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Gareth Nelson

Have to comment on this one:

I grew up playing tons of violent games, and they were incredibly fun (that of course would be the point in a game). Yet, I know how to context-shift between games where the violence affects only fictional characters or fellow gamers and virtual worlds where violent or disruptive behavior is precisely that: violent and disruptive.

The issue as always isn't the violent games/films/TV etc but the lack of ability to context-shift. Griefing on SL is on the minor side of the scale, in extreme cases someone who is already mentally ill may watch a violent film or TV show, or play a violent game, and then go and act it out. These same people will have their mental illness regardless of whatever input happens to eventually trigger it.

Those on the milder side, who can't truly be called ill as such but simply immature are just that: immature. With maturity comes the ability to say "GTA is just a game, robbing people or driving like a maniac in real life is not all fun and games and will get me a jail sentence".

Online in other mediums, we tend to call "Griefers" by the term trolls. In virtual worlds, the trolls just happen to use the tools of the medium to do their trolling. The main motivation for trolling has actually been studied academically:
This work is something i'd call mandatory reading for anyone who runs an online community of any description or who has an interest in the same and shows the main motivations for trolling in general as generally being attention-seeking behaviour of the same variety as real-world graffiti. People grow out of it, or they remain fairly pathetic scum for life. Don't waste your time giving them the attention they crave, let them get bored and they'll often just go away.

Clubside Granville

Loved the linked article. I would say that is the response of 89% of people who try Second Life (who am I kidding, more like 97%). While he mentions the lack of goals as motivation the real underlying issue is "things to do". He mentions the uselessness of the in-world games in comparison to 2D Flash games and there he is being generous.

"Most of all, he hated that he couldn't grief people."

I don't know where you got this from. He mentions never having heard the term "griefer" before Second Life, and the only thing he claims to have done that was "annoying" was running a dance animation during a voice chat. He wasn't there to grief and seemed to think the whole thing was possibly even SL-related, though we know that's not true. Essentially he used the one word definition of Second Life that is most apt to those millions who came and never returned: boring.

That will not change with the next generation. Or the next. Not as long as Second Life is what it is at the moment: IRC in a Doll House or text chat with Legos. Certain people will always love to create and Second Life can be a platform for that. But that group is small.

I'll use a crass metaphor with the gaming example I've raised many a time: if you could come in and play a traditional game, and Second Life is just a few additions away from supporting traditional first-person shooters, then you might take a break and check out the building and socializing, much like you might go to a museum or play your girlfriend wants to see as penance for sex. This is a universal example not a generational one. We're already at least two generations into "violent videogame players" and there will be even more of them. Just as there will continue to be jocks and the beautiful people and other standard cliques.

I wholeheartedky agree that the mixing of PG and M should end. Let there be a PG continent and be done with it. As far as mixing in the Teen Grid I have no opinion unless it affects the rest of us. I am sick and tired of the "what about the children?" garbage. That's for the parents not additional social-engineering nanny governmental crap. This country has already done a belly-flop into socialism or worse and the sad part is Americans sit there and take it.

As for Education in SL I don't see it. Despite being a developer of online educational systems they are meant to be tools of the teacher in traditional classrooms where people interact with other people in person. Social skills are tough to teach in a chat room. SL offers no tools for text collaboration which is essential. I really don't see a single thing Second Life brings to the table in the area of education.

The kids are not alright. To quote the waiter from Ferris Bueller: "I weep for the future."

Prokofy Neva

I don't think it's 97 percent, because there are 50 percent females and 50 percent males in this world of ours (real life) so I'd say that probably 97 percent of the males quit over the inability to play a game, a war game, and have things to do that entertain them.

And no, Clubside, read what he wrote. He was restrained from griefing merely by working for Cornell, that put a damper on his natural inclinations. But he longed to have them removed, and said very explicitly, that he thought people should "lighten up" on griefing and just take it in stride -- which means he wanted it to be authorized, enabled, legitmized.

There's no question in my mind that he himself would have been happy to grief, if by no other means than by shooting. You don't take a name like Roflcopter because you're interested in basket-weaving.

SL is boring *because they can't play war*. War *is* griefing in civilization -- people don't want it. Most of the people who own land and make houses or stores DO NOT want shooting, and view it as griefing. It is NOT a war game. People straying into SL and demanding that everyone turn it into a war game for their amusement are *in the wrong place*.

