Is the overuse of video games and online porn causing the demise of guys, asks Psychologist, Dr. Philip Zimbardo in his book, The Demise of Guys? Researchers say yes, as young men become hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz.
Every compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict will tell you that they want increasingly more of a game or drink or drug in order to get the same quality of buzz. But the tech buzz is different. The gamer and porn addict wants new and different dopamine pushing stuff. More of the same wears thin or is tolerated, and, according to Zimbardo, the consequences could be dramatic. The excessive use of video games and online porn in pursuit of the next thing is creating a generation of risk-adverse guys 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 – scary - in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games and porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety. In other words, there is no more waiting or earning time for reward. So, the expectations, like the games and porn, are unrealistic. Real life is swapped out for instant gratification. Why date and chat and wait and beg, when – like in porn movies – the girl should just say, “Hiya,” and strip and lay down? Why put up with a punk in school, when you can just aggressively take him out AND be rewarded?
In the zen teaching, we are instructed to cherish the present moment. This new kind of human addictive arousal traps users into an expanded present hedonistic time zone. Past and future are distant and remote as the present moment expands to dominate everything. That present scene is totally dynamic, with images changing constantly. I don’t think that is what the zen masters had in mind. But, who knows? If the Buddha had porn or World of Warcraft at his disposal, who knows? I do know that Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik reported during his trial that he prepared his mind and body for his marksman-focused shooting of 77 people by playing “World of Warcraft” for a year and then “Call of Duty” for 16 hours a day. That alone, should be enough for any parent to take the XBox and set it on fire, kick the kid in the ass, and get him a job shoveling coal.