Online porn can kill men: Book

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  • Updated: Jul 20, 2012 16:31 IST

Demise of guys


An e-book by a celebrated Stanford University psychologist has suggested that guys may be doomed by their addiction to Xbox video games and X-rated video dames.

Author Philip Zimbardo’s more startling conclusion in “The Demise of Guys,” co-authored by Nikita Duncan is “Video games and online pornography could kill you.”

Zimbardo, 79, warns of the possible annihilation of the species -- apparently all because certain people can’t be bothered to make their beds.

In the townhouse Zimbardo has lived in for 40 years just off San Francisco’s Crookedest Street, he and his 25-year-old co-author zigzag through their case for the coming guypocalypse.

“The demise of guys is a disaster in the making,” Zimbardo said.

For all the hand-wringing by parents and social scientists, there is little research linking the consumption of online sex and violent video games with the national crime rate, which has been going down as those two seemingly corrosive forms of entertainment have become more readily available.

Certainly, there is more hard-core pornography available to any guy with access to a smartphone or computer than ever before, but if virtual sex is preventing males from forming lasting relationships with real women, the evidence at this point is more anecdotal than conclusive.

But Zimbardo is convinced the damage is already being done. He points to research connecting the dots between a 40-year low in boys’ SAT scores, a National Center for Education Statistics study that reported boys four to five times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and 30 percent more likely to drop out of high school and college.

“Guys are now spending a huge percentage of every day in a digital world. Playing video games, watching porn, doing YouTube, texting, watching sports -- most of it alone,” Zimbardo noted.

“There’s no doubt that males in our society -- whether out of sheer boredom or lack of coping skills in how to deal with stress -- are numbing down in these ways,” counters Donna Lera, a Peninsula family therapist. “But is it inhibiting them from entering college? I don’t know. These are brazen statements to me.”

The easy availability of hard-core sex online is sending boys to their rooms in ever greater numbers, said Leonard Sax, whose 2007 book, “Boys Adrift,” anticipated the current wave of boy-on-the-brink books, such as “Why Boys Fail,” by Richard Whitmire; “The Trouble With Boys,” by Peg Tyre; and “Swagger,” by Lisa Bloom.

“The outcome of this is the decline of the United States as a global leader,” Sax said.

Like Zimbardo, who says the isolation required for games and porn causes loneliness -- and that lonely people die earlier -- Sax insists the evidence of decline is all around us.

 

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