Kids Today May Be More Patient Than Past Generations

children being patient

There’s a new report that suggests today’s generation of kids might actually be more patient compared to those in the past. As a matter of fact, researchers credit the increased use of technology as one of the reasons why kids are more willing to be patient and wait for their desired results.

According to a new study published by the American Psychological Association, many children today are more capable of delaying gratification for several different reasons.

The study revealed that kids who participated in the studies in the 2000s waited an average of two minutes longer during a 10-minute period than kids that were raised in the 1960s and at least one minute longer than those who were raised in the 1980s.

In fact, Dr. Stephanie M. Carlson, who helped lead the search, recently told Science Daily in an interview, "Although we live in an instant gratification era where everything seems to be available immediately via smartphone or the internet, our study suggests that today's kids can delay gratification longer than children in the 1960s and 1980s."

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Researchers have also used the “Marsmallow Test” in order to prove just how far kids have learned to delay their gratification in recent years. During the test, a child is given the option of eating a single snack immediately or waiting two minutes and getting to eat two of them at the same time. Unsurprisingly, many of today’s children opted to wait and enjoy two snacks rather than one, compared to children who took the same test 50 years ago.


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Dr. Carlson noted that the findings actually come as a stark contrast to the assumption that children have less self-control because of their so-called technology and screen addictions. While the latter might be true, there are a few reasons that might explain the findings. For one, children’s IQ scores have increased over the years. In addition, many children are showing increased abstract thought, thanks to rising pre-school enrollment and the addition of cognitive thinking skills. This helps contribute to the improving abilities to delay gratification.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that kids these days are more technologically advanced, compared to past generations. At least 38 percent of children younger than the age of 2 have already had or operated a mobile phone in their hands. Some studies even indicate that children between the ages of 8 and 10 spend more than seven hours a day with technology, whether it’s on a smart phone, tablet, computer or television screen.

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