At the risk of sounding ancient, something is going on with kids today, and I don’t mean that to sound like a middle age snarl. In fact I think today’s kids are better than we were. By better, we’re talking quicker, more mature, less naive, better informed, more confident; smarter. So this poll on the most important group in that demographic in 2012, the ones old enough to vote, was fascinating:
(Link) — Younger Millennials report significant levels of movement from the religious affiliation of their childhood, mostly toward identifying as religious unaffiliated. While only 11% where religiously unaffiliated in childhood, one-quarter (25%), currently identified as unaffiliated, a 14 point increase. Catholics and white mainline Protestants saw the largest net loss due to the Millennials’ movement away from their childhood religious affiliation.
It wasn’t in the poll per see, but young adults seem a lot smarter to me than they were just a decade ago, and here’s a stab at why that might be: over my lifetime, kids who liked to read at a young age blew away their peers academically. The Internet makes kids read. They might be IMing and Tweeting and Facebooking about something superficial, but whatever, it involves a lot of reading. If research supports the idea that any reading, regardless of content, has a positive effect on child development, then maybe huge amounts of it have more of an effect.
Because the twenty-something kids I’m seeing today have that same kind of edge in … cognitive alertness for lack of a better term, and it happens that they’re the first adult generation that read a ton and processed a shitload more info than we did, because of the Internet, starting at day one in early childhood. Maybe they’re just the front of a smart wave, and that idea makes me happy. If humanity really is on the verge of a jump anywhere near as important to our culture and technology as traditional childhood literacy has been, that’s a good omen for an uncertain and at times down right frightening future.