It found, for example, that while most of those aged between five and 13 years have no trouble operating a DVD player (67 percent) or finding their way around the Internet (58 percent), only 19 percent can read a map and 55 percent can tie their shoelaces.
UK electricity provider npower published the findings of its survey of 1,000 British youngsters on Monday.
Ask the young people of Britain to search for clips on YouTube and 37 percent will oblige; ask them to repair a punctured bicycle tire and 87 percent will be left staring at you open-mouthed as if you’ve just spoken to them in a foreign language.
And what’s this? Only 35 percent know how to make a cup of tea? Tea! The cornerstone of British society, no less. Now that really is shocking.
“The research indicates that today’s youths have lost their sense of adventure and lack skills, which older generations take for granted,” npower said of its findings.
The results also showed that 91 percent are unable to recognise different types of butterfly, 78 percent can’t put up a tent and 43 percent cannot recall seeing stars in the last month. Tech-wise, they’re doing just fine, with 43 percent able to use a smartphone and half able to comfortably use a games console like the Wii or Xbox.
“The latest figures are really shocking and I can’t believe our young people are so ill-equipped when it comes to practical skills,” survival expert Ray Mears said.
Mears continued, “When I was growing up, I was told ‘You don’t need equipment, you need knowledge to survive in the wild’ and this is something that I truly believe. Simple skills like putting up a tent can teach you important lessons that can’t be learned without doing them yourself. You learn how to work in a team and communicate with your peers; how to work under pressure and use logic and, most importantly, how to look after yourself and know your strengths.”
In response to the survey’s somewhat astonishing results, npower has teamed up with Mears to launch a Climate Cops SOS program designed to get young people excited about the outdoors. For the sake of Britain’s youth, let’s hope it works.