Digital natives are more patient than children of past generations

New technologies have brought a host of screens. Smartphones, tablets, videogames, computers, all these devices offer a multitude of content in real time. Nowadays, waits are reduced for activities such as watching a movie or accessing certain knowledge. Has this made digital natives a generation? impatient?

According to a new study published in the American Psychological Association, children today are much more patients than those born in past generations. A result achieved after repeating the "marshmallow test", a test that was used in the 60s to measure this capacity in the smallest and that has been used again in the present.


More patience than your grandparents

To measure the patience of the little ones researchers they used, as has been said, the "marshmallow test". A test that consisted in exposing a bauble in front of the children and making them wait 15 minutes before being able to eat it, if the child meets this requirement, he receives two of these items.

Although the results of the study conducted in the 1960s showed that the youngest were able to wait an average of 300 seconds before eating the bauble, those born in 2000 could wait more than 400 seconds. Some data that even clashes with the perception that parents have their children and that 72% of parents thought their children would not be able.


Among the reasons that could have given rise to this explanation is the growth of the Abstract thinking rigged to new technologies. A fact that can contribute to the increase of the abilities of the executive function, allowing the children to have a greater control over their decisions, such as delaying the ingestion of the bauble.

It can also be explained from the improvement in levels of education. In the decade of the 60 the amount of minors schooled was much smaller than the one of the present time. Going to school teaches social norms such as waiting and improving attention, two qualities that enhance patience in the youngest of the house.

Lead by example

Patience is a value that helps the little ones can unwind effectively in social environments such as school and in the future within their jobs. Like other skills, it can be taught at home and nothing better than preaching by example:


- Self control. Do not lose your temper in front of the children, you have to stay calm and show the children that you can wait.

- Remember the goal. As in the test used in this study, teaching children to keep the goal in mind will help them to know how to wait and get a better prize.

- Work on relaxation techniques that allow evade in the moments where patience can be ballasted, take note of the tools that work and put them into practice.

- Not encourage the impatience remembering the smallest events they want and excite them by making them want that moment to happen immediately.

Damián Montero

Video: Raising a Digitally Literate Generation | Lis Zacho | TEDxCopenhagen


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