Why kids today are getting smarter
Kids getting smarter

Children now often start school already knowing how to read and write. They’re also a whiz at technology, often better than many adults. Kids also seem to know and understand complex ideas at younger ages. For example, I recently heard of a seven-year-old creating and selling her own mobile app, and a 10-year-old running her own candle company!

Why kids are so advanced today

Many parents ask me why kids are so switched on now. Is it our healthier diets, the development of our brains over the generations, or maybe the types of medicines we now have access to? Intelligence and smartness is complex and all those factors are important. However one particularly important reason is the world children have been born into. Today’s world has particular features, which affect what children learn and how fast they learn it.

Higher levels of education

Children now go to school for longer and have high quality early education programs before starting school. These two factors, in particular, influence a child’s ability and success. There are also changes in what children learn. Curriculum today doesn’t focus on memorisation as it once did. Instead it focuses on applying ideas to new situations to solve problems. Research consistently tells us that being a good problem solver is vital to how well we’re able to learn new ideas and tasks.

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Access to unlimited resources

Unlike many of their parents and grandparents, kids today now have access to a global world of knowledge via the media and internet. Think of this as a shift from accessing a very small, local library to one that extends the length of the globe. What this importantly means is that children don’t need to only rely on their parents’ ideas or those of people in their local network to shape their thinking.

They now have access to an endless range of books, images, data tables, videos, blogs, games and other resources produced by different people with different ideas and knowledge. Their global library helps them to think in ways children have never been able to previously.

Valuing of children

Another very important reason that children are exceeding our expectations is because we are letting them. It was once thought that children were empty vessels and we, as adults, would fill them with our knowledge. Kids were also expected to live by the rule that children should be seen and not heard. Both these lines of thinking suppress children’s activities and thinking. Children are unlikely to be business entrepreneurs in an environment that discourages this happening.

What all these factors have in common is that they are positive changes to the environment children are growing up in. We don’t know how far our children can succeed; it’s an exciting prospect. But what we do know is the importance of believing in children and supporting them in their learning.

Do you think kids are getting smarter?

This article was originally written by Dr. Joanne Orlando and adapted for Kidspot NZ.

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