Study: Video games and pornography put masculinity at risk

The famed psychologist Phillip Zimbardo has outlined his findings in his latest book, Man (Dis)Connected

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A leading psychologist has warned that young men are facing a serious issue regarding masculinity as a result of excessive consumption of video games and pornography.

The psychologist behind the controversial Stanford University prison experiment, Phillip Zimbardo has outlined his findings in his latest book, Man (Dis)Connected.

Zimbardo spoke at length about the findings of his study, which examined the lives of 20,000 young men and their interactions with video games and pornography.

Zimbardo told the BBC World Service’s Weekend program that “Our focus is on young men who play video games to excess, and do it in social isolation – they are alone in their room.”

He added: "Now, with freely available pornography, which is unique in history, they are combining playing video games, and as a break, watching on average, two hours of pornography a week."

Zimbardo said this pattern of video gaming and pornography use is leading to a “new form of addiction” that was highlighted by a mother he met during the conduction of his study, whose son would play video games nearly 15 hours a day.

The psychologist also warned over the excessive use of video games and pornography as the combo “begins to change brain function. It begins to change the reward center of the brain, and produces a kind of excitement and addiction."

Zimbardo believes that the negative image of men in U.S. media also exasperates the issue of masculinity among young boys.

He believes that better sex education in schools is one step in the right direction if it encompasses areas like emotions, physical contact and romantic relationships.

He warned parents that the problem is serious as their children’s use of video games and pornography takes away from other areas of their lives.

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