I disagree with the idea that elected, democratic governments cannot become responsive to parental concerns. This is too big a phenomenon, with too powerful an industry, for any one family to fight on their own. I don't see it as "socialism" for people to restrain the destruction of civil society; it's common sense, and good business. If virtual worlds are to thrive, they need to be civilized, and the shooters and griefers and gamerz need to be steered away from them.

I find your idea of male and female relationships distasteful, frankly, and not something I think even the shooter boys and girls expect. What young person is going to force themselves to go to a museum for penance in order to get sex? They aren't going to be doing that.

I realize it is your long-held dream that if you make combat villages that you will get people to stick, then they'll go do the other things. By all means, pursue that dream. That might really work for a niche.

It does not solve the problem of civilization, however. Male shooters destroy civilization. You cannot stop them. They will do what they wish. Let them go to WoW then. And put in social and mechanical restraints in other areas to encourage civilization. Start by having land default to "no shooting" i.e. SAFE instead of devault to UNSAFE, forcing someone to be shot before they can understand what to do.

In the end, I don't get what you are saying if you, too, are saying the kids aren't alright.

Your insistence on trying to morph the world to your own niche will only lead to frustration and failure.

Most people who are in SL do NOT want griefing and shooting, and they do not mind that it is a dollhouse with chat.

You'd make it even more defanged by removing the economy, stopping the land market, and just selling it like shelf paper. Of course, that harms the free economy greatly, and is a form of the socialism you purport to hate.

Why can't SL and other open-ended virtual worlds be civilized?

I think they can be used for education; first, they must become civilized.


Even in WoW there is a battle of wills going on between griefers and socializers. Instead semantics are used to label the socializing contingent as "casual players". Which they are not. But there is a huge push to unshard the WoW worlds and turn everything into a PvP slaughterhouse. Personally I don't mind player vs. player, I like the battlegrounds. The BGs allow everyone to let off steam and use some form of cooperative battle tactics. Obviously, Griefers aren't happy there either. They want constant harassment free from any loose social constraints that even WoW requires.

I think you are right, SL and other worlds like it, will most likely stay niche places. Or it will have tightly controlled niche shards, where the artists, creators and their attendant groupies will hang.

It seems our VRs will be just as tightly class bound as our RL.

Chloe Stewart

Yes these violent gamers are definitely not the ones we want running our country. We need good individuals like the street criminals of the 90's, the cokeheads of the 80's, the potheads of the 70s, the sex-fiends of the 60s, and the racists of the 50s.

You're right, this generation does have many problems, but liking violent video games and being dicks online pales in comparison to the traits of the generations past.

Furthermore, your claim that SL and current VWs are not games holds no water. The only real applications they have for the business world at this stage is glorified teleconferencing. Everything the VWs do at this point in time can be done simpler and more effectively in other fields. While griefing is not welcome at any rate, trying to say that viewing it as a game is wrong is just an ignorant claim to make.

Ann Otoole

People are stupid to behave stupidly online. Eventually they will be tagged and labeled as what they are which will limit their future. Males with a zeal to kill? Give them a "Potential Murderer" credit rating and ship them to Afghanistan and russia where they can be of use cleaning up the other side's version.

Now I'm not being totally serious about the shipping them off part. But I am serious about how stupid you are if you think your every action is not subject to monitoring.

Only a complete dumbass thinks such monitoring is not possible or feasible. And what is to stop corporations from doing it and then selling the data? Perhaps to governments who cannot perform such monitoring lest the politicians not be reelected?


Gareth Nelson

"Only a complete dumbass thinks such monitoring is not possible or feasible"

How much storage space and general monitoring capacity do you think it would take to monitor literally everything everyone does online? In actual cases where a wiretap is used to monitor someone's internet traffic it's a fairly large expense, even if they skip the manual decoding and go straight to the ISP for the sniffing.

John Lopez

Second life attracts the same crowd that was attracted to the MOOs (worlds where you could socialize and create) in the text days of virtual existence.

There were always a handful of MOOs, but a torrent of combat MUDs outnumbered MOOs in both quantity and population sizes back in the day.

