Attack on a Generation: The Effects of Video Games & Porn on Guys

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Entertainment/Media, Sexuality, Youth Culture & Trends
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I read a CNN article recently by Dr. Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan called The Demise of Guys: How video games and porn are ruining a generation.  Zimbardo What Video Games and Porn are Doing to a Generation of Guys and Duncan What Video Games and Porn are Doing to a Generation of Guys are the same authors of a TED book titled The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It What Video Games and Porn are Doing to a Generation of Guys.  I think it’s a crucial topic to address, and its good to see a book not only identify a problem, but also offer solutions.  The book and article suggest that there’s an attack on the identity and ‘manhood’ of our generation of guys, and that this attack has had (and will continue to if not confronted) an adverse effect on the relational, social, emotional and physical realm of men.

…an addiction to video games and online porn have created a generation of shy, socially awkward, emotionally removed, and risk-adverse young men who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school, and employment.”

“Young men — who play video games and use porn the most — are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games & porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety.”

“Boys’ brains are being digitally rewired for change, novelty, excitement and constant arousal. That means they’re totally out of sync in traditional classes, which are analog, static, interactively passive.” (Philip Zimbardo)

Another reason that is stated to contribute to the issue of porn and video game addiction among men is parenting…or lack of it!  Zimbardo & Duncan gathered research from over 20,000 men and observed one alarming theme- absent fathers.  Perhaps the father wasn’t physically absent from the family scene altogether…perhaps he was.  But the fact that many fathers are not engaged in the depth and core areas of their sons lives on a consistent basis is a major reason why so many young men wander into addiction alone.  Without the presence of a father to encourage and hold their sons up in prayer, accountability and modeling purity themselves, it’s no wonder that so many young men end up surrendering to the counterfeit pursuits of lust, stimulation and gratification that video games and porn entice with.

It begs the question, “Is this the end of a generation of guys?”  The book itself is not going to give all the answers, but there is a book that does contain THE answer to this dilemma.  I’m not certain if Dr. Zimbardo is a Christian or not, as I just downloaded the e-book while writing this post, but as much help and information as this book lends, it will ultimately fall short if the solution isn’t focused on our sin issue, and the work of Christ on the cross.  Only through Jesus Christ can we experience true freedom from addiction, depression, hopelessness and demise.  But for $1.99 on Kindle, it’s well worth the short and informative read!

Another question we need to address is, “How can we help and equip fathers and men in this battle?”  I think the church can help in this area by speaking to not only the ‘escape from hell’ talks, but also focusing on the whole person and community aspect.  We often get caught into ‘sin management’ within the Christian life, but we’re also called to spur each other on to live an abundantly life in body soul and spirit, so that we can better serve Christ and the world.  Other ways we can help…

  • Make sure we set and cast a vision for holiness in our families, church and community
  • Make sure fathers are strategic about the quality and quantity time they spend with their sons
  • Make sure real relationships and activities outweigh TV, gaming, web and social networking in your family life
  • Make sure you find ways to serve…serving often gets our mind & attention off ourselves, and onto the needs of others!

If you’re the parent of a young boy/teen, or you work with male youth, give the CNN article a read, check out the book, and also check out the talk Dr. Zimbardo gave at the 2011 TED conference.

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Comments
  1. Very informative read. Some parents really need to stand up for their children. Some do this by viewing the internet activity on the PC and then correcting them if they find ill usage. Others do the same by setting passwords on special television programs. Still, others protect who their children associate with, where their children attend school and what their children hear and say. Although it’s inevitable of the human lusts to follow, the truth, and real truth, of God’s word, if settled in the heart early enough, can teach and guide us along, giving us protection and correction.

    Unfortunately, our modern culture has become smarter, now knowing how to disarm passwords and clean up internet history. We even have the fallacious and damnable heresies of naturalism and other false truth being taught in schools [1st Timothy 6: 20]. Furthermore, some even know how to download porn, disregarding potential virus infection or having a type of secondary protocol in case of danger. By the introduction of pornography, lack of parental authority through passiveness and correct truth of God’s word, the values of marriage, freedom and all of God’s great, transformational qualities all go down the drain.

    You’re message is clear: we need to fight back. Christ came to set free. And pornography can be a really powerful thing, if not dealt with early on. God is still on the throne. And He still sets free, regardless of where you are, what you’ve done and the state of your life.

    • Amen…even though the stakes are getting higher, and the means easier to come into the proximity of our kids…God is still sovereign and reigns supreme! Even when our world is spinning out of control, God is not taken off guard!

  2. Also, please excuse my lack of mentioning the topic of video games. The whole idea of your article speaks of addiction, not necessarily video games. In this case, naturally-speaking, even food and sex become a bad thing. And they’re not, though God will eventually do away with both. I don’t necessarily believe video games to be apart of a dangerous matter. Addiction, on the other hand, makes nearly all things bad.

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