The Demise of Guys – Why Girls Rock While Boys Mold

As a father of two girls, I have to be honest. I like the idea of a world where women have the upper hand. A world where men haven’t a chance in competing with them and their opportunities are unfettered by male meddling. This is not to say that I feel that they can’t or wont be able to hold their own as it is, both are frighteningly bright and could go toe to toe with any of their male peers, I just think this is the age of the woman. Sure this this may sound a little sexist but hey, what has been good for the guys for the last handful of centuries has to be good for the gals, don’t you think!?

It wasn’t that long ago that this would have been considered complete fantasy, crazy talk and virtually impossible to achieve without a major social revolution but it turns out that this shift in gender dominance might be quietly happening right under our noses in the dark recesses of our homes.

Last March, Philip Zimbardo did a Ted Talk about The Demise of Guys where he speaks (briefly) about how addiction to digital media is turning young males into social, emotional and academic eunuchs (my worlds not his). During his talk, he provides us with some starteling statistics which have been concerning educators for a number of years now but what is most important is that he links these statistics to the consumption of digital media, ranging from gaming to internet porn. Some might say that this is a bit of a stretch linking the two but if one simply looks around, you can see real life examples all around.

Demise of Guys

Philip Zimbardo, March 2011

As a teacher, I am fortunate enough to spend my summer months schlepping around with my kids. We cover a lot of ground and see all sorts of kids in a variety of social, sporting and regular every day situations and what we see is very very sad. Even before this Ted Talk came across my desktop, I had a blog post in the works because of what I was witnessing day after day. Boys by the dozens, focused on on their digital distraction devices while waiting for swimming lessons, at the playground, with day camp groups, on road trips and in restaurants… Virtually everywhere we go, my girls and I are seeing boys focused in on some type of digital device.

In my own little community, where my kids run around and have fun all summer, there is a startling absence of boys playing out side. Even though we have a pretty even gender split in our neighborhood, on any given summer day, I would say girls out number boys 5 to 2. Girls are out interacting with others, solving social issues, getting exercise, developing physical skills and boys are held up in their basements interacting with their digital game console. It is a strange and sad state of affairs.

It is staggering how disconnected with the real world our young male population seems to be becoming and it is appearing that it is all because of a dependence on the digital media. What is perhaps even more staggering is how parents seem to be oblivious to how unhealthy digital dependence can be. If Zimbardo is correct, women will be ruling this world in very short order, all the while, the Demise of Guys continues right under our noses. Sure it is great opportunity for my girls but I am not sure having half of the worlds population incapacitated due to digital stupification is a great thing in the long run.

Although the Demise of Guys to the extent where the entire male population is reduced to blubbering bunch of worthless flesh is unlikely, I do think that there is a thread of truth to what Zimbardo has said. It is undeniable that something is happening to our boys and it could very well be the excessive exposure to digital media.

  • We know that the young brain hard wires itself to that which it is exposed to the most.
  • We know that watching a TV or playing Video Games shifts Brain State from Beta (active) to Alpha (passive) almost instantaneously.
  • We know that digital media has serious psychological effects as the findings from the Day A Day Without Media study points out.
  • We know that childhood obesity can be linked to sedentary life styles associated with excessive video game playing

What I don’t understand is the resistance of parents, media regulators and other stakeholders to even consider the possibility of this digital link in the “demise of guys”. We have nothing to lose in studying this further or heaven forbid just restricting children’s use of digital media but instead we choose to ignore the obvious.  At the very least,parents need to start asking themselves, why they are allowing their children so much exposure to something that might be contributing to the Demise of Guys and turning their children into social and academic equivalent of fungi?

Related Posts

TV & Video Games = Serious Learning Issues Part 1

TV & Video Games = Serious Learning Issues Part 2

Why Boredom is Good For Your Child

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