So it comes as no surprise that the ratios remain similar, and that the same reaction of MUD players to MOOs is found in 3D Grind Gamers forced into Virtual Social Worlds.

The flip side of the coin is that businesses find operating in Second Life too much like a game, not enough like working. Yes, there are exceptions (Cisco, IBM, etc.), but even those are fairly depopulated in-world lately.

When we evaluated Second Life as a communication and collaboration option, it didn't take long to realize that VOIP, private encrypted IM servers, application sharing and good old e-mail communication worked better.

Second Life is too geeky and game like for professional use and too uptight and real-life restrictive for the kids. Yes, exceptional cases exist, but frankly I'm more interested in systems *like* ExitReality (which leverages the web, and allows building on top of it... although really, really poorly today) over Second Life for potential models of the virtual future.

ExitReality is a joke in the current state, but being able to leverage existing web content and having content constructed and hosted by individual website owners (gasp, just like we do with web content today!) makes far more sense than the centralized fail whale Linden Lab is currently foisting.

Chav Paderborn

"When examples of griefing come to include one’s choice of avatar name, such as the one I have chosen for myself, Roflcopter Robonaught"

It's just a name. It might make people doubt him a bit, but surely he's free to pick a name that's in internet-speak? Memekids =/= griefers automatically.

"Simply curse more and ban."

Though that does remind me of the phrase "CRY MOAR" so maybe he really is a /b/tard or at least very net-savvy. I like the word "moar."

Yezal Luminos

Newcomer to SL here (but not a newcomer to online games and VWs - just been out of the loop for a while for RL job reasons), and I agree with your premise Prokofy.

I'm actually hoping that the current economic downturn will cure some of this boredom. Not that I am at all happy about the state of the economy, but perhaps there is some smallish silver lining.

I think that a lot of these kids just suck off their parents as long as they can nowadays. So perhaps this economy will force some of them to get jobs, which may get them to appreciate life a bit more and to eventually stand on their own two feet. You know, stop being professional college students, living at home, for most of their twenties, foundering in boredom. There seems to be an epidemic of it these days, and I blame relatively prosperous parents who just can't muster the cahones to nudge the little snots out of the nest.

They don't appreciate things because they've been coddled by detached, 50K$ SUV and McMansion chasing, materialist parents, don't want for anything except a life where their parents actually pay them real attention and don't just buy them off with saccharine faux-praise, money, and toys, and therefore have a very warped perspective on life.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s and I blame a lot of this on my own generation. I have many, many friends, coworkers and aquaintances who are my age and have major problems with their kids. Bad behavior isn't dealt with like it used to be, now we just send them off to the doctor and let them create some kind of excuse for our own bad parenting.

When I was growing up, I knew ONE kid who was on meds for his behavior. One. Now, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all of the kids I know who are classified with some "disorder" and are medicated. "They're just misunderstood, talented little snowflakes!" No, they're not. They're just playing the all-too-easy game we've placed in front of them, and playing it well. Sometimes bad behavior is just bad behavior.

And to the poster that suggested the nanny-state monitoring - not only is that impossible from a tech standpoint, it's as much of a non-solution as diagnosing every other kid with some "disorder" and shoveling meds at them. Technology isn't well suited to solving social problems.

Prokofy Neva

The problem with your thesis, Yezal, is that if the economy tanks, there aren't jobs for kids, either, none of those McJobs that kids can fill, because adults who have been thrown out of full-time work will be grabbing the McJobs.

I know among my own family and friends, in the various situations where you find 20-somethings living at home, in fact they *are* working jobs. Even with a college education, they aren't getting *good* jobs. So they get the jobs at Home Depot, Olive Garden, Sam's Price Club, out at all the malls. They don't have the kind of job that can also support an expensive apartment in the vast tracks of suburbia that have these kinds of townhouses and apartments at huge prices. Add to that the car and gas expense of living in suburbia, and you are really stuck, sometimes for years.

So the key is having the kids do better in college, or set their sites lower to going to a very job-oriented community college where they earn an immediately marketable skill, instead of studying 19th century English literature which doesn't even get them a job as an insurance adjustor or real-estate copywriter these days, as those jobs are filled by moms who went back to work after taking some skills courses.

