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Old February 20, 2012, 08:48 PM   #44
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Join Date: November 8, 2007
Posts: 2,001
I think there really is a difference in the way the younger generations approach learning, compared to older generations.

"Reading the instructions" seems to be on the verge of becoming a lost art. And, I think that it is a by-product of the "electronic age" products that today's kids are growing-up with. When I buy something, I want to read the manual before I start using it. It isn't just a safety thing, it allows me to learn the item's characteristics, including its strenghts and weaknesses and how to best get it to do what I want it to do. At least, that used to be the case. Now, I find that the manuals are mostly just the bare rudimentary things that a beginner needs to know to START using something, plus a pile of pretty useless "warnings" that the legal department wants to be included to cover their ***es. These manuals are only thick because they are in 3 or more different languages, sandwiched together. They are ALMOST useless.

So, most electronic gizmos are learned by experimentation and getting insights from more experienced users for "features" that you have not stumbled over in your own experimentation. I watched a nephew use a Wii game that was new to him. He INTENTINALLY got his avatar killed and shot into all sorts of "improper" targets in as many ways as he could, over and over. I asked him why, and he said that is how he learns what the game really does. When he has finished doing that, THEN he starts playing for score.

That may actually be a decent way to learn a video game. But, it is a very bad lesson on how to live your REAL life. Your body, your friends' bodies, and your reputation don't have "reset" buttons and an unlimited number of lives to lose in experimentation. Real life requires a different approach in order to be successful. But, where is that being taught to today's kids?

I think this is what we are often seeing on this forum, where somebody wants a U-tube video or "just answers" from us. They probably have never been expected to actually study something in detail in order to learn how to avoid getting hurt by it. Accidents related to alcohol and drugs seem to be other examples of the "just do it" crowd finding-out the hard way.

Trying to explain the difference to the "just do it" folks almost always falls on deaf ears. So, I will start to give advice, but, if it is not received with interest, I usually just let it go with a wish that they don't hurt anybody.

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