During the summer for the past several years, I have been involved as a counselor at a business camp for kids entering their senior year of college. I attended this camp myself as a high schooler and have been returning ever since as a counselor (I think I missed one or two years in that span due to other conflicts).
At some point I may comment on some of the merits and reservations that I have about the camp, but here, I’m just going to make a quick comment on an observation that I’ve made this year. We all know that smart phones are here in a big way and that everyone (except me!) has one. Ok, not everyone – but a lot of people. This year, then, it’s no surprise that more kids than ever have smartphones of some kind or another.
Every year we have a scavenger hunt where we send them off in search of different objects and tasks all over campus. At the end of the allotted time, they come to me to turn in all of the objects and get a bonus point if they are able to make me laugh. (I’m super laid back and love to laugh and have a good time, but when I decide that I’m not going to laugh, then I am usually tough to crack.) What I noticed more this year than ever before is that the groups didn’t try to make me laugh themselves – or if they did, then it was a pretty weak attempt that they gave up on very quickly. What they did do was go straight to their smart phones and youtube a funny video that they thought would make me laugh. Of course, there are tons of hilarious youtube videos on the internet. There are tons of youtube videos on the internet that make me laugh. But it just seemed a little different to me that they were so quick to rely on their smart phones and youtube content right away to try and make me laugh. There were only a couple of teams that tried their own content or jokes and even those were quick to bail on that and go to the youtube method. (None of the teams made me laugh – even though there were plenty of good youtube selections.)
It was just striking to me that none of the teams relied on their own humor or comedic ability. This is definitely different from past years.
Is this a crutch for a lack of creativity/originality?
Or is this simply an observation from their perspective that states, “Hey, this is what makes me laugh, it should work for him…”
Or is this simply a new medium through which creativity is channeled or expressed?
Again, this is kind of a quirky observation, but one that struck a funny note with me. I haven’t quite decided what my position on this is exactly. For now, enjoy this montage of funny youtube videos….it’ll certainly make you laugh more than I could! (Babies are always funny!)
*It may also be worth noting that I’ve found that the kids are having a harder and harder time being creative and working (in other aspects of the camp) without the aid of technology. Asking a kid to work with construction paper and markers to sketch out an ad campaign or logo is like asking him/her to grow wings and fly to the moon. In a lot of cases, they seem lost without a computer and graphics software or google images to insert into fancy presentations.
**I realize that I’ve been away for a while, and I apologize. It’s been super busy and I’ve been away from a steady supply of technology. I may write a few posts detailing some of my activities while I’ve been away, but for now you can ponder the wonders of technology. Or is it the lack of creativity of kids today? Or is it just a different medium through which creativity is channeled or expressed? Or is it something else entirely? I don’t know anymore…