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Thread: New generation losing interest in computers?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    Question New generation losing interest in computers?

    Over the past 2-4 years my wife and I have bought laptops as Christmas presents for several of our grandchildren. We waited until each of them were at least 14 years old, thinking that this is an age where they're a bit more responsible and inquisitive enough to value having a laptop.

    I view a laptop/computer as a tool. Especially for someone in school. This has not turned out to be the case. I have to tell you, I don't think I've ever seen them bring their laptops to the house when they come to stay for the weekend. They will only be on their phones. When they do bring their laptops they are using it to view YouTube only. Personally, I don't think any of them even have a clue as to what you can do with a laptop, honestly.

    After giving them the laptops I will download Open Office and show them how the word processor works, I'll show them fun and helpful things that you can do with a spreadsheet. They couldn't be less interested. Upon first getting it they will look at me and ask "You can get YouTube on this, right?". After that, there might as well be nothing else loaded on the computer. They could care less. What surprises me the most is that they seem to have absolutely no use for email. Everything is texting. Sometimes I even have to explain to them what email is.

    From here on out, it is going to be Chromebooks only.

    My rant is over

  2. #2
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    My two daughters have laptops and use them regularly... The big one is in college, she does some graphic design and it is loaded with Adobe products she gets through school, she uses the University website almost daily to check classes, grades, etc. Netflix and YouTube are just a side-bonus when she has free time. She started working at the university and has a desktop there, she has one available at home that she hardly touches, and it is usually for gaming.

    My other daughter is in 10th grade, she uses the laptop for assignments, to check grades, write essays for school, projects, Powerpoint, etc. She also watches Netflix/Youtube on it, in addition to her phone. She has a desktop available at home as well, that she turns on maybe 2-3 times a month - sometimes for school work, sometimes for Skyping with friends or gaming.

    You are right that they wouldn't use a laptop much outside of school/assignments though, they are much more tethered to their phones. However, seems that schools do have a lot of online activities, including homework assignments, the K-12 school district here uses student software like "Math Nation", "Achieve3000", "I-Ready", "axis360", "Pearson Digits", "Pearson iLit", and a few others I don't remember.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    I think part of the problem is that in my situation they are more interested in YouTube than they are in school. They may not get into college but they'll definitely know all the latest influencers.

    I know that at home there aren't too many rules. They always seem surprised when they're over here and when we call them for dinner we have to remind them that there are "no screens" allowed at the table.

  4. #4
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easto View Post
    After that, there might as well be nothing else loaded on the computer. They could care less.
    (sorry in advance, I can't help it)

    "Couldn't care less"

    Maybe in part a shift of how people can access things you used to need a Mac or a real computer (PC) for, email and youtube and facebook I guess, as far as the youngsters go.
    Now you're just whipping out your phone.

    As far as the utility of a computer over a phone, give the kids some time.

    I doubt they'll be typing their essays on their phones. In the meantime hopefully they'll learn to utilize the other features like word processing and spreadsheets and they realize how useful they'll be soon in their lives.

    That said, I just bought my first cell phone a couple of years ago, but I'd rarely used a spreadsheet before managing retail.

  5. #5
    resident Humboldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easto View Post
    I think part of the problem is that in my situation they are more interested in YouTube than they are in school. They may not get into college but they'll definitely know all the latest influencers.
    Agreed.

    Far out of that loop but I'd assume social media plays an increasing huge role in the lives of children, and adults, that haven't the maturity or awareness to process/consider/rationalize/accept or decline what they either seek out intentionally or are bombarded with.

    The news, advertising, facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat, whatever.

  6. #6
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Us older folks lived our computers lives in earlier forms of interactions. Forums, bulletin boards, chatrooms, online gaming, instant messaging, old fat email clients, etc. Needed computers for that stuff back then.
    The fact that the computers could also run Word, Excel, accounting software, didn't really excite us.

