Famous Stanford University Psychologist Philip Zimbardo warns of the dangers confronting men from overusing technology in his latest book, Man (Dis)Connected, which he also discusses in a TED talk and BBC radio interview. Zimbardo reviews the data showing that boys are more likely to drop out of school, are outperformed by girls academically at every level of education, and are failing to establish meaningful relationships with girls. This last failure, he speculates, comes from a fear of, or inadequacy respecting, emotional and physical intimacy.
While there have always been some difficulties for males in courting females, namely, fear of being rejected by the fairer sex, the reason for the inadequacies are shifting; they are no longer merely fears of a bad outcome, but rather, reflect an actual skill deficit.
Boys are exhibiting increased levels of shyness and social awkwardness because they don’t know what to say or what to do, they don’t know the language of face-to-face encounters that allow one to talk with another and listen to others. Why the shift?
“Social Intensity Syndrome”
Zimbardo proposes that because men have always had a preference for the company of other men—which historically was met through organized means such as team sports, the military, and fraternal organizations—there has always been some challenge in encouraging socialization apt for family life. However, now, he states, males are showing a preference for the asynchronous, internet world that is taking them further and further from the healthy, natural, spontaneous interaction in social relationships—what he coins “Social Intensity Syndrome.” A similar concept, termed “hyperreality,” describes technologically-sophisticated ways of simulating reality, wherein “the entire web of human meaning-making activities has been transformed into the symbolic exchange of empty signs.”
Read the full article by Dr. Frank J. Moncher here at Culture of Life Foundation
Photo credit MurtazaBravo