By Michael Fergenson, AJN senior editorial coordinator
There continue to be questions raised about the harmful effects of the excessive use of digital devices, mostly in the young but also in adults. Such ills as ADHD, violence, poor school performance, social isolation, and bullying have been attributed to the overuse of gaming, the Internet, and social media Web sites.
A ruined generation of men? Psychologist Phillip Zimbardo, well known for his ethically borderline 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, contends that video games and digital media do have a detrimental effect on today’s youth, especially males. His recent article, “The Demise of Guys: How Video Games and Porn Are Ruining a Generation,” argues that addiction to video games and online porn “is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.”
He refers to stories such as a South Korean man who went into cardiac arrest after playing a video game for 50 hours straight, a man whose wife kicked him out because he couldn’t stop watching porn, and a mass murder suspect who claims to have used video games to prepare for his crime of shooting 77 people. Zimbardo argues there may be a link between violent video games and real-life aggression.
Causation is hard to prove, but many studies have pointed to negative physiologic and psychosocial effects of such games over […]