A 2017 study from Princeton University and the University of Chicago revealed some staggering figures — essentially, young American men are choosing video gaming over work.
Read that again and let it sink in: Young American men are choosing video gaming over work.
The study said that the number of work hours put in by American men over the last 15 years has declined immensely.
By 2016, 15 percent of males between the ages of 21 and 30 were either not working, period, or were enrolled as full-time students, a figure that nearly doubled the 8 percent figure revealed in a similar study in 2000.
As a result, aggregate work hours put in men in that age group fell by 12 percent between 2000 and 2015.
Researchers noted that 67 percent of non-working young men now live with a parent or relative. In 2000, that number was 46 percent.
This same group of young men is said to spend approximately 520 hours on computers annually, and a staggering 60 percent of that time is not time working — it's time playing video games. That doesn't even include time spent gaming on other consoles, like PlayStation and Nintendo products and handheld devices.
The problem with real-life application
The problem with young men's obsession with video gaming is that too often they are using real-life, role-playing games, as a substitute for living.
One might argue that it's hardly a fair comparison to say that the detriment caused by video games is similar to that of joining a five-night-a-week pool league at the local pub or finding a new obsession in exercising.
After all, it seems like a rare occurrence that a young man would quit his job, move into his parents' basement, and spend his days and nights running on the treadmill or practicing recreational billiards. But even if he did — he would at least be subjected to actual peer-to-peer socialization that is sorely lacking in video games.
Those heavily ensconced in the gaming world will tell you that they have developed an online community of friends, which makes them happy. But as technology has proven time and time again, screen time is no substitute for face time.
Those heavily ensconced in the video gaming world will also argue that their concerted team efforts of working together toward a game's common goal sets them up with skills in teamwork and leadership.
There's one major hole in that argument: Video games are not real life, and few bosses will peek at a resume and be impressed by the amount of time the job candidate spent on video games learning the valuable — and in this case, virtual — aspect of teamwork.
Male video gamers are forgetting how to be men. Or they're not learning how to be real men, right out of the gate.
Gaming on this level is nothing more than social isolation, with the barriers of cloud networks of "friends" and "connections" to buffer the sting of a desperate need for face-to-face camaraderie.
Young men are no longer stimulating the "reward centers" of their brains by old-fashioned work, dating, competitive sports, or academia. They're sitting in front of a video game console with their eyes glazed over — their reward centers may as well be hardwired to the console through electrodes.
After all, why put in the hard work to naturally trigger the brain's reward centers, euphoria, endorphins, or anything else when the rush and instant gratification of video games is available at all times?
Young men are losing their abilities to be develop into men.
While video gaming is only one aspect of that problem, it's a large aspect.
It falls on the shoulders of parents to enforce guidelines on their children's video gaming habits.
If the brain centers of young men only fire up through the rush of playing video games, how can they ever learn to embrace what masculinity is all about?
While these young men are evermore shutting themselves away to play video games in their rooms — from society, from women, from their families, from their jobs — how will they ever learn to be good friends, good husbands, good fathers, or good employees?
How can Western civilization continue to walk this line between boy and man and still expect that the much-needed aspect of good, honest, God-fearing men will be present when we most need it?