    These days kids live their lives through newer social apps...snapchat, instagram, YouTube, FaceTime, and a slew of other new ones I don't even know the name of (and hidden ones). Heck Facebook is for dinosaurs according to kids. But all of that stuff runs on their phones. They don't need computers for that.

    Computers are kind of old school for them. Many schools just use Chromebooks now....all apps run through Browsers with Google Apps. And a lot of YouTube is required at school.

    I've always gotten my daughter small ultra books...a few years ago a really nice small light Dell Latitude, and just a couple of years ago a nice Lenovo Yoga. Neither have likely been cracked open in about 2 years.
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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post
    ...
    Computers are kind of old school for them. Many schools just use Chromebooks now....all apps run through Browsers with Google Apps. And a lot of YouTube is required at school.

    I've always gotten my daughter small ultra books...a few years ago a really nice small light Dell Latitude, and just a couple of years ago a nice Lenovo Yoga. Neither have likely been cracked open in about 2 years.
    Spot on, my daughter's history teacher makes them watch YouTube videos a few times per week and answer questions based on them. Most of the other school software is browser-based, the only old-school installed "apps" they generally use is word processing and maybe powerpoint (excluding specialized software used for computer programming class in high-school, or other college-level stuff). I like ultrabooks as well, mine is Lenovo Yoga 910, my big daughter is using Yoga 920, the small one an older 13-13.5" Yoga.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post

    I've always gotten my daughter small ultra books...a few years ago a really nice small light Dell Latitude, and just a couple of years ago a nice Lenovo Yoga. Neither have likely been cracked open in about 2 years.

    I don't think the grand kids are really using them at all either. I know they're definitely not updating them. On the rare occasion that they do bring one over to the house I will always tell them to let me look at it and see if it needs any updates. It usually takes about and hour or two just to install all the latest windows updates from the past two years, lol.

  9. #9
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    I like ultrabooks as well, mine is Lenovo Yoga 910, my big daughter is using Yoga 920, the small one an older 13-13.5" Yoga.
    Yeah...prefer UltraBooks myself....the lighter weight and portability. I have a Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon X1. Wife also has a Yoga.
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  10. #10
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Its cellphones, everyone does everything on cellphones. That being said **** email, I don't even have a cellphone and I avoid email. lol

    Unless young people need more power than a cellphone can offer, or have to type something long up, its all gonna be done on a cellphone or tablet these days.

    Long term if this continues, and if consoles get better, its gonna make things too costly to build custom gaming PCs.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    No matter what it is that I use, I need a keyboard to feel comfortable. I would rather chew tinfoil than have to type something in on a phone. With that said, I have started to embrace verbally entering my texts and it seems to be working out quite well. I hesitated using it since I remember the days when voice readers were not worth the code they were programmed on.

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by essaydune
    I view a laptop/computer as a tool. Especially for someone in school. This has not turned out to be the case. I have to tell you, I don't think I've ever seen them bring their laptops to the house when they come to stay for the weekend. They will only be on their phones. When they do bring their laptops they are using it to view YouTube only. Personally, I don't think any of them even have a clue as to what you can do with a laptop, honestly.
    I have noticed the same thing about my nieces. We have a laptop but they never display any interest and just sit in their phones playing games or watching TikTok. Of course they only nine and ten years old and I hoped when the time of school essays and projects comes they'll learn everything I want to show them. Now I doubt that...

  13. #13
    Elite Member TonyT's Avatar
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    My observations:
    The primary use of computers (laptops & desktops), tablets and phones is entertainment. Just like TVs are for entertainment.
    The secondary use is is motivated by other purposes, i.e. production of some type such as edu, work, etc.

    Portability is a factor too. With a phone one can have entertainment 24/7 as well as communications; email, social networking, etc.

    Vision is a factor for me. When I reached my 50s my perfect vision began to diminish slightly. I wear reading glasses when using my laptop or desktop. I never use my phone for entertainment. Phone resolutions are very good today but I don't enjoy entertainment on a small screen.

