The Kids Are Not Alright

As a copywriter who has been around for a few years, I sometimes worry about the future.

Will supercomputers that “think” like humans someday make me obsolete? We’re probably awhile off from that.

Will the natural aging process slowly eat away at my mental function, thus rendering me ineffective as a writer? At some point, but god-willing long after I’m retired.

Will the children and young adults of today develop superior copywriting skills, undercut my prices and put me out of work? I used to think so, but …

Every few months I come across a news item that puts my mind at ease. In fact, I’m hoping some enterprising website or newspaper will start a series called, “Boy, Young People Are Stupid!”

Case in point #1:Connected, exhausted,” from The Boston Globe. Teenagers are constantly on alert for texts from friends — to the point where many can’t even get a good night’s sleep. This, in turn, leads to illness, stress, poor academic performance, etc.

Researchers at the JFK Medical Center sleep laboratory in Edison, N.J., found in a 2010 study that teens sent an average of 33.5 e-mails and texts overnight and that their sleep was affected. A National Sleep Foundation study released [in March] found that almost one in five teens ages 13-18 are awakened by a phone call, text message, or e-mail at least a few nights a week.

Case in point #2: an Associated Press story titled, “During boring classes, texting is the new doodling.” A recent study found that nine in 10 Wilkes University students text during class. It turns out that high schools and colleges are rampant with obsessive texters, much to the chagrin of their teachers.

“If it’s a really boring class, texting is a nice alternative to having to sit there and focus,” said Tom Markley, a senior computer science major at Wilkes.

What does all this mean to a 41-year-old copywriter like me? When I’m 61, today’s 21-year-old will be 41. He or she will be far too distracted, sleep-deprived, agitated and sickly to ever make it as a copywriter. And that means I’ll still be in demand.


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