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>> The person who figures out how to get teens to spend their free time learning instead of socializing is going to go down in history.

Shouldn't teenage years be spent having fun? :) For some learning is fun (I enjoyed it to a certain extent and used things like iTunes U a lot) but even if there was a way to learn that was fun for everyone most teenagers will still want to go to parties, drink alcohol, and waste time. I think it's a cultural thing more than an aversion to learning and I don't think technology will change it (for the majority of teenagers).

Going to parties, drinking alcohol, and wasting time is a form of learning. How to live life, how to make mistakes, and where you're going to fit in in the world is probably one of the most important thing you learn as a teenager.

Getting trashed is developmentally harmful to pre-18 brains, getting pregnant or knocking someone up or getting a disease is not helpful, and there are easier ways for most people to learn than to make horrible and even irreparable mistakes very early. Also, bad habits often survive into adulthood. This isn't where anyone should be forced to fit into the world until after they have a real chance to decide.

If a kid learns to have just one drink, don't be a junkie, use protection and waste time only judiciously by 18, they will be able to learn more from higher education or career than if they learned it's good to act like a mindlessly hedonistic animal with no concept of the future.

You can spend your first 40 years sticking your tongue into electrical sockets, this is technically some form of learning, but it's not a great way to have a good chance in life. There is all the time in the world to waste and act stupid, after you have the basic bearings of adulthood.

Yeah, but... If you are the one teenager who decides it is too risky to jump off the cliff into the river... Enjoy sitting on your own while everyone else has fun - enjoy never getting invited to the river again - enjoy sitting at home playing videogames as the braver boys wander off with into the grass with all the cute girls.

Teenage impulsivity and risk-tasking are reproductively optimal strategies (the actual rates of death and disability from these activities are usually low anyway) even if you like to look down your nose at them. And people who engage in those activities often end up doing just fine in later life, as well-adjusted, popular, confident adults, with a history of sexual success.

Maybe they're not optimal strategies for being a high-performing time-efficient adult, but so what? Natural selection only cares about babes and babies.

Sure, and that might monopolize 5% of a busy teenager's time. No justification for being uneducated, uncreative, or unproductive in the remaining time...

That's true, and I don't think the various levels of parent posters would disagree: I think they're referring to constant inanity and a complete inability to pay attention to anything substantial.

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