I enjoy reading and have read many books throughout school and just for fun. However, The Dumbest Generation, by Mark Bauerlein, was so far removed from fun that it made my skin crawl. Even though it was for a class, I have never disliked a book more. Mark Bauerlein is off his rocker and should be locked up for the serious stereotyping and downgrading he wrote inside the cover of this book. He threw all people, under 30, into one big bowl and said they should not be trusted because of this or that. On the cover, the words were there, “OR, DON’T TRUST ANYONE UNDER 30.” In other words, we are all the same. I don’t think everyone over 30 is the same or shouldn’t be trusted. Even though, there are the select few I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them. But, I don’t lump everyone inside the same category like Mr. Mark.
I am part of the “dumbest generation,” so maybe, I take this a bit more personally than say a thirty-two year old reading the book. I don’t know how the author decided to draw the line in the sand at age 30. There are people of every age that take technology a bit too far and forget about the books. Have you seen “The 40 Year Old Virgin?” Case in point, this movie is set in a Best Buy look alike store and the guy is surrounded by screens all day long, every day. I don’t believe he really picks a book, say Shakespeare, the whole movie. This guy is forty years old. It doesn’t matter how old a person is, they are capable of losing themselves in technology and forgetting about real life, books, or music.
Overall, I was severely disappointed in how the author went about discussing the matter. Yes, technology can become addictive and lead to poor writing, reading, and test scores. However, there are those 30 year old and younger members of society, who successfully contribute. There are those who read classics and correctly write. There are those who do well on tests.
I took from this book a lot of negatives. However, there is one positive. I realize that, as a teacher and parent, I have an enormous responsibility to the students in my classroom and my son. The children need to know how technology can take them places they may never see. It can provide many opportunities. It can provide new and innovate ways to learn and communicate. But, they also need to know about all the great books available to them. They need to know life doesn’t revolve around a computer, or any kind, of screen. They need to be able to communicate in person. As adults, teachers, and parents, we need to create a healthy balance between screens and real life. Our students and children are not going to create the balance themselves. It is like when children are learning to tie their shoes, they need someone to show them the correct path.