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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
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

SEN Teaching Assistant

£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...

Year 4 Teacher required for 2 terms

£21500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Accounts Assistant - Sales Ledger, Sage Line 50 - St Albans

£20000 - £22000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and w...

EBD Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?