We are, in fact, witnessing the social, intellectual and sexual demise of a sizeable portion of young men today. John Stonestreet's commentary is important reading (or listening). -- Listen Now | Download
A generation of young men is choosing fantasy over reality. At least that’s what Dr. Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University and psychologist Nikita Duncan argue in their new book, The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.
The message of the book is simple: Research is demonstrating that young men are becoming addicted to video games and online pornography on a scale unparalleled by any addiction that we’ve ever seen in history.
But unlike with drugs, alcohol or gambling, these addictions aren’t for ever-increasing quantity. Instead, they drive boys and young men to seek novelty — the next big thrill.
According to Zimbardo and Duncan, it’s the same phenomenon observed in laboratory rats which, when given the opportunity, abandoned food in order to electrically stimulate the part of the brain responsible for pleasure. In effect, the rats gladly “short-circuit” their natural means of enjoyment to get a thrill that felt new every time.
“Young men…who play video games and use porn the most,” say the authors, “are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation.”
Not only does this kind of addiction rob guys of the time, money and health they need to do other things, but it also diminishes their ability to enjoy real life, which can never offer stimulation as frequently, easily or in as much variety. As a result, say Zimbardo and Duncan, young men addicted to digital sex and digital soldiering are less able or willing to participate in those acts for real.