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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2012 entrée: David Kaye » » Are children different now than they were 20 or 30 years ago? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

David Kaye
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THis is the final question I would like to toss out to you. Again, I am researching for an essay I am writing.

(I listed the last question is the wrong format. I asked if doing magic for kids makes you a better all around magician. I listed the thread under, Another question from David. If you missed it take a look.)

New question: DO you think kids are different now than in the past? smarter? worse behaving, etc.

Eager to hear your thoughts.
David Kaye / Silly Billy
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Ba Ba Booey
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I think today's kids have a shorter attention spans. However, if you have an entertaining show, you can keep their attention.

Since the 80s, kids have been fed info/entertainment in 5-minute bites due to things like MTV, and now texting, tweeting, etc. In my opinion, they are no worse behaving than in the past, but the behavior just seems a bit different than that of kids in the past.

They are more tech-savvy, but I don't think they are necessarily smarter.

-Mark
RealityOne
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There are both similarities and differences. Kids still have the same sense of humor as I did when I was little. Seriously, they still tell the same knock-knock jokes that I did 35 years ago. Kids still love it when an adult pays attention to them and interacts with them.

The difference are in what it takes to entertain them. Look at children's television 35 years ago (pretty much Sesame Street) and today. Today's shows tend to be more interactive and more interesting. Look at Dora the Explorer or The Little Einsteins or even Bear in the Big Blue House. Thinking about attention span, each skit on Sesame Street was significantly shorter then an episode of Dora the Explorer - so maybe kids today don't have a shorter attention span.

If anything, we need to be more interactive and interesting to compete with shows like that. Let me rephrase that. I think the best children's acts today are interactive and entertaining. I think that in the past, acts that weren't interactive or interesting could slip by as being good enough. I think today that those acts will have a more difficult time.

For me, the important thing is that kids still have great imaginations and as long as there is imagination there will be magic.
~David

Any perception of reality is a selection of reality which results in a distortion of reality.
TonyB2009
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I may be wrong, but I think the only real difference is they are more tech-savvy. This evening my telly went off. I phoned the cable company, followed their instructions, and lost the entire reception. The whole thing went dead. My son tinkered around for five minutes, no instructions, and we have telly. Any kid can do technology in a way we will never be able to. But they still laugh at silly jokes, run around, shout, and do all the things we did.

I do think parents are less disciplinarians now than in my day, and that leads to politer and more confident kids, with plenty to say for themselves, which is great.
David Kaye
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Great answers!

I don't want to give away what I think. I want to hear from more of you. Then I will tell you my answer.
David Kaye / Silly Billy
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David, I'm 64 and here to say that kids today are MUCH smarter than the kids of my day in the fifties and sixties. Heck, I'm probably old enough to be YOUR father! And I agree with Tony B above in that one of the major differences is their tech abilities. Those young minds working on computers and the associated electronics, games, etc. will improve all kinds of abilities but mostly the ability to think. All we had was books and a long walk to the library; and maybe an Encyclopedia set at home that had to be updated every year. Today, all you need to do is Google anything you want and it's there for free, for inquisitive minds. Kids are finding this out at a young age and they're learning faster.

That's the intelligence side of things.

However, kids are still kids. And they do the same things that kids of my era did, and probably your era as well. Only instead of playing touch football in the street after school, they're gaming on the computer. Football may be healthier for exercise purposes, but the activities are still for fun, whatever they are.
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
Howie Diddot
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I believe kids are more aggressive than they were in the 50’s, they demand more for entertainment and they are easily persuaded by friends on what’s “cool” and what’s “lame”.

If the entertainment is not in 3D, Dolby or surround sound kids lose interest very quickly; Twitter and Facebook dominate lives; I tried to have a conversation with a teen a few days ago and the conversation was squeezed in between tweets.

TV, music and the movies has taught kids how to curse and be more sexually active with acceptance of the parents.

In the 50’s and 60’s when a boy became 18 they were required to join the Military, learned discipline and a trade, after being discharged, went to work.

Today we have many more gangs and very little discipline; with current laws in some cases a parent can be charged with a crime for slapping a child and leaving a mark.

I am not judging if this is right or wrong, it’s not the question here, the question is;

Is it different now than they were 20 or 30 years ago,

and my answer is yes.
Ed_Millis
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I think in American and similar societies (which do not necessarily reflect the rest of the world) we have created a child who becomes different than in years ago.

