The Lost Boys

If you’re a #boymom, you’ve seen this picture in your home. Boys often have a strong and insatiable attraction to technology—smartphones, computer games, television, or gaming systems. Girls can too, but it’s not as intense.

This fact begs the question, why? Science tells us males are more visual than females. Their eyes are attracted and distracted by things they see. This may explain why men are attracted to women who are visually appealing and why, in some ways, women work so hard to be visually appealing to men. It’s kind of in our DNA.

The creators of these electronic games and social media systems know how to attract our attention and exploit it to their financial advantage. “We’re just giving the consumer what they want,” they’d say. No, you aren’t. We all want a healthy and well-adjusted child. We do not want an addict or a child who can’t function in the real world.

I’m old enough to remember when we were told cigarettes were safe. Even the government agreed. Oh, they had laws against the sale of cigarettes to children under 16 but these weren’t strongly enforced.

We know now the tobacco companies knew all along they were creating a product that was addictive and unhealthy. How many of us know someone with health issues related to tobacco products?

In a recent article titled Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A Battle for Your Time, Chamath Palihapitiya (former VP of User Growth at Facebook) is quoted, “I feel tremendous guilt. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we have created are destroying how society works.” Without going into mind-numbing detail, what he is referring to is the feeling of happiness and satisfaction the chemical dopamine creates when it is released by the brain. This is the same feeling one gets from cocaine or positive feedback. You just want to keep receiving more and more of that feeling.

Technology is set up to keep us wanting more and more social validation (likes, heart emojis, reader numbers, points on a game, or whatever the positive reward for behavior is). We love positive rewards and this is what the technology world is banking on—literally.

Now, another thing about boys—they need physical movement outlets, such as running, hitting and kicking balls, climbing, tumbling and rough-housing. Boys are physically aggressive and need safe, socially-acceptable outlets of expression and that is what sports provides. Not electronic sports (where they blow off people’s heads and laugh about it), but real world ones, like soccer or baseball.

God made boys unique. (Genesis 1: 27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”) They are not like girls. Chances are if you’ve raised boys and girls, you know this. While some boys are more sedentary and some girls are more active, these are not the majority.

Boys also love combat, weapons, hunting and capturing. Maybe because they were created by God to be the protector of the family. I’m not convinced anything on technology is preparing them for a true physical confrontation with danger, such as an armed intruder or a bully on the street. In fact, it may give them a false sense of ability.

If you’re a #boymom, I pray you’ll think on these points and reconsider how much of your son’s life you want to sacrifice to the gods of technology. Big Tech is banking on your sacrifice and I, for one, aim to resist their reach.

Do you have boys who love their technology too much? I’d love to hear from you.

(Photo by Pixabay)

 

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