It really is a challenge, and not one I treat likely. However, having myself left home at 18 to make my way and having worked all through college and not had to rely on my parents for anything, I think there is a lot more that some kids could be doing. They sometimes find the Mcjobs beneath them.

I totally agree what you mean about the medicated, misunderstood talented little snowflakes. The results are visible everywhere. These medicated snowflakes play the video games all day, and those aren't preparing them even for a military career.

Yezal Luminos

That's definitely true Prokofy, and food for thought, but I do tend to lean towards your idea about finding McJobs beneath them. And yes, I do know some youngsters who do work them, bless them.

Interestingly, a friend of mine manages a Wendy's and she said that in the past few months, she's had many more applications from young people. She said that prior to last year, most of her applicants were Mexican. The problem though is - are these just the good kids whose parents don't have a lot of money moving back towards these jobs, or are they these drama vampires we find online? Probably the former, unfortunately.

When I became old enough to get a McJob, I spent an entire summer and then some applying anywhere and everywhere (from Sears to McDonalds to industrial jobs) until I finally landed a job at a pizza joint - which I held onto for dear life for three years until I left the nest at 18 and moved to attend college. There, I again spent a great deal of time job hunting until I finally landed one. I, like you, also paid my own way, not that there is anything wrong with parents paying for college, I just think that many parents today just sign the checks and that's about as deeply involved as they get in it.

My own experience was during the recession of Carter/Reagan era, so I do think it is possible for them to find work, even in this economy, though it will definitely be harder, as you allude to. But maybe that's the problem, maybe they are so used to taking the path of least resistance that they do view entry level positions as beneath them. Heck, they can't even entertain themselves. They're so boring and lazy that they have to harass others to get their jollies.

Disclaimer - by "they" I do not mean all kids. There are still many good kids out there - I mean these disaffected smart alecks who think they have life all figured out and yet, have probably not had to put in an honest day's work, ever, and who are so goddamned bored as a result that the only fun they find in life is drawing reactions from other people who are simply trying to work or recreate.

Cocoanut Koala

Some interesting thoughts.

As long as all us old codgers are gathered round the fire talking about what's wrong with kids these days, allow me to toss in my own pet theory.

"Survivor." And similar TV shows. Girls lining up begging to marry some conceited bachelor. Judges being brutal on American Idol and the like. And so forth.

People raised on this type of TV fare see little wrong with (a) public humiliation of others, (b) mob justice, (c) backstabbing, and (d) voting someone off the island.

Voting someone off the island - think about it. The idea is that we just get rid of the lesser mortals, the weaklings, the unpopular. And that idea has unfortunately caught on, as a sort of cultural meme. People actually think that sort of philosophy and behavior is justified; even righteous.

Actually, increasing disrespect for others started before the reality shows. I chalk it up to - Full House! Those girls were adorable at about the same time my own girls were adorable, but man, did they have a mouth on them.

Much of the humor was dependent upon being just slightly over the line of what a kid should actually be saying to her parents and/or other kids, and - worse - a lot of it was at the EXPENSE of another character.

From there, more and more sitcoms were based on cheap laughs from mean humor. Then along came the reality shows, which were even worse, because they parade under the excuse of "being honest."

As a result (according to my pet theory), we have a generation that thinks the behaviors I listed above are normal. Are expected. Are indicative of a "winner," even.

I've tried to counter this in my own girls, of course. But even they can't be totally unaffected by the tougher and more brutal culture.

So, in short, it's television's fault.

*rocks in rocking chair*



Maximilian Proto

I fully agree with the comments here on today’s young generation.

We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control (1). When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint (2).

What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them (3)? The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint... As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress (4).

No wonder that juvenile delinquency has increased at an alarming rate and is eating at the heart of America (5). I think a generation of playing violent video games and watching violent TV is manifesting itself, and is going to have lots of nasty consequences... A generation that thinks it's fun to grief someone and that they shouldn't take griefing seriously is not a generation we want ruling our country or shaping our institutions.(6)

(1) Inscription, 6000 year-old Egyptian tomb quoted in R. Buckminster Fuller's I Seem to be a Verb.
(2) Hesiod, 8th century BC
(3) Plato, 4th Century BC
(4) Attributed to Peter the Hermit, 1274 AD
(5) US juvenile court judge, 1946 AD, quoted in Barry Glassner's The Culture of Fear, p75
(6) Prokofy Neva, 2008 AD, quoted in Maximilian Proto's comment

Prokofy Neva

Well, all those ancients were right, and they're still right, and that's what civilization is all about, restraining particularly male disrespect and aggression, and female indulgence.

