Excessive “screen time,” character stereotypes, and fatherless homes cause children to grow up isolated and over-stimulated, often leading to mood and behavior problems. Here’s how.
Much has changed in Hollywood since the years of the gentleman actor. During the Golden Age, men were cast to be honorable, stand-up guys, troubled by outside forces, always trying to do good and save the woman or family he loves.
Fast forward to today and men are not given the same respect in film at all. Men are often portrayed as goofy, oblivious and helpless, constantly falling into one situation after another. Sure, there are exceptions of course, but the impact of even one negative movie has been shown to have an effect on young boys and their views of themselves, according to a 2012 survey of over 20,000 individuals.
Conducted by Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Coulumbe, Co-Authors of “The Demise of Guys: Why Boys are Struggling and What We Can Do About It,” the study illuminated that over two thirds of the participants agreed that their motivational problems were influenced by “conflicting messages from media, institutions, parents, and peers about what is acceptable and desirable male behavior.”
Another troubling fact is that America has the highest percentage of boys born to single mothers. Forty percent of all American children are born fatherless. The numbers even increase when categorized by race. Sadly, seventy percent of African American families are born to a single mother.
Boys who grow up without a father are still of course nourished with as much love as possible by their mother, but fathers contribute a unique kind of affection to their sons. They are often charged with teaching perseverance, toughness and reaching goals. The incredible bond lost when a son is born without a father is no doubt life lasting.
Today, boys and young men often find refuge to their problems by isolating with video games and the Internet. This type of antisocial behavior can compound the feelings of worthlessness and depression a young male might be feeling and allow for his mind to develop dark fantasies of violence or develop a pornography addiction.
Parents should be aware and monitor how much time their child is spending alone and how much access to screen time they are allowing.
In all cases, parents should encourage their son to get outside, be social and seek professional help if motivating them to do so just isn’t working.
Boys and young men need to have positive role models in their life. It is always preferred for the parent to be the positive role model in their child’s life. However, sometimes for different reasons this become difficult and too complicated. When parenting becomes tough and your son just isn’t listening to you, consider looking into professional help and try to encourage your child into a different hobby in the meantime.
If you can encourage art, building, music, sports or anything besides gaming and technology from the start, you providing your son with the potential to participate in something healthy, pro-social and positive. Be strong when outside influences test you because in the long run, protecting your son’s brain from the intensity and captivity of the Internet will be one of the best parenting gifts you could provide.