Up to a certain age - maybe six or seven? - you couldn't tell much difference if you put them up against one of us at that age. Same silly stuff, running around totally unconcerned about who thinks what.

After that, though, and this thing of becoming part of the world around them begins to creep in. And children being who they are, they will push to fit in and to be the best or most outstanding.

Okay, that's no different - but the world they're trying to fit into is vastly different than 35 years ago. Not just the tech, but the sexiness, the arrogance, and the violence are more accessible if not more prevalent to younger ages.

Kids themselves have not changed in their basic nature: they are still sponges absorbing whatever is around them, and fearless explorers with no understanding of consequences who will go to scarey places just to see what it feels like. But the world available to them has changed, and the processes of absorbing and exploring this current world gives us children who can be very different than we were.

Ed
Mr. Pitts
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I think we all have shorter attention spans. There have been studies that show are brains are being rewired by our media.. computers, iphones etc.. I don't think it's as bad among little kids though. A 4 year old is still a 4 year old. Their world isn't easily altered by a tv show or a video game. I've been performing since I was a kid myself, in the early 70's, and I don't think little kids are vastly different than they were then. Older kids are both more jaded, but also more aware and compassionate towards kids with disabilities. With progress and change, you gain stuff and you lose stuff.. attention spans are a bit shorter, it's harder to impress some groups. There's greater callousness and desensitization, especially among older kids, high school and college age (Bill Nye collapses onstage at a lecture and everybody goes for their cell phones.. not to call 911, but to get it on video.) But by and large, I think a relatively few years of electronic media doesn't undo millions of years of evolution. Humans beings, young and old, are still much the same as previous generations, for better or worse.
David Pitts
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David Kaye
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Thanks guys for such great and thoughtful answers.

I think younger kids 1-6 have not changed much. Their brains and therefore their development still takes the same journey as the kid grows up. But older than 6, things have changed. Mostly due to the quantity of experiences and information the kids have been exposed to. These older kids know a lot more than their counterparts 100 years ago who worked on a farm.

As far as attention span, not sure. Evolutionary changes take a lot longer to happen than one or two generations. Maybe instead of Attention Span we should be talking about distractions. If a child has a cell phone then he is going to twitter, and FB. But 20 years ago kids didn't have this, so there was no stimulus calling them to distract them.
David Kaye / Silly Billy
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rghale
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As an educator as well as a performing magician I think kids are not necessarily smarter but certainly more well acquainted with technology. Also, as a result of the many forms of entertainment available to them I find them vastly more discriminating. They do however appreciate live entertainment as opposed to the digital versions.
Payne
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Kids aren't any smarter than they were a hundred or even a thousand years ago. They are however far more sophisticated than they were even a decade ago. Don't mistake being tech savy with intelligence. They are good with technology because they have been exposed to it from birth. They however would be unable to saddle a horse, build a fire from scratch or forage for food in the wilderness. All talents their counterparts had a century ago.

As already pointed out kids will laugh at the same corney jokes and stunts that we did when we were their age simply because it is is as new to them as it was to us. Their attention spans have definately shortened and they will bore far more easily than we did when we were their age. After all we only had three or four cchannels of television and could only see movies in theatres.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
danfreed
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I'm only 45, so I don't have as much perspective on things as some people here. But with kids I usually have no problem keeping their attention during my show, and they often follow me around like the pied piper when I'm doing strolling or balloons, etc. Kids will still wait in line a long time for a caricature, face painting or balloon. Kids do seem to have shorter attention spans, but what we do is interactive and different, and they can only spend so much time playing the DS or WII, etc without getting bored. I'm a substitute teacher (very part time) for middle and high schools. It's hard to get and keep their attention when I teach (they are addicted to their Ipods and all that crap) and teachers have to be very firm with them and constantly tell them to put that stuff away. However, when I offer to show them a magic trick they love it and want to see more. With young people everything is so virtual and fake, but what we do is live and in real 3D. And they know we didn't do our tricks with CGI when they see us live.
Mr. Pitts
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You make a good point Dan, engage them with something real and in the present and it's almost a novel experience for them.
David Pitts
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David Kaye
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Payne,
Not sure about shortened attention spans. Wouldnt that take generations to alter genetically. I would define it as more distractions. They have a game console in their pockets. That is a big distraction. Even adults can end up sitting on facebook or youtube for hours without even realizing it. Do adults have shorter attention spans or are there just so many things to distract us?
David Kaye / Silly Billy
www.sillymagic.com
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