Those girls on Full House grew up to be drug addicts in rehab all the time anyway, didn't they?

Cocoanut Koala

One of them spent two years addicted to meth, then got over it and got married again and had a baby and seems to be doing fine. Another one has three kids and does Christian speaking.

Then there are the Olson twins, not sure what one would make of them.


Yumi Murakami

I think that the "decline of society" is an important factor, but not the whole situation. I think it's more to do with the feeling of "things being real" in Second Life or in other virtual worlds.

I've written before that I think that SL is much more for people who are visual - who think that something is "realer" because it has a visual appearance. So, I don't think it appeals so much to the MOO/MUSH crowd because they don't have that bias - they prefer text, and text is infinitely easier to work with (you can do something completely new right away without having to spend a few hours drawing/animating it).

And sadly, one of the ways that some people use to judge things as real, is by the ability to annoy or displease other people. That might seem weird but it's true - although, do bear in mind, that the other person does not have to have a good reason to be annoyed. If you are annoyed by me being a scripter (for some reason), then that's hard luck, because no matter what you think I will be able to write programs in LSL. On the other hand, if you are annoyed by me being a pixie then you can just ignore my avatar (although, as I mentioned to coco, in general most people ignore avatars anyway except for general quality and very broad categorization). And because of this, some people would consider that my being a scripter is "realer". Certainly, if you are annoying other people, any possibility of what you are doing simply being a result of "others playing along" or "let's pretend" is de facto impossible.

The visual point of view seems to be more common amongst women, and the "level of annoying others" point of view seems to be more common amongst men. Some people can become visual as a result of interacting with SL but it's actually quite a trust exercise - by which I mean, there is always a nagging feeling in the back of one's mind that all of the shop owners know what is real - the money coming in - and are laughing behind your back, that you'd change your viewpoint of reality just to pay them more.

Cocoanut Koala

I suppose there might be a shop owner or two somewhere in SL laughing behind people's backs all the way to the bank, but I imagine that number would be very small.

Because also real is the considerable work involved in making the "not really real" thing. And if one were going to laugh at people buying these things, how much more could one laugh at the fools actually wasting all their time and energy making the not-real things?

More importantly, though, people who like to create generally don't enjoy doing so in a vacuum. People usually want someone else to appreciate what they've created.

If you bake a chocolate cake, it's more fun if someone else tastes and enjoys and appreciates it, too. If you make a scrapbook, while that's satisfying in itself, it's much more satisfying when those that it's about look at it and appreciate the work as well.

I don't know any shy artists, really, who are happy to create things only they will ever see or use. Most like others to look at and appreciate their work, and hopefully, buy it and/or use or display it.

Maybe there are some in SL who make something, without love or care, and then rake in the bucks and consider those who purchase the item to be idiots.

Then again, if that odd individual is making money off his item/s, maybe it is he who is the real fool?

Because he would be failing to realize the inherent value and use of his own creation. And it must have some, because if it didn't have use or value, no one would buy it in the first place.


Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Thanks for an insightful post.

While I agree with your assessment that many in this "Millennial" or "Gen Y" demographic find SL "boring" and "without a point," I don't agree, to quote you, that:

"I think a generation of playing violent video games and watching violent TV is manifesting itself, and is going to have lots of nasty consequences."

I'm not seeing that, at my university or the large state schools. We have more than a few kids who are too wound up, but binge-drinking, not horrors like the VA Tech shooting, are the normal way of "acting out."

Howe's and Strauss' (somewhat dated) data indicated that this demographic has not been playing games as much as those a few years older: they don't have enough time because they are always in self-improvement activities or networking with their "hive" of friends.

Caveat: I am talking about college-bound kids at the upper end of the American economic scale. The others? Your analysis may be spot-on there. Demographers seem to concern themselves with the "winners" these days.

That is sad and scary.

The Millennial college kids we are seeing are more deferential to authority, more conformist, less likely to think creatively. They phone their parents daily. They never slow down to catch a breath, either.

