On the Kids on a Trip Looking at Their Smart Phones Instead of Rembrandt

A picture has been making the internet rounds.  It’s of a group of students playing on their cell phones instead of looking at a Rembrandt painting.

Rembrandt painting

I’ll pause long enough for the outrage to set in.

This photo really made the rounds.  People were upset and were asking what’s wrong with this “future generation”.

I was probably the first generation to spend my childhood “on the computer”.  Actually, funny enough–my friend Michael and I were discussing how “computers” used to be an interest before it was something everyone did.

And on computers, I was able to connect with friends around the world.  Most of my friends today, I met on the internet first.  And I continue to make new friends, whether it is through this blog, MilePoint, FlyerTalk, or even Twitter (hi, Emily!)

But there seems to be this presupposition that if someone is doing something on their smartphones, it is “goofing around”.  In fact, it took me years to convince my parents  that I was actually talking with friends, reading about calculus (long story short: I’m a nerd), and figuring out how to program–not wasting my time.

Well, I guess learning C could now be considered waiting my time!

So I’ve been naturally suspicious of this photo.

Now, the truth about the picture has come out.

It turns out that the Rijksmuseum has an app that, among other things, contains guided tours and further information about the works on display. As part of their visit to the museum, the children, who minutes earlier had admired the art and listened attentively to explanations by expert adults, had been instructed to complete an assignment by their school teachers, using, among other things, the museum’s excellent smartphone app.

So, they were learning on their app.  Whoever snapped the photo had a specific agenda they wanted to push forward, even though they knew the truth of the situation.

I keep seeing photos like this and hearing from people that they worry that the “new generation” won’t appreciate the wonders of the world.

They do.  They are just used to learning in a different (more convenient) method than other generations are.

My niece is staying with me soon.  And she wants to do all the historical stuff in DC (which I’m more than okay with!)

And even if someone wanted to spend their time doing something “different” in a museum, who are we to judge them?

I went to the Louvre without seeing the Mona Lisa.

It was too crowded.

But you know–you can always return!

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. A picture speaks a 1000 words, and often 1001 lies.

  2. Fantastic, I love this and totally agree! My little girl is five and has been to 15 counties over four continents and my little boy who is almost one will hopefully catch her up soon! ?? I always remember when I was backpacking during my early twenties, someone said get all your travelling out the way before you have kids even then I remember thinking that didn t sound right somehow a bit rigid I will keep going and keep educating my children!

  3. Still I believe in younger generation! I am #babyboomer and I’m not grown up with this technology.

  4. Present generations are born with new technologies, and indeed they do not need be criticized for using it .

  5. But a read some books time to time will be good for them too . Book is book !

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