Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Boys Adrift

National Review Online has an interview with a physician who has written an interesting book on some of the problems many boys and young men seem to have doing something constructive with their lives.

(I realize I have very little room to talk here, glass houses being what they are, but . . .)

Girls are achieving more than boys are these days. More girls graduate form high school, and many more graduate from college than do their male classmates.

One factor he blames - video games:

These new video games are so exciting, so realistic, so engaging, that many boys get addicted to them. They play them 10, 15, 20 hours a week. I very often hear of parties where the girls stand around talking with other girls, while the young men are in the next room playing Halo on the 55-inch flat screen or watching their buddies play. We’re seeing more and more young men who would rather play these video games rather than try to meet girls.

Anyway, food for thought certainly, especially for those of us raising boys. The doctor blames five factors for the increasing prevalence of "failure to launch" (quoting from www.boysadrift.com):

Video Games. Studies show that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.
Teaching Methods. Profound changes in the way children are educated have had the unintended consequence of turning many boys off school.
Prescription Drugs. Overuse of medication for ADHD may be causing irreversible damage to the motivational centers in boys’ brains.
Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental estrogens from plastic bottles and food sources may be lowering boys’ testosterone levels, making their bones more brittle and throwing their endocrine systems out of whack.
Devaluation of Masculinity. Shifts in popular culture have transformed the role models of manhood. Forty years ago we had Father Knows Best; today we have The Simpsons.