An Essay on Boys Adrift By My Son

John is fourteen years old, he has some friends but he doesn’t really care about talking to them or interacting with them, Collin chooses to hang out with his virtual friends on The Sims 4. Collin doesn’t play any instruments, instead he plays Guitar Hero. John doesn’t go outside much unless he has to. Instead he plays Rust. Collin doesn’t do a lot of work, but he does have a job in a mafia on Grand Theft Auto IV. Collin doesn’t do any sports, but he is on the top ten list of Madden 25. In short, Collin has no life. Do you want your child to be like Collin? Hopefully not! Today I will talk about why so many young men end up like Collin, Drifting along the current, doing nothing at all, just going where the current goes. Lifeless. These boys are boys adrift!

Boys Adrift is a fascinating book written by Leonard Sax, a family physician and researcher. The book focused on what was causing men and boys to become apathetic, lazy, and videogame addicts. In his book he goes over some of the main factors that cause lazy gamers and apathetic young men. After these factors he explains what we can do about it. The factors are; Changes at school, video games and medication for ADHD.

Let us start at the very beginning, the first factor; Changes in school. In this chapter doctor Sax explains that so many young boys are thought to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) but in reality the real deal is the fact that little five year old boys aren’t made to read and write, five year old boys are supposed to run outside and play, to do arts and crafts and to jump around! Sax explains that in the 1990s and below, kindergarten was just arts and crafts, but now they have replaced arts and crafts with things done in first grade, little boys just aren’t made to sit down for hours on end doing reading and writing exercises.
 After that he talks about video games, he plainly states that he disagrees with video games, but not all video games, he says that the way to find if a game is appropriate for your child, is to play it, and figure out if the game rewards you for killing innocent people or cops like Grand Theft Auto. If so, you probably shouldn’t let your child play it. Sax also talks about how young men and boys like to play video games because in video games you get instant power. All men have a thirst for power, in real life it is hard to achieve but in video games you are clicks away from being billionaires or hardened criminals. He also talks about how boys use video games as an escape from conflict, for instance if his mom and dad are fighting and his sister is mad at them, instead of facing his problems he will go get on the computer and play a game like The Sims 4, where he can manage his own virtual family that doesn’t fight. 

Sax also says that video games sacrifice boys real life’s in exchange for virtual ones, many men don’t see why they should get married and get a better job when their virtual character on The Sims already is married and has over a billion dollars. He goes on to say that not all video games are bad, for instance, games like Rainbow Siege Six where the player goes against a team of terrorists and must save a hostage, if they kill the hostage they will be punished. 
The last factor we will talk about is medication for ADHD. ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder causes children to not focus and to be jittery and as it implies, hyperactive. Five year old boys just aren’t made for sitting six hours a day doing math and more, they were made to run and jump, many parents, when they send their boys to kindergarten, the teacher says they might have ADHD but in reality, they are just little boys! ADHD medication is extremely dangerous, it causes the children to become docile, which is good in school but it also makes they lazy and apathetic. Many boys and young men become lazy couch potatoes after using ADHD medicine for too long. The best thing you can do is to not give your children medication, instead just hold them back from kindergarten for a year.

 Now that we have discussed what the problems are, we can now discuss solutions to each of those problems. The first thing you can do is to hold your boy(s) back from kindergarten for a year! Being one year behind is not so bad! Many parents worry that their child will be dumb or looked down upon, but this is a rare case and it is better than having your child be fidgety in class and be thought to have ADHD. A solution for videogames is to set a time limit on your child’s game time, for instance half an hour on the weekdays and one hour on the weekends. Is it too late? Is your child already sucked into the games? Here is a solution to that, give them the real deal, for instance, does your child like to play MXGP2? Then take them out to a motorcycle ramp and rent a motorcycle! Videogames are safer? Men and boys are supposed to be scratched and bruised! As Leonard Sax put it “Girls and boys respond to stress differently – not just in our species, but in every mammal scientists have studied. Stress enhances learning in males. The same stress impairs learning in females. (Leonard Sax)”.

 Now I don’t mean if your child likes Watchdogs or Grand Theft Auto then go take them out on the street and crash cars and kill cops but I do mean, find them other interests, take them to an amusement park or on a boat ride, find them an outdoor activity! Another thing you need to do is to make sure they don’t have any devices in their room, if they have their computer in their room then take it out and put it in a family room like the living room or kitchen, just make sure it is by the family and out in the open! As for the ADHD medical problem, first off, as I said earlier, hold your child back a year. You should also try to find a natural health expert. Has your child already taken the medicine? Rehabilitate them! Take them on hikes and fishing trips, bike rides and backpacking trips, take them to different states and countries! 

Just don’t let them sit at home doing nothing because they always feel tired or lazy! To find out more about why boys are drifting along, not doing anything, read Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, it is a fascinating book filled with many tips and studies.  

Emmett Pepito

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