I have 11 whatsapp & 9 Facebook groups that I manage. The number of members in all is roughly around 300,000. And among all the members — the most hyperactive, highly engaging & heavy-duty users are youngsters. That is why it is not uncommon for me to receive emails from youngsters with regards to their dreams, goals, visions or problems.
However, there is a wide spread problem I believe is truly impacting today’s youth. And it worries me.
The problem is ‘access to information’
Now you may assume that we can solve this problem by making the internet cheaper, bringing out cheaper smartphones and ensuring that the information is kept open & uncensored.
However, this I feel is making the problem worse simply because you haven’t understood what I meant by ‘access to information’.
By access to information, I meant that today’s generation has too much access to too much information. And because of this limitless buffet of information variety — today’s generation has unlimited options to choose from be it a career, be it a education or be it a lifestyle. And this exactly is a MASSIVE PROBLEM.
Let me share with you a few questions I received the past few days.
- I read about sex change surgery. How do I know if I need it or not?
- Which book should I read so that I can earn a million dollars within next year?
- Since you got a tattoo done, do you think its okay for me to opt for breast enlargement? I want to have a body like Kim Kardashian.
- I have read nearly 60 books related to stock markets and I also subscribe to articles related to stock markets. However, I lost $10,000 of my friends money while trading. What do I do?
- Hey bro! Reading your story I felt I was reading my own story. I am also a rebel, I hate rules & I have failed in most of my subjects. I’m thinking of dropping out of school. What advice would you give me so that I can live a life like yours?
Now — tell me something.
Where do you think these kids got all this information?
Today’s kids read any garbage online and almost immediately they subscribe to whatever like they say ‘floats their boat’ or gives whatever they wish to believe ‘legs’ to make that belief stronger.
In fact, you will be surprised to know, I have gotten advice like:
- You should try the productivity hacks of Tim Ferris
- Stop making fun of Bit Coin. You know nothing about it.
- Why don’t you start surfing the dark web to see how you can push your brand?
And these nuggets of advice were offered to me from 13 to 18 year olds living under their parents roof.
Now I am not trying to imply there is nothing new I can learn from the youngsters of today. I am always in touch with them. In fact, being introduced to Quora, Medium, Reddit was all courtesy of these youngsters.
However, can real world experience, real life mistakes & the real essence that comes from years and years of living on this platform come from articles, videos & theories online?
In fact, the bigger question I want to pose to you is this:
- How do you know what information today’s youngsters are receiving are worth subscribing to? How do you guide a kid who believes in Chakras, Crystal healing & Speaking to the Dead — simply because some quack-job in some part of the world wrote about it?
- How do you convince a youngster who gives you 20 examples of school dropouts who have become ‘billionaires’ and thus justifies him dropping out of school? And yeah — when you show him real life cases and examples of people who have failed — he gives you the cliche answer “You are focusing on the glass that is half empty and not half full”
- How do you debate with a youngster who gives you the BS about ADHD and states the reason he cannot focus on his education, read, study or be disciplined is because he read books on ADHD and now firmly believes he has ADHD - Invariably refusing to take personal responsibility?
There are tons of problems that we all face in our lives. But this overwhelming access to free flow information is what is the biggest problem our youth are facing today.
If I were to single it out, I would say that giving youngsters access to so much information has given them the “Illusion of being knowledgeable, smart & intelligent” And this in turn has lead them to believe they are better than us ‘oldies’.
The challenge is when you have all the time in the world to just browse online and kill time while most adults are figuring out how to pay bills it is but obvious that an youngster would know more than us oldies. However, in the end — what really matters is not what you know online but what you know in real life. It is just like someone know it all kid who knows what to do if a rattle snake bites you because he read it online, watched the video online & discussed about it with his friends online. However, when the real rattle snake does arrive in front of him — the snake handler would do what is required. Not the online expert.
Personally, I have stopped speaking, interacting and discussing anything with most of the youngsters of today simply because:
- I do not have the time
- I do not have the energy
- I do not have the luxury to waste time & energy on people who have boundless energy to argue until they become blue in the face.
- I do not benefit from speaking to these mindless, senseless & headless generation who feel they know everything BECAUSE they are an app away from reading yet another article, watching another video, downloading another PDF or subscribing to another online bullshit bazooka bonanza course (which was going for $47 for the 1st 10 people)
- And yeah — because my Daddy & Mummy don’t earn for me, pay my bills and give me FREE food, FREE accommodation & FREE wifi connection. I am not resting on their shoulders and talking big. Rather I have people resting on my shoulders for their survival.
I have a simple thumb rule.
You want to talk — make money and show me.
If you can do that — fine, I’m game.
I will listen to you.
If however, you are talking based on your ‘expertise’ of reading something online, viewing some video online or discussing with your online buddies WHILE mummy & daddy are busy working to support your sorry ass — my friend, I do not have time for you.
My wife is 4 months pregnant now. And in another 5 months, if everything goes well, we both will welcome our baby into this world. I for one have made up my mind, my kid will not get a smartphone, will not get FREE wifi connection, will not get a iPad and will not get any gadgets or gizmos that will allow her to create an online profile anywhere.
My kids future, my kids upbringing and my kids education — I will provide. The food, accommodation & schooling — I will provide. However, all the nonsense that is online — that will be strictly regulated by me. And I am not going to be one of those puppets who will dance to the tunes of their children’s tears.
There is a lot of merit of folding your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. That the world calls real-world-experience. And I can assure you this much — this is one thing I will ensure my kid will have more off. And yes, hardly any ‘Social Media Superiority & Internet Based Core Competencies’.
After all — who seriously wants yet another Keyboard Warrior?