Trending: Kids today can't even tie their own shoelaces ...

Kids these days, what do they know? Luke Blackall on the disappearance of everyday skills

One of the few constants in this world is that older generations will always wring their hands about the youth of the day, be it for their ignorance, rudeness or excesses. The latest news to worry anyone over the age of 30 is a study carried out by the energy company npower, which polled a group of children about what they can and cannot do.

The research discovered, among other things, that 45 per cent of them could not tie their own (or, presumably, anyone else's) shoelaces and 65 per cent did not know how to make a cup of tea.

Some of these deficiencies could be cause for concern, such as the fact that more than a third of those questioned "didn't care" about the environment, while around half said that was all right because "in the future we'll be able to live in space".

Yes, it's easy to wonder whether to laugh or cry, but it seems questionable whether the quiz is particularly fair. I don't remember many in my primary school who were able to read a map or build a camp fire at five or six (a sizeable chunk of those polled), while some of the skills look like the sort that you acquire in your teens.

The other way to look at it is that young people are making efficiencies.

We are often reminded that not only are today's children overwhelmed with information, but that childhood is becoming increasingly truncated, so why should they learn skills that are of questionable value anyway?

So 72 per cent can't make papier mâché. Who cares? It always produces the ugliest crafts at school anyway. And while being able to recognise three different types of butterfly might have been a pre-war badge of honour (now 91 per cent of kids cannot), for today's youth, the ability to log on to the internet (58 per cent can) is surely far more important.

And technophobic parents across the land should be grateful that two thirds of their little darlings are there to help them work the DVD player.

Surely the big thing to worry about on the list was that only 31 per cent could send a text message – now without that ability, how will they possibly survive in the modern world?

CAN AND CAN'T DOS OF MODERN YOUNGSTERS

Children aged 5-13

Top five cans:

Work a DVD player 67%
Log on to the internet 58%
Play computer games on games console 50%
Make a phone call 46%
Use a handheld games console 45%

Top five can't do's

Recognise three types of butterfly 91%
Repair a puncture 87%
Tie a reef knot 83%
Read a map 81%
Build a campfire/Put up a tent 78%

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Service and Installation Engineer

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: SEO / Outreach Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Estimator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Negotiator - OTE £24,000

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic individual is r...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?