As a society we appear to be really dropping the ball, because the numbers indicate that American boys are deeply struggling in just about every area. Many professionals are pointing to a “crisis of fatherhood” as one of the key factors, and as I pointed outthe other day, approximately a third of all U.S. children are now being raised in a home without a father. Of course this negatively affects our girls as well, but there is something about that lack of a masculine role model that seems to particularly hurt boys. However, the lack of a traditional family structure cannot explain all of the numbers that I am about to share with you. As you will see, we are facing a crisis that will not easily be solved.
It is a crisis of education. Worldwide, 60% of the students who achieve less than the baseline level of proficiency in any of the three core subjects of the Program for the International Assessment are boys. Even boys’ IQs are dropping.
And by the time college rolls around, the performance gap is absolutely enormous. In fact, females have earned at least 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the United Statesfor 18 years in a row.
The second area Farrell is deeply concerned about ismental health…
It is a crisis of mental health. Boys’ suicide rate goes from only slightly more than girls before age 14 to three times that of girls’ between 15 and 19, to 4 1/2 times that of girls between 20 and 24. Mass shooters, prisoners and Islamic State terrorism recruits are at least 90% male.
In addition to all of that, males commit90 percentof all homicides in the United States, and men lead women by a very wide margin in just about every other violent crime category as well.
This is one area where the lack of a father in the home really seems to make a difference. According to one very alarming study, when there is a 1 percent increase in fatherlessness in a neighborhood, on average it leads to a3 percent risein adolescent violence.
Sadly, it appears that our young people are steadily becoming unhappier over time. The following numbers come fromthe Free Beacon…
Recent years have seen a rise in Americans 12 to 25 saying they are unhappy. Since 2012, the proportion of 8th and 10th graders who tell theMonitoring the Futuresurvey that they felt unhappy has crept up from 13 percent to 18 percent. In roughly the same time, the proportion of 18- to 25-year-olds who say they are unhappy has risen from 11 to 17 percent, according to theGeneral Social Survey.
And as I pointed outin one recent article, other studies have found a clear link between unhappiness and social media use.
The Internet can be used for great good, but it can also be heavily toxic, and today many of our young people are “plugged in”almost constantly…
Essentially 100 percentof 18- to 24-year-olds are on social media. Fifty-four percentthinkthey spend too much time on their cellphone; 72 percent of teens say their phone is sometimes the first thing they look at upon waking up.
This, Twenge argues inher bookiGen, explains a lot about why they are unhappy. Using several national surveys, Twenge argues that screen-using activities are linked to indicators of depression and unhappiness. For example,she findsthat kids using devices more than three hours a day are 30 percent more likely to have an indicator of suicidality.
The third major area that Farrell is deeply concerned about isphysical health…
It is a crisis of physical health. American men’s life expectancy has decreased two-tenths of a year even as American women’s has remained the same. Boys and men are dying earlier in 14 out of 15 of the leading causes of death.
Overall, men are living4.9 yearsless than women in the United States.
One thing that would help would be to encourage our young men to avoid engaging in extremely risky behavior. Young males tend to get hooked on drugs and alcohol at much higher rates than young females, and one recent study found that an alarming percentage of our boys are having sex before they reach the age of 13. The following comes fromCBS News…
Talking to your children about sex can be awkward, but new research suggests that parents need to have those conversations much earlier than they do.
In two national surveys, investigators found that between 4% and 8% of boys reported having sex before they were 13. That number varied greatly depending on where the boys lived. In San Francisco, just 5% of boys said they had sex before 13, but in Memphis that number jumped to 25%.