Research Says Video Games Have Made Boys Less Sophisticated Than Girls

By William Usher 2012-05-03 18:04:03 discussion comments
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Uh oh, I don't think the Flameproof Jockstrap (even the one with golden laced buckles) can help gamers this time. New research for a book by medical doctor Sidney Gale says boys are just moving backwards when it comes to social interaction and educational progress, thanks to video games and the interwebs.

Okay, so before we get knee deep into the video game bashing territory, let's take a look at what the research from psychologist Sidney Gale says about the growing gap between male and female social tendencies.

• Boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out or flunk out of school. In Canada, five boys drop out for every three girls.

• Boys are underperforming girls at every level, from elementary to grad school.

• Boys are less likely than girls to get bachelor's of arts (44% vs. 56%) and graduate degrees, (45% vs. 55%).

Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo sees the data above as a representative of males being too engaged with video games and the internet, hence the downfall of other socially relevant skills.

Gale also offers some insight on the situation, saying...
“We need to get boys out of their solitary bedrooms and into the sun,” ... “It’s also a good idea to get them reading something other than tweets, texts and the like. They have intellect, and we should encourage them to use it.”

“The old idea of a boy was one who longed for adventure, like Tom Sawyer or the Hardy Boys,” .... “As with any of today’s issues concerning children, parents need to be vigilant so they can lead their sons to a successful and socially active life.”

Right, because the people who go on to join this $68 billion dollar industry after playing video games all their life aren't leading successful, active lives? I think Cliffy B., wants to say "Hi".

Also, this calls into question what you consider "success" and "sophistication" in life. I mean John Gotti could be considered successful and socially sophisticated, and he didn't play games...same could be said for Suddam Hussein, Josef Stalin (who was fairly active by the way when he was younger), Benito Mussolini, Niccolo Machiavelli, Gengis Khan, or heck we all know Dick Cheney isn't a gamer and would anyone really consider that a role model for being a "successful" and "sophisticated" human being? Exactly.

For the most part, life itself is just a series of events stringed together through eating, sleeping and excreting. Everything else falls to the devices of working to maintain those former three activities and wasting time until you hit the grave. I think Gale is over-thinking a self-applied value to what "life" should be, as opposed to what it really is.

Regardless, Doctor Gale offers some additional tips for getting out of the "social slump" by recommending the following activities to boost morale and esteem, suggesting the following for video game laden, interweb dependent males...
• Camp: Summer is a perfect opportunity to consider varied activity for young boys. Gale, an avid seaman, says sailing camps encourage teamwork, physical activity and navigation skills.

• Read novels: Physical isolation has significant effects on one’s mental state and will stymie social skills. While reading is an activity pursued alone, reading novels can be very therapeutic, he says. They take readers beyond their daily lives, illustrate the workings of human relationships and increase language skills. They can also teach social- and problem-solving skills.

• Get social – both boys and parents: Children pick up on parental behaviors. If Mom and Dad do nothing but work and vegetate at home, chances are good that boys are just doing the same. Leave the house, together, when you can. Recreational activities are ideal; however, simply shopping together is an easy way to get boys out. “Talk to them on the way to the store,” Gale says. “It sounds simple, but we are so inundated with technology in every part of our daily lives that an in-person conversation should not be taken for granted.”

Maybe Sidney never heard of MineCraft? I doubt Notch and the crew at Majong would be willing to trade all their years of gaming experience that helped them turn a multi-million dollar profit from their indie title in for some Boy Scout skills. But hey, who knows?

Anyways, Gale's latest book is called Unto The Breach, where I'm sure you'll find more insightful hints about leading a successful life outside of video games and the internet. For more info feel free to visit the Official Website.
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