What do kids today know anyway?

Internet age certainly doesn't make them any smarter

We often hear it said how well informed our young people are today yet three random incidents prove the exact opposite.

Just today I tuned in to Dr. Phil to see if he might be chatting with Rehteah Parsons’s mother who flew to California last week to tape a live interview about her daughter’s suicide in response to online bullying.

But Dr. Phil’s guests today were a couple feuding over the way the remarried wife finances her 23-year-old son’s living expenses, pays his child support as well as some months $1,200 for video games.

I heard the son say his mother had given him a bus pass so he could job hunt but he had never ridden public transit and didn’t know how. “If she would show me how,” he said, he would be able to look for work.

What an inconsiderate mother. Why had she not bought him a car and kept the tank full? Did she expect her baby to get by without his own set of wheels? How unfeeling.

The earliest incident to make me ask how well informed can our young people be came during the Florida trial for the Neighbourhood Watch member’s shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was on his way home carrying a can of soda and a package of Skittles when the Neighbourhood Watch member, who was not on duty, marked him as a burglar and in the ensuing encounter, killed the young man.

At the time Trayvon was shot, he had been on the phone with his friend, Jeantel, a 16-year-old girl. Jeantel had heard the shot that killed her friend before he dropped his phone and the connection was broken. Yet for two days she didn’t know Trayvon had been killed.

In court, she said she never watched TV news. And though she admitted to texting almost all the time, no one of her cell phone friends mentioned that grim detail to her. They were equally oblivious to circumstances around them.

Not knowing would require concentrated avoidance given the immediate outcry countrywide that spawned marches and demonstrations in front of government buildings especially court houses and police stations in many states.

More recently, a 16-year-old girl in California was abducted by a family friend after he killed her mother and young brother and torched the house with their bodies.

He fled with the teen to Idaho where he hid his car under brush before the two of them, with his grey cat, hiked into the woods equipped with little more than a light tent.

Amber Alerts were posted immediately but four horseback riders near Cascade, Idaho had been out of touch with media when they met the two hikers near Morehead Lake.

The riders thought the hikers looked poorly equipped for the terrain but it wasn’t until the riders reached home and were watching the TV news that they learned of the Amber Alert and recognized the girl on the TV screen.

One rider contacted the Boise sheriff’s office. With that tip, FBI and crack search teams flew to the area where the hikers had been spotted.

Seeing the cat near the two campers clinched their identity and the abduction soon ended with the abductor dead.

Interviewed on TV news only days after the search for her ended, the rescued teen said she had never before heard of an Amber Alert, had no idea what it was. This despite an average 2,100 Amber Alerts being issued every day in the U.S.

Mark Twain said, “The man who doesn’t read is no better off than the man who can’t read.” Kids today can be as ill informed as I was with only radio and weeklies.

Claudette Sandecki keeps informed about the world at large from her Thornhill home.