I know a heck of a lot of students (I volunteer at a thrift store where work-study students labor) and most of them are nice, studious and intelligent.
Sure, they're making some of the same stupid mistakes I made at their age, and I'm sure they're listening to my warnings just as carefully as I listened to the old farts warning me at their age (that is to say, almost not at all). But anyone who thinks they aren't at least as bright as our generation is just being arrogant.
Their generation makes a convenient punching bag for people with an agenda. And there's no denying that some of their fashion choices and much of their music can't measure up to the generations that featured the duck tail, the parrot-do, bellbottoms, polyester jumpsuits, MacArthur Park and Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey". Oh yeah!
But between email, texting and so one, a strong case could be made that they're writing FAR MORE than we did in our youth. Pounding away on my Brother (tm) Portable I could do a ten quality pages a day, much less if it were heavily sourced. My nieces can do that in two hours ... typing with their THUMBS.
I'm sure that's a lot of stupidity going around and, thanks to the internet, we can see it more easily and mock it. But the smart stuff is there too and I for one salute the upcoming generation.