Kids aren't less likely to achieve because of iPads

Carlos Acosta felt inclined to make a statement about the younger generation, but it doesn't contain any truth

Related Topics

That’s it. It is the end of days. The last great deeds have all been done. We are now reduced, for the short while we all have left, to staring into our smartphones in amazement at all the wondrous things humanity used to be able to do.

“In the new generation the passion and the commitment has diminished. Everything has to be easy,” mourns 40-year-old Carlos Acosta, the great creaking grandfather of the ballet. “And ballet is very, very hard.”

“With phones, computer games and DVDs kids are always distracted, always entertained,” he has pronounced. “If you have so many other things to help you make it through life, why try hard to achieve anything?”

Yes, it’s true. Farewell to Arts. The baton of human progress has been laid down upon the altar of Candy Crush Saga, and the kids these days just don’t care.

Except, of course it hasn’t. As with every generalisation older people feel inclined to make about younger people (and vice versa), it contains not a grain of truth.

First of all, the fastest and most fundamental shift in the way the world functions in the last few years has been the kids leaving the adults for dead. If a great prancing ballet dancer had been put in the same Harvard dorm as Mark Zuckerberg and his pals, he would no doubt have castigated them too for wasting their lives on their computers.

But more to the point, in sports and drama and performing arts, for the most part the bright stars emerging all over the world have 10 times the ability and the dedication of those that went before.

Tennis is gleaming in the most golden of golden ages of ability to which the only comparison in the whole history of sport might be the heavyweight boxing era Ali, Frazier and the others.

Has Cristiano Ronaldo - whole stones of pure ripped muscle heavier than his already brilliant teenage self - been crippled by an addiction to his smartphone? No. Becoming arguably the greatest footballer in the history of the game is probably, like ballet, “very, very hard.” Yet somehow he’s managed it, and maintained an active Twitter account at the same time. A miracle.

Mr Acosta may be concerned that there seems no natural heir to his ballet throne, and that the world still waits for “the next Darcey Bussell.” He is probably right. But these things have a tendency to move in cycles, and the causes are myriad. One will come along in time, and, whisper it, he or she will probably be on Facebook (or whatever some 15 year old genius has replaced it with).

In the meantime, the kids are taking an awful lot of crap from an awful lot of directions for an awful lot of reasons at the moment, and yet they keep tweeting away, keep winning gold medals, smashing world records, headlining rock concerts, and becoming violin virtuosos, so the great demi-plié downturn might not be their or their iPad’s fault.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Glazier

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...

Recruitment Genius: Office and Customer Services Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Day In a Page

Read Next

The right election result could mean a change to our drug laws

Nigel Morris
Builders have been taking on apprentices and even turning to sources such as army veterans for workers  

The march of the apprentices

Chris Blackhurst
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot