Dr. Philip Zimbardo is one of the most famous social psychologists in the world, most notably for his infamous Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971. Today he has released a book with his co-author Nikita D. Coulombe that explores exactly what impact technology is having on young men today. As he writes, “Young men are failing like never before: academically, socially, sexually,” – but why is this so? Well, the thesis of his new book Man (Dis)connected: How Technology has Sabotaged What it Means to be Male, suggests that the isolating effects of internet porn and intense video gaming have left a generation of men ill-equipped for life and happier to hide away in their bedrooms than engage with women, work, and life in general. By this point, you’ll realise that these are exactly the themes I address in my debut novel ****, or, The Anatomy of Melancholy, so it will come as no surprise that I fully recommend Zimbardo and Coulombe’s new book. To give you a further taster, here’s the blurb:
Young men are failing as never before – academically, socially and sexually. But why is this so? What are the implications? And what needs to be done about it before it’s too late?
Philip Zimbardo and co-writer Nikita Coulombe examine the modern meltdown of manhood and how this is manifest in the lives of young men today. They consider such factors as absent fathers, and legislation favouring women, which contribute to many men lacking social skills and direction in their lives. Most controversially, Zimbardo argues that readily available hardcore pornography and exciting gaming realities provide digital alternatives that are less demanding and far more appealing for many than sex, sports and social interaction in the real world. Immersion in these alternative realms is playing havoc with these boys’ cognitive development, their ability to concentrate and their social development, allowing girls to excel in the real world where social skills are a source of success.
By illuminating the symptoms and causes of these gloomy trends, Zimbardo and Coulombe shed light on how we arrived at this state of affairs and, most significantly, what the solutions might be.
You can find Man (Dis)connected on Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK) now: it’s a book that should help to open up a really important discussion about what the Internet is doing to our society. There’s a New Scientist article about the book out today if you’d like to know more. And if Man (Dis)connected sounds too serious for you, there’s always my own novel, which comes at the issues from a fictional perspective.