Yet, as you note, there's hope. The younger end of this demographic is once again having critical thinking and "play" put back into the classrooms, which have been stuck in high-stakes testing for a long time.

Now if only parents could lighten up and not over-schedule them so heavily!

Prokofy Neva

I agree that kids are overscheduled and harnessed into this "success" mode terribly early. I've always tried to avoid that, preferring to give them empty oatmeal cartons and rubber bands and boxes and paints and turn them lose to make messes rather than sign them up for expensive lessons at the age of 4 or 8.

But the problem is that their peers and the schools themselves begin to put in this straitjacket of overactivity very early, and kids come under terrible peer pressure to get every ballet, dance, choral, art, science, etc. extra-curricular activity they can. The woman on Hamlet's blog describing her 11 year old juggling like 3 concerts and plays and 3 projects is very typical as the schools try to put on too many performances to impress parents who have to increasingly pay a fortune for private schools (the public schools follow suit by demanding extra payments from parents sending kids to these ostensibly free schools for all the art, theater, etc.).

It is terribly hard to pull them out of this madness. On gaming, they tend to prefer very straight-jacketed restrictive even grinding and boring play that is all laid out to them, as a comfort zone.

You are absolutely right about the college kids being the worst conformists and smug little careerists and Babbits we've seen since the 1950s. Ugh, they challenge adults merely because they think they are superior to them as conformists, not as iconoclasts.

Cocoanut Koala

I never bought into that over-extending stuff with my kids.

I figured that they should have what *I* had and benefited from as a kid, which was - a childhood.

Summers, for instance. I was home with my girls, and they were not enrolled in every summer camp there was.

(They did get to go - for free - to the art camp where their father taught for several weeks every summer. Plus they had swimming lessons each summer. But you know what I mean - there are kids whose whole summers are back-to-back camps, even when their mothers are home!)

And in school, if they wanted to try something, I had them stick with it until their original commitment was over (usually a semester, or a year).

But if they weren't crazy about the activity, they didn't have to continue after that time. So some things they stuck with several years; some they dropped after the original commitment was over.

As a result, they tried out a lot of different things - dance, clubs, musical instruments, and a number of sports.

But also as a result, they never became prodigies in anything. Oh well, that's the trade-off, I guess. But I figured the growing up years are precisely FOR trying out everything that interests you.

And I sure wasn't going to kill us all with more than, say, two extracurricular activities per child. God knows, the schools practically kill you ANYWAY, with this and that party and performance for everything (combined with parties at all their clubs or lessons, etc.), and the mom is often the one providing all the snacks, decorations, transportation, etc.

It's insane! Especially in the elementary school years. I don't know how other parents manage to do all the activities they get their kids into.

Just seemed to me it was important for a kid to have time to THINK, and to - maybe - get bored enough to create something.

I always thought of my children as each divided into three equal parts: 1/3 intellectual, 1/3 physical, and 1/3 spiritual (which includes friendships).

So my philosophy was to basically make sure each third was always getting ample stimulus and growth activity.

Rather than, you know, driving them nuts with too many activities, or expecting super-achievement in any of them.


Ann Otoole

so we have managed to breed a pool of conformist types that would never question authority eh?

The meatgrinder will be happy to absorb them. Make sure they all know to fill out the selective service form at the right time.

Because that is all such drones deserve.

Disgusting. An entire generation incapable of thinking for themselves.

One day they are going to wake up and be really really pissed off too.

ichabod Antfarm

Ann, why wait until these kids get drafted into the meatgrinder? Why not pull them out of their beds in the dead of night and machine gun them in the streets? I think you must be going soft.

Cocoanut Koala

I don't think they are a generation incapable of thinking for themselves at all.

While they are young, though, they tend to think whatever all their peers think is politically correct to think. (Which is one of the problems with forums everywhere.)


Ignatius Onomatopoeia

They can think for themselves quite well..they just have not had a lot of experience with free-form play.

They were raised under constant testing like my state's "SOL" tests (means "Standards of Learning"--though I prefer a different translation for "SOL" :)

It only recently has been attacked because the students lack critical-thinking skills stressed in earlier curricula...

You can blame politicos from both parties for foisting these handcuffs on educators in K-12. Now we college profs are dealing with the aftermath...

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