Kids today can’t troubleshoot or know how to “use” computers

I think what these folk are lamenting is that ‘younger’ people show very little interest in learning to understand how the technology they interact with actually works - to the point they can’t even be bothered to self service with some basic troubleshooting…

Is the drive to understand technology on the decline? Maybe, possibly even. Ultimately it’s probably pretty hard to say from anecdotal evidence, but there are also a LOT of people that can’t change a car tyre or change a leaky tap valve…

We pay an annual fee for roadside service now so I will never change a tire again if I can help it, but I changed quite a few back in the day.

Humans have been specializing labor for thousands of years now. It’s why we are where we are. It won’t be long before AI troubleshoots our computer problems so we don’t have to. I’ll pay an annual fee for that service too.

It’s just more “things were different in my day”. Why should kids know how to troubleshoot or use computers?

Computers were hard. And still are in some ways. But now, they mostly work, when before, you actually had to do some troubleshooting to accomplish stuff, now, it mostly works, and if it doesn’t, maybe you have other alternatives that you didn’t have before, even if the alternative is having someone fix it / getting a new one.

Computers went from something that only some people had to use to stuff that pretty much everyone uses, someone who loves computers might be down to fix some annoying issue, someone who just wants the damn thing to work and get on with their life, maybe not.

It’s like people who had to build their own cars complaining that these new motorists with their mass produced automobiles aren’t the same kind of people as them.

Yeah, the author of the article is a bit optimistic in what people should know. But knowing how to check cables or what an on/off switch is isn’t specialized knowledge. And knowing that a browser window claiming all sorts of things about your computer is fraud, or how to pick a good password, or that using someone else’s computer for your data means it’s also usually their data (and plenty others as well), there are still things that people should know, to be safe that no one can solve for them.
As much as like being a magician by just knowing how to use Google…

Right, but you know when it’s bad, why it needs changing, and that you don’t need to change the oil to do it, even if you don’t do it yourself. And the tire doesn’t steal your personal information if you have the wrong pressure.

An AI will just recommend the windows solution, reinstall in 5 minutes. It’s not entirelly a bad idea, it works and doesn’t leave your old files in permission hell anymore.
And also because AIs are dumb, fragile, and compromisable networked things for the forseable future, but kids these days don’t understand that either.

I work in a vocational school (for 16–19-year-olds) where we have an information technology programme. One of the IT teachers told me that many students apply to the programme not because they are into computers but because they like cell phones. In fact, many lack the basic software skills that we have taken for granted (i.e. how to use Word, Excel, or Power Point).

Some students get free laptops for the duration of their studies. Another teacher told me that some of those students might not even know how to navigate a Windows operating system: they have difficulties locating files etc. Those laptops are given to them because the government thinks that using computers for learning is what kids do these days. It turns out that adults are, once again, behind the curve when it comes to understanding young people.

I think that’s a difference, too, between generations. Frankly, I’m a little younger than you, and changed probably a half dozen tires in my life. Colleagues ten years younger have often never changed a tire – and many cars don’t even come with spares any more (no donut, no nothin’!)

I think what drives the difference in computer/tech literacy, however, is different: I think it’s all about need. When we were all growing up in our computer-ness, you needed to learn the basic troubleshooting in order to make your computer work. Professional troubleshooting was largely unavailable, and when it was available, it was expensive. Now it’s sort of baked in that you don’t need to really know how your computer works, you can just pay someone to deal with the problems.*

I suspect that some of that attitude reflects the bias of Qt3 largely being older, and perhaps a bit more financially stable, than the average in the population.

*over the pandemic I had a friend who asked me to replace the LCD panels in four different laptops because his kids broke them. Post-pandemic, he’s only asked me to do one more, but I understand he’s become good friends with a local computer repair place.

Wow, I never realized that one of those whiny video game kids is Elijah Wood until I saw this screenshot!

My last car came with a donut, and good thing too because it seemed to be a magnet for flats. The Kona I replaced it with just has a fix-a-flat kit thing. Which I guess makes sense if the idea is to get the tire to where it can be replaced?

Anyway, I think the comparison is accurate. The more mature the technology(car, computer) the less in-depth knowledge you need to just keep the thing working or to have it do what you want and therefore the less you’re likely to learn that stuff.

The only thing that really bugs me about that is when I, as the resident person knowledgeable about computers, recommends an unpalatable fix and the response is anger towards me. Teenager got really upset at me(I know, teens) yesterday when the solution to their computer refusing to connect to the network was “restart the computer” because they “had a bunch of stuff open” as if I was holding back the proper canticle to restore the network machine spirit.

My current car has runflats, so it doesn’t come with a donut. It makes them just fine thought!

Well, it would, if I were so inclined…at my current age I am mostly past such shenanigans. But I know how making donuts works, damn it!

You inspired me to go fix my leaky tap valve. Stupid design has an extremely narrow purchase so channel locks are useless. Supposedly a 24mm socket will fit. But both my sets only carry up to 21mm.

Buying 24mm socket + 2 valve cartridges = $27. Then I see I can buy an entire cheap fixture for $30. That also means I don’t have to figure out which valve cartridge I need. Disposable culture has won again!

Well, I think there are two different things here.

  1. Do random people from the youngest generations have expansive understanding of computers and IT? No. Why would they?

  2. Do random young people have a basic understanding of how to operate consumer grade electronics like phones, tablets, etc? Yes. They are much better than boomers at this kind of stuff.

I can imagine an analog of someone from a prior generation being able to deal with knowing how to drive a car, but not being able to fix it.

When I saw the thread title, I thought, “ok boomer”.

“Kids today…” followed by anything will probably never make one hip or cool, lol.

Kids today are a good source of donor hips.

An interesting aside:

My son grew up watching me use a computer. He started very early, playing games like Master of Magic. One result of this is that he is an amazingly fast typist. Pretty sure he told me that he was tested in class at ~100 wpm.

yeah… it was a real nightmare getting the right tap valve… by nightmare I mean, an hour on my tablet squinting and holding up the valve to my ipad screen to see if it proportionally looked exactly the same, since all the numbers I could run gave me matches for compatibility, but had a different width for the places the metal bevelled or changed shape.

Finally I pulled the trigger… two days later I get them, they fit, but the 1mm difference in where the metal touches the handle means I have an eensy teensy gap, and I had to rummage for another hour to find screws that would fit the different holes.

But yes, I am happy that I didn’t have to have a plumber over for £80 to tell me he’d have to trawl hardware stores to find a suitable fit and come back for another £80 to tell me it wasn’t a good match and that for £30 I should just buy a new tap fixture that for £80 he’d install for me.

Makes sense to me, printers and scanners have always been bastards. The rest of the stuff, they simply haven’t encountered it before. Once they know to look in the calendar invite for the teams link they’ll never ask that question again. Kind of a slow news day type of article.

Yeah, find me a time when office workers at large didn’t struggle with how to use printers and scanners.

I mean shit, it’s even part of the joke in a movie that came out almost 24 years ago.

This is like boomers being annoyed millennials did not know how to use fax machines. Why should Gen Z know this junk? Life moves on