    Affordable computers in the 1980s and forward were primarily sold as tools for data management. The WWW and Internet opened the door to online entertainment. It was pretty crappy until broadband hit the scene. And even then, the 1.5 mb connection was not enough for quality online entertainment.

    Today's youth don't have the luxury of knowing what slow Internet is. And the mobile devices they use have more power than the totality of computers used to put a man on the moon!

    Our culture is evolving.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    I became interested in computers a little over 20 years ago. Computers really got my attention when I saw how affordable setting up a home recording studio could be. Being an amateur musician... This functionality really pulled me in. In those days you need to learn how to setup something like a sound card in order for it to work properly. There were a lot more BIOS problems back then and you had to learn out of necessity.

    About the same time I began to learn and understand how powerful MS Office could be and how I could apply these programs in ways to run our office more efficiently. I dove right in with MS Access, started creating databases and actually sold one of them to the company. You have to know that I began working in offices before even fax machines were universally used. There were so many processes that could be improved upon that I dug into MS Office big time! Back in the beginning, people in the office would come to me and ask if I could make something that they had in mind and I basically said yes to everything. In those days I was mister big.

    I guess now you can probably find an app that someone designed for almost anything you need. Everything is drag-and-drop. There is very little thought given to how things work, you just find the right app and never give it a 2nd thought.

  15. #15
    SG DC Team Member Paft's Avatar
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    I suspect a lot of it is that user interfaces have reached the point where they are "pick up and understand". There's no incentive to learn what goes on under the hood because everything a person really needs to do is easily available. It's not a bad thing, per se, but it is sad to see that sense of exploration and wonder slowly fading away to be replaced with this idea of, "This is just a tool and entertainment device."

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Hi Paft, very well put. That's exactly what's happening in my view as well. The young generation has too many easy tools and distractions to have the incentive (or time, for that matter) to explore deeper. While this might be great for casual use, it doesn't always work for more complex tasks and projects, delaying our obsolescence a bit
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    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    I agree with Paft and most of the above. I think if I was to distill it down, there seems to be a lack of interest and curiosity about way too many things in the people I come in contact with. Not only with computers, but in general.

  18. #18
    SG DC Team Member Paft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Hi Paft, very well put. That's exactly what's happening in my view as well. The young generation has too many easy tools and distractions to have the incentive (or time, for that matter) to explore deeper. While this might be great for casual use, it doesn't always work for more complex tasks and projects, delaying our obsolescence a bit
    That is entirely the truth! Even now when there are issues, I often find myself having to teach the younger folks (good lord I'm old enough to say 'younger folks' unironically) troubleshooting techniques and how to investigate problems with their devices on more than just a basic surface level. Once things get complex, I find the surface understanding of devices and technology just falls flat on its face. But as you said - it does delay our obsolescence and heck, it's nice to be needed once in a while!

  19. #19
    SG DC Team Member Paft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easto View Post
    I agree with Paft and most of the above. I think if I was to distill it down, there seems to be a lack of interest and curiosity about way too many things in the people I come in contact with. Not only with computers, but in general.
    I have to wonder - do you think there's a way that we can work to get that sort of thing back in upcoming generations? I understand the apathy completely - the world, especially in the last decade or so - has felt very stale and hostile. Escapism is at an all-time high, and I don't blame anyone for going for that option. Still, there's got to be a way to open those mental doors, you know?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Easto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paft View Post
    I have to wonder - do you think there's a way that we can work to get that sort of thing back in upcoming generations? I understand the apathy completely - the world, especially in the last decade or so - has felt very stale and hostile. Escapism is at an all-time high, and I don't blame anyone for going for that option. Still, there's got to be a way to open those mental doors, you know?
    In general, I really feel that a certain penchant for knowledge has fallen by the wayside. Re-instilling that might never happen. But, the ones who do have that thirst for knowledge and that question everything are the ones who will advance and become the leaders and entrepreneurs of the future. The remainder will only be widening the wealth equity gap and complaining that life isn't fair.

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