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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?