the computer is here to stay and is becoming more demanding to use in any profession. I even have a nephew that is a professional truck driver that is required to use a laptop to enter his data to upload into the firm's system on a regular basis.

I cannot imagine how the younger generation will make strides in life without the knowledge of use, configuration, and repair of them. It should be a required course at least by high school age to learn just as Biology, Mathematics, 2nd Language, etc. is.
 

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azasadny

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#9
Most of the people I know, young and old... do not know anything about troubleshooting even the most basic computer issues. They seem to take pride in their ignorance as if the computer was such a vastly technical item that knowing anything about it at all would be impossible for mere mortals.

It is too difficult for them to apply patches, update software, backup data files, apply basic computer security principles, etc... The Apple people are worse than the PC people and they all seem to be getting worse, not better... The easier the software makes things for users, the less the average user really understands. When things don't work properly, people lack even the most rudimentary troubleshooting skills. if your car breaks down, most people will attempt to determine what the problem is, but not with their computers...
 

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Metalmania31

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79
#10
Sounds like huge amounts of job security for us to me. Although it seriously fascinates me how little effort too many people exhibit in even trying to troubleshoot an issue. Simple Google search would probably solve most of those simple little issues.
 

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Shadowjk

Network Enthusiast
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#11
In schools we exclude kids for attempting to hack our systems. Is that right?
So true... In secondary school I got detention for being able to access the BIOS (didn't have a password), change the boot priority and then boot into Linux. Once in there I was amazed to see that I could access the public storage on the network with zero authentication because the Network manager decided to share the drive to 'Everyone' including anonymous users. Why should I get a detention for finding a security vulnerability at my school? I just don't understand it but that may be because I was on the receiving end.

I like to think I'm good with computers and know more than your office applications but then again I didn't learn my skills in school... Curiosity got the best of me and I taught myself.

Josh :)
 

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#12
These days computers are everywhere. It seems like the new generations of children born are picking up things quicker then us older generation folks are. When I was a kid computers were just starting come out.
 

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Windows 8

New Member
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127.0.0.1

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144
#13
In schools we exclude kids for attempting to hack our systems. Is that right?
So true... In secondary school I got detention for being able to access the BIOS (didn't have a password), change the boot priority and then boot into Linux. Once in there I was amazed to see that I could access the public storage on the network with zero authentication because the Network manager decided to share the drive to 'Everyone' including anonymous users. Why should I get a detention for finding a security vulnerability at my school? I just don't understand it but that may be because I was on the receiving end.

I like to think I'm good with computers and know more than your office applications but then again I didn't learn my skills in school... Curiosity got the best of me and I taught myself.

Josh :)
Same here. Only thing I did learn in school computer wise is how to configure Cisco IOS switched and routers
 

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ArazelEternal

Prince of Darkness
Power User
Cross Plains

Posts
255
#14
I see it both ways. Not many people knowing how to use and fix computers correctly is job security for us that are in the field. It gives us our jobs. If everyone knew how to do it properly, there would be no use for us. However, I would like to see the common user learn how to fix and troubleshoot some of the more simple problems that are a lot of the time the problem. That way we could spend our time on the bigger issues instead of just wasting our time flipping switches and turning computers on so people can use them.
 

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11
#15
True, but false

It is true that most kids can't even get anywhere on a computer other than their browser, but that doesn't mean that all kids are like that. I am 11 and I know how to build PCs, do basic/easy coding, and navigate pretty much any OS (including DOS and Arch Linux), heck the teachers that know me call me instead of the IT guy! But then again I might just be special! :p
 

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#16
I don't know where you have been but computers are now pretty much the way of life.
 

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168
#17
Yeah, I think ultimately it will all be about a matter of degree. I'm a little bit more interested in computers than cars, so yeah, I assemble my own desktop rigs and usually troubleshoot my own issues. But with cars, well, I took basic auto mechanics in high school, and I have on the rare occasion fixed minor problems with my vehicle. But I still rely on my local mechanic to fix my major issues. You can only spread yourself so thin. If arithmetic, reading, writing, and subjects like that are always going to be considered essential things to know in order for a society to function, then, sure, one could argue that you should probably add basic computer science to that list. But then the average person reaches a point where they decide that they're content just operating the computer as a user and they leave the advanced stuff to the experts, much like many people drive their car, and maybe put in windshield wiper fluid, but can't fix that knock in their engine because it's just out of their grasp. I guess there's a gray area, because I can see the point of some of the previous comments posted in this thread: Is it asking too much for the average person to know how to turn on their WiFi? Should everyone know what a driver is, where to get it, and how to install it? Surely, we can avoid some of the endlessly repeating headaches that the friendly neighborhood or family tech runs into if more people took the initiative to learn just a little bit more.

I work in a community college, so on average I don't run into too many cases where people are atrociously ignorant in basic computer usage, because in general these are smart, educated people. But then, not too long ago we were told that a staff member or two fell victim to a phishing scheme, and since then they have instituted training on how to avoid that. It's the bell curve ... abilities and skill varies from person to person.
 

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    ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0
    Memory
    16 GB Crucial Ballistix DDR3 1866
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X Windforce
    Sound Card
    On-board audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell UltraSharp U2713HM 27" LCD
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB SSD
    Western Digital Caviar Black 2.0 TB SATA-3
    PSU
    Corsair HX850W
    Case
    Cooler Master HAF XM
    Cooling
    Stock
    Keyboard
    Logitech MK520 wireless
    Mouse
    Logitech MK520 wireless
    Internet Speed
    22 Mbps
    Browser
    IE/Chrome/Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, Malwarebytes

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