Are Your Children Smarter Than You?

We were born in a different world to our kids. If you are over the age of twenty then you grew up without the internet, mobile phones and Sky television was something only wealthy families had. Computers weren’t as smart, businesses were a little less complicated, and we would spend our youth out on our bikes or creating imaginary worlds with our friends.

Today our children have access to the internet, smartphones, touch screen technology in the classroom. They learn basic coding from as young as six years old and can learn about anything they want by watching YouTube videos. With all this information available to them, are our tech-savvy children smarter than us?

Adults have the benefit of experience. So we have decades of applied knowledge, and this gives us a massive head start. But our children were born into generation genius, learning at the touch of a button. Once they master reading, they can learn from our experiences to strengthen their knowledge.

As we get older, we tend to take a longer time to learn new skills. You may think you have mastered the Apple iPhone, then your teenager sends you a screen recording, and you didn’t even realise this was possible. While you have been driving a car for the last twenty years, your six-year-old can beat you around Laguna Seca on his Playstation. He makes it look so easy while you are bouncing off every safety barrier and spinning onto the grass at every corner.

Children master new skills really quickly, especially languages. You’ll be struggling with translations in a foreign country, and your kids will be off ordering ice creams with all their favourite toppings and having full-blown conversations with other children.

Not only do children have access to better education, more interactive learning and the genius of google - Everyone's brainy best friend - they are also able to absorb and process information much quicker than adults. This is due to their brain function, which changes overtime. As adults, we become more rigid, and our experience can work against us. All the knowledge we have acquired can prevent us from learning. We can talk ourselves out of something, and our brain won’t absorb the information we need. There is also the argument that we have so much going on in our lives, that we simply don’t have the time to sit and focus on things the way children do.

When babies are born, they have to learn all the necessary skills quickly. This is to ensure they have the ability to survive. They have to learn to eat, speak, crawl, walk and ask for what they want. Some people claim children have more brain cells than adults, but the truth is, their brain cells are just connected differently. Over time these connections change because we simply don’t need to learn as many things, so quickly.

In young children, the brain is absorbing everything. When they hear speech, specific neurons in particular parts of their brain form more synapses - the electric or chemical signal that alerts another neuron. The more they listen to words, the stronger the connections are. During the age of one and two, your child's vocabulary will increase incredibly. Adults don’t have this same strength of signal as they don’t need to use that part of their brain so much. A new connection is made, perhaps for an enhancement in memory or processing. This is part of the reason picking up new information is harder for an adult.

It’s tough to define if our children are smarter than us. However, it is likely they will be more intelligent than us when they reach our age. While knowledge is essential, experience helps us to use that intelligence in the right way. We understand how to dip into what we know and use it in the right way to solve problems. There is a lot we can learn from children, especially when it comes to new technology or picking up a new skill, however, there is also a lot we can teach our children to help them know how to apply their knowledge in the right areas. Working together, we can discover new things and understand far more, especially if we allow our children to take the lead every once in a while. And, if you are still struggling with keeping up with your children, just remember that if you can’t beat them with knowledge, beat them with experience!

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