I have noticed a tendency of young people who seem to believe they are the experts on everything. I know this has been the complaint of all parents for ages, but this feels different to me now. It goes deeper than just, “My parents don’t know anything.” The young people I am referring to are not my children or even my friends’ children, but are strangers or casual acquaintances. In addition, the subjects are deep and wide.
For example, my friend recently had to have surgery. While in the hospital, she had a reaction to a pain medication that made her nauseated. Twice she was visited by family who brought along young friends. When she mentioned the doctors had changed her pain medicine to stop the nausea, both sets of friends proclaimed that they knew all about that drug and that she should have asked for XYZ instead. They went on to tell her of other mistakes her doctors were making, that she should not be given apple juice or ginger ale, that she should be up walking by now, that she should stay in the hospital for several more days. These were not stated as opinions but as absolute facts.
So what were the qualifications of these people? Were they med students or college graduates? Have family that experienced the same surgeries? No, they weren’t. They were a combination of college kids, college dropouts, restaurant waitstaff, and just normal young adults.
I could give many other examples, and I am sure you could too. People who think they know facts about subjects far outside their field of expertise. There has always been one person in every crowd who is a know-it-all. Lately it seems to me that all these young people (and some not so young) are all know-it-alls. So what changed? What makes these young adults so certain they know so much about so much? What makes them so sure they are the authority? Why do they think that they know more than the experts, the doctors or just people who have experienced life a little longer than they have?
Is it the Internet? They read it on the Internet, so it must be true. Don’t they question what they read? Do these “experts” ever do the research to see if it is factual? Do they ever think for themselves? It sure doesn’t see so.
Maybe it is TV! It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a fiction show or the news—if it was on TV, then it must be true. I have heard of judges and lawyers complaining that juries expect all the test results that they see on CSI, and expert testimony like the ones they see on Law and Order. They are shocked at the reality of budget constraints and caseload.
So how do you respond to this type of “expert” advice? Do you just let it go? I find myself biting my tongue a lot. I know it just is not worth it to try to argue the point. I would love to hear how you deal with this.