He does us all a service, however, in being another voice raising the issue of too much time spent by adolescent males in the two-dimensional world of the internet. He quotes data from Jane McGonigal, which claims, by age 21, boys have spent 10,000 hours playing internet games, with two-thirds of that time being in isolation. He also quotes Cindy Gallop, who believes as a result of adolescent boys watching 50+ porn clips a week, we are creating men who don't know the difference between making love and doing porn.
I don't agree boy shyness, their comfort being in a male pack, and love of watching any competition in which objects are flying through space is a new "syndrome." I also don't think young males having a vivid sexual fantasy life is in any way new or abnormal. In fact, I think those tendencies are all a natural and direct result of having a male brain and eons of accumulated masculine experience. The danger I do agree with is how the internet can put a powerful magnifying glass on those natural tendencies and ramp up their intensity for better and worse.
I do like that, in this TED video and many other places, there is a larger discussion taking place about how young male brains are being shaped in powerful and unhealthy ways by seductive and targeted digital media, designed to play on normal adolescent drives. Discussions about the issues of destructive media influences or technology-addicted kids need to happen. Those in the business of man-making for young guys, including parents, relatives, and men who want to show up as positive role models, all need to be able to discuss and offer reasonable guidelines to the magnetic draw of the digital universe. Actually being great role models, when it comes to technology use, is a great first step.
A quick internet search on media addiction and boys will turn up countless resources to help us all increase our techno-literacy in relation to our boys. I'll be reviewing some of the resources on this topic in future posts, but give this 5 minute clip by Mr. Zimbardo a listen and see what comes up for you.
If the clip isn't visible use this link.
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