boys and gamine, why boys are failing,, Pragmatic Mom

Why Are Boys Failing? Video Games!

Boys Failing at School Because of Gaming?

This is Part 3 of 5 of The Globe and Mail‘s in depth look at Why Are Boys Failing?  I am always very sensitive when this topic comes up because I know that I am not doing a good job at policing my son’s video screen time.  This article deals with the proliferation of video games and their negative  impact on boys (feeling guilty already!). My son, who just turned 6, loves any type of screen:  DSi, iPad, iPhone (mine), computer … the TV is a distant 4th.  In fact, when he was the Star of the Week for Kindergarten last week, he wrote that his favorite thing to do was to play on the iPad.  Sigh!

It is strange to me that his older sisters actually have more consumer electronic devices but hardly play on them except for fighting over my iPhone.  The preference for competitive gamine IS a gender difference related to hunting versus gathering.

Full article here.  Interesting paragraphs below.


Video games: One of five reasons why boys are failing


Why are boys falling behind in school? Kate Hammer takes a look at video games, the education system, the boy code, developmental differences and a lack of role models in search of answers.

  • Mr. Weis’s study, which was published this spring, found that boys aged 6 to 9 who owned a video-gaming system at home spent less time doing homework, reading for fun or being read to by their parents. After barely five months, their scores on reading and writing assessments were significantly lower than those of the boys who didn’t own a console.
  • “There’s something about the competitiveness and aggressiveness of games that is appealing to boys,” said Mr. Weis. “… Boys have a limited amount of time after school and they have to spend this time doing a wide range of things. The more time they spend on playing video games the less time they have for doing other things, like spending time with family, playing non-video games and doing academic-type activities as well.”
  • There’s mountains of research to demonstrate that video-game players are more likely to struggle in school, but Mr. Weis’s study contributes to growing evidence that the games can directly cause boys to fall behind.
  • A 2007 Harris poll found that teenage boys in the UnitedStates spend an average of 18 hours a week playing video games – girls spend about eight. And a study published in a recent issue of Psychological Science found that one in 10 youths who play video games mirror the behaviour of addicts – lying to parents, skipping chores and stealing money to support their gaming habit.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I am afraid it is not the video games but- the need for feelings of love and honor not received in other places such as the classroom. Those video games also provide a sense of catharsis for pent up anger, fear, anxiety, etc. that is created in Males from infancy to make them tough. This treatment is also creating lower academics in school.
    We need to stop looking at where boys are in life, character, and behavior and begin seeing how boys are treated, very differently from us as girls, from infancy by parents, teachers, peers, and society all to make them tough. This is creating the activity, less maturity, more learning problems, and more fear and dislike for authority figures.
    The belief boys should be strong allows increasingly more aggressive treatment as early as one year of age, designed to create more anger, fear, and tension, so they will be prepared to fight, defend, and be tough. This is coupled with “much less” kind, stable, (very little kind verbal interaction), and much less mental/emotional support, knowledge, and skills for fear of coddling. It is the more aggressive, less supportive treatment, which creates the toughness or extra maintained layers of average stress: anger, fear, preparation for defense, and anxiety. These layers remain in the mind and take away real mental energy from academics, so those boys will have to work two or three times as hard to receive the same mental reward for work expended.
    This more aggressive, less supportive treatment creates more social/emotional distance/distrust of others – parents, teachers, peers, and others in society. It creates lags in social vocabulary, less knowledge of syntax and other communication we as girls are given on a more continuous basis. It creates higher average stress, which creates more activity for stress relief (not genetics but environmentally created). The higher average stress also creates higher muscle tension, which hurts handwriting: more pressure on the pencil and a much tighter grip, hurting handwriting and motivation to write (too much pressure tighter grip causing early fatigue).
    The total effect including less care and support creates much more failure and a feeling of hopelessness, especially with our false genetic models firmly in place. Also to make it even tougher for boys is the granting of love and honor (feelings of self-worth) only on some condition of achievement, status, or image. This was designed to keep Male esteem and feelings of self-worth low to keep them striving and even be willing to give their lives in time of war for small measures of love and honor from society. Males not achieving in school are other areas are given more ridicule and discipline to make them try harder. Support is not given boys for fear of coddling. Many boys (as you would expect) thus falling behind in school then turn their attention to sports and video games to gleam small measures of love and honor not received in the classroom. The belief boys should be strong and the false belief in genetics creates a blatant mental denial of the differential treatment, which is creating the lower academics, lower esteem, and other problems many boys are facing today. So strong is the belief boys should be strong there is an almost emotional cannibalism allowed upon boys and men who appear weak in some way by society: parents, teachers, others, even from many girls and women, especially in the media.

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