Internet

Google Generation Can't Find "Brittanie Speerz" on Internets

|

Kids today aren't as Internet savvy as the oldsters think, especially when it comes to search terms, according to a new study[PDF]:

It's true that young people prefer interactive systems to passive ones and that they are generally competent with technology, but it's not true that students today are "expert searchers." In fact, the report calls this "a dangerous myth." Knowing how to use Facebook doesn't make one an Internet search god, and the report concludes that a literature review shows no movement (either good or bad) in young people's information skills over the last several decades. Choosing good search terms is a special problem for younger users.

There's always a tendency to fear/hype new technologies and hand them off to the kids too quickly (remember the era of "my 10-year-old son has to program my VCR for me"?) But a non-negligible percentage of those same people who never learned to program their VCRs can now get and send text message on their cell phones from their kids or grandkids. The old folks can be taught, and they're more likely to try to learn if they don't overestimate the special skills their kids possess.

There's also this finding about what the "Google generation" is really like, which text-junkies like me should find reassuring:

They prefer visual information over text. "But text is still important… For library interfaces, there is evidence that multimedia can quickly lose its appeal, providing short-term novelty."

Via Freakonomics blog

Advertisement

NEXT: "I Have a Dream" — Listen Again and Be Moved

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Google Generation Can’t Find “Brittanie Speerz” on Internets

    I wish I could not find her anywhere else, either. Same goes for Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise and the rest of that ilk.

  2. Kids not as smart as grownups, shocking! Kids aren’t going to have the education or experience to know how to search related keywords and subjects that grownups do. It has nothing to do with computer literacy, you are just typing things into a box and hitting the “find” button.

  3. Well, the headline makes clear one reason why.

    To search for things online, you have to know how to spell.

    Google can correct some spelling mistakes, but not all.

    Also, the selection of search terms and search limiters requires the application of basic logic and probability, as well as a broad generalist background in the subject being searched and in the way information is typically organized. Smart people still have an advantage, even when the information is free.

  4. No surprise. I’ve spent the last 20 years in the IT industry. I am both shocked and little be relieved that those entering the industry can’t find the power button or resolve simple technical issues.

    Shocked because IT programs in schools continue to suck and that most people entering this profession are not entering because they like computers and gadgets but doing it just for a career (and before you say it – IT continues to be a great career path).

    Relieved as there is no way these newcomers are a threat to me. [grin]

    But damnit – they can frag me in Halo within minutes.

  5. The Freakonomics link is disturbingly wrong.

  6. John-David–The link to the Google generation article is in the sidebar on that page.

  7. The downgrading of the humanities in secondary education has made it so even the smartest kids don’t have the generalist background Fluffy refers to. If you have no idea what to look for you tend to have a hard time finding it.

  8. KMW,

    My mistake. For some reason, I was expecting to go to their old site, and I definitely didn’t see that link. My apologies.

  9. How many people still use boolean expressions?

  10. They prefer visual information over text.

    Text being, of course, non-visual information. Got it.

  11. Some of the most searched-for terms are aol.com, http://www.aol.com, aol email, myspace.com, and other URLs.

    People don’t know what a god-damned address bar is for.

    Ron Paul has shown up in the last few Wordtracker keyword surge reports.

  12. How many people still use boolean expressions?

    How many people even know anything about boolean algebra? I was taught the basics in ’75 by the US Navy. To be honest, I haven’t used it for so long I’d need a refresher to do the math/logic. But I’m certain I could find lessons on the internet in short order.

    I learned electro-mechanical analog computing back then as well. That art is almost dead.

  13. They prefer visual information over text. “But text is still important… For library interfaces, there is evidence that multimedia can quickly lose its appeal, providing short-term novelty.”

    That disturbs me a bit. I think one of the good things about the internet–particularly in the dark age of dial-up–was the revival of text as a means of communication.

  14. Text being, of course, non-visual information. Got it.

    It can be.

  15. Oops, I forgot where I was, J sub D.

    Hereabouts, I should have said: You dipshit, like you really didn’t get my point, which is right right right, that the turdhead author wrote fuckin’ sloppily. Yeah, like you’re trying to convince me that braille was the particular, or primary, or even part-of-the-set referent he had in mind. You cusswad, it’s jerks like you who tear the balls off useful, cogent, witty crtiques. Asshat. Kiss off. I’m outta here.

    Love,

    The modal H&R poster

  16. Google Brittanie Speerz and see for yourself.

    Click on – Did you mean: Britney Spear And you’re there.

    Do you really think kids are too dumb to do that?

  17. They prefer visual information over text.

    I hate to be the one to brake this to you….but text is visual information.

    Tasted any good books lately?

  18. Oooh, I could have so much fun with Joshua’s post!

  19. The modal H&R poster,

    You need a brake from your pedantry.

  20. I can crush my children in most aspects of technology, from the web to, yes, video games.

  21. J-D, ’twasn’t the homonym in, but the redundancy of his post what goaded me. Cf. 5:52pm et seq.

  22. ; – ) / a.k.a. you so smart | January 18, 2008, 6:46pm | #

    Oops, I forgot where I was, J sub D.

    Hereabouts, I should have said: You dipshit…

    J sub D can’t say “you dipshit”. He made vow…

  23. I didn’t say J should say it. I said I should have said it.

    Let it pass, let it pass.

    You dipshit.

  24. J sub D

    “J sub D | January 18, 2008, 6:27pm | #
    How many people still use boolean expressions?

    How many people even know anything about boolean algebra? I was taught the basics in ’75 by the US Navy. To be honest, I haven’t used it for so long I’d need a refresher to do the math/logic. But I’m certain I could find lessons on the internet in short order.”

    Shit, I only know enough to do “And/Or/Not/+/-/and ring groups… it was like common practice for research on large databases of text information… i remember hotbot was the preferred engine at the time.

    Still it’s handy on dogpile sometimes for locating something esoteric (that shares a lot of common terms to group/exclude) pretty quick. Google actually defaults to “OR” between terms overlayed by a relational scoring system based on # of links to the material & hits. Oh, plus i think they also layer in their ‘featured’ (promoted) links in the top 100 or so i think. I dont remember exactly what all the features are or if they’ve changed.

  25. Click on – Did you mean: Britney Spear And you’re there.

    Do you really think kids are too dumb to do that?

    I don’t know about the kids, but the adults are. I mean, won’t someone think of the adults???

  26. I learned electro-mechanical analog computing back then as well. That art is almost dead.

    The art of punching rectangular holes in stiff paper?

  27. I support bridging the fabricated generation gap, but I think “grownups” is a pretty childish word for an adult to be using.

    Intelligence and age are two entirely separate things.

  28. P Brooks | January 19, 2008, 12:08pm | #

    J sub D=
    *I learned electro-mechanical analog computing back then as well. That art is almost dead.*

    The art of punching rectangular holes in stiff paper?

    Not exactly. Its more like understanding the rules systems that govern how/why something responds to data inputs, and then creating ‘machines’ to do simple systemic tasks that are clearly defined. Like making torpedos hit targets or navigation tools for submarines etc.

    http://computermuseum.li/Testpage/AnalogComputers.htm

    its a lot like the basis for software, only in ‘tool’ form. Like ‘iron age’ equivilent of modern software systems.

    This series of movies “connections” with James Burke is wonderful in helping people understand how technology develops incrementally based on need. Fun stuff. If you’re on netflix, dig it up and put it in your queue.

    p.s. J sub D = i was in Navy post ROTC for 2yrs and managed to quit early to get into research business in private sector. Funny how things overlap places like here.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.