SOURCE: Dr. Gail Gross Ph.D., Ed.D.

April 17, 2014 13:13 ET

Save Our Boys: How Technology Dependency Is Failing Boys and Men

Dr. Gail Gross Warns That Easy Access to Violent Video Games and Pornography Is Altering Boys' Brains

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - April 17, 2014) - While women continue to grab headlines with a growing number of leadership "firsts," a near silent movement is happening with the other gender -- and it's not good news. American boys and men are in trouble, according to parenting, education, and human behavior expert Dr. Gail Gross Ph.D., Ed.D.

"We are seeing more and more boys fail in school, and men who don't know how to behave around other people socially, much less how to have intimate relationships with women," says Gross. "In essence, we as a nation are failing our boys and men. We need to step up to the plate and do something about it before it's too late." 

American boys and men are falling behind academically and socially:

  • Boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to flunk or drop out of school.
  • Girls outperform boys academically, from elementary school to graduate school.
  • Women receive 60 percent of all bachelor's degrees now.
  • Boys are five times more likely to be labeled with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Gross says research can pinpoint areas that contribute to the troubling statistics, including increasing technology use, specifically increased time playing violent video games and watching pornography.

"Whenever you watch anything on television, your imagination pulls you into what you're watching. As a result, you react emotionally as if whatever is happening on television is actually happening to you," says Gross. "Because of increased time playing violent video games and easier access to pornography, our boys are growing into young men who do not know how to deal with the real world, and who stay forever immature because they are programmed to never outgrow the immature need for immediate gratification."

As a result, boys are shyer and more socially awkward with girls and because by the age of 21, men have played at least 10,000 hours of video games in isolation, they are now out of sync with the language and social rules of face to face contact. Further, availability of online pornography, a 15 billion dollar annual industry, is changing and rewiring the way boys relate to girls and women. Watching approximately 15 pornography images a week, boys are becoming more highly aroused and addicted to novelty.

Gross suggests a few solutions to save our boys:

  • Parents need to closely monitor their children's technology time, and put strict parental controls on the websites and channels to which their children have access.
  • Parents must parent, and model the behavior they want to see in their children. That means limiting their own video game playing time (including mobile games), and modeling strong in-person relationships that are rich with positive, face-to-face interactions.
  • Parents should practice and teach boys standard social graces, by role playing, practicing, and rehearsing the appropriate social cues and ambiguous signals that are part of building relationships. This will help boys feel confident and competent, rather than vulnerable and fragile.
  • Parents should allow plenty of time for free play that does not involve technology from the time children are born. The ability to create, learn, and test boundaries within safe limits helps flex the imagination muscles in children, and real-world understanding. 
  • Parents should encourage boys to participate in athletics, outdoor activities, music, arts, and theatre; they should help boys follow their passion.
  • Parents should engage boys in activities other than technology, including regular visits to the science museum, museum of natural history, and the library.
  • Parents should teach and practice the empathic process, setting aside time to communicate with sons without judgment or defense. Teaching the empathic process goes a long way towards solving the problem of bullying. 

"We can work to repair the damage that is done and make sure our boys don't fall through the cracks mentally, emotionally, socially, and academically," says Gross. 

For more insight from Dr. Gail Gross, please visit her website at www.drgailgross.com.

Dr. Gail Gross is a nationally recognized family and child expert, author, and educator who is frequently called upon by broadcast, print, and online media to offer expert insight on breaking news as well as topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues.

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