Could videogames be responsible for a widening education gap between U.S. men and women?
The author of a piece in the Wichita Eagle seems to think so. Citing a drop in the number of American males earning college degrees, the article claims that women are not forcing males out of the classroom; instead, “Women are taking empty seats as males fall by the wayside.”
While some groups have pinned the fall of man on recent education reforms or the “feminization of the classroom,” the piece’s author notes that, “Males are dropping out of academics in all developed countries,” and, “Whatever is depressing boys' school performance is cutting across cultural and political boundaries and widely disparate educational systems.”
The “whatever” mentioned above does not remain unnamed for long, as the author offers, “This decline in boys' scores coincides with the emergence of video games.”
The author cites a pair of research studies a basis for his opinion: a 2009 study from Iowa State University’s Dr. Douglas Gentile, which stated that one in twelve 8-18 year old gamers were addicted (a study that Dr. Cheryl Olson later challenged), and a Denison University study from earlier this year, which examined the “displacement effect” videogames have on alternate activities, including studying.
Regarding the latter Denison University study, the article states, “Nevertheless, educators and computer enthusiasts are in denial, trying to find fault with the study or somehow deflect the damning evidence.”
The author ends with the following advice:
If we are going to stop this educational slide of males, we are going to have to take the electronic toys out of the hands of our young boys.