Posted by Sharon
Recently I came across a lecture by Psychologist Philip Zimbardo that had been posted to ted.com. In his discussion titled “The Demise of Guys”, Mr. Zimbardo shares some statistics (lower graduation rates, higher rates of unemployment) and suggests a few reasons — and challenges the TED community to think about solutions.
Mr. Zimbardo talks about drop out rates, educational statistics, and social awkwardness among college aged males.
“[guys] don’t know the language of face contact, the non verbal and verbal set of rules that enable you to comfortably talk to somebody else and listen to somebody else.” he says.
What does he blame this ‘demise’ on?
“excessive internet use in general, excessive video games, and new access to pornography.”
“Boys’ brains are being digitally rewired.” he says.
Have a listen for yourself:
Among his suggested reasons he calls upon video games as a contributing factor, even referring to the work of Jane McGonigal , for isolation and social ineptness.
I had the opportunity to hear Jane McGonigal speak this past March. While her views can be interpreted as overly optimistic she formidably challenges the stereotypes surrounding the usefulness and value in ‘games’.
Have a listen to her discussion “Gaming can make a Better World”:
“Gamers are virtuosos at weaving a tight social fabric. There is a lot of interesting research that shows that we like people better after we play a game with them. Even if they have beaten us badly. ” says Ms. McGonigal
“Playing a game together builds bonds and trust and cooperation. And we actually build stronger social relationships as a result.” -Jane McGonigal
So let’s discuss. We have two opposing ideas here. Are video games a contributing factor to the demise of guys or are they helping us build a better world? Is the stereotype of the socially awkward gamer still valid and if so is that awkwardness causing us to flunk out of school and life in general?
I may not be the best person to weigh in here for two reasons, firstly I am not a ‘guy’ in fact I’m a girl and secondly I was always academic despite my interests in technology, computers, and video games so I do not fit into his declining demographic. However, as someone who shares social interactions with the very guys Mr. Zimbardo talks about, I may be inclined to disagree with him.
What do you think?
Tell me your thoughts in response to these two lectures. Share your personal experiences and ideas. I want to hear from you!