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So, here’s some good news to balance some of all of the negative bullshit we hear about primarily the young “effeminate” men of today. Looking at Sweden, over the last few decades, and especially in the last 15, they seem to be turning towards a lifestyle of less alcohol, drugs, violence and crime. The drop in drinking is in the range of 50-80% for 15-year olds and the lowest since 1971. And the number of very young teens which have gotten drunk before the age of 13 is cut in half.

Drugs too are dropping over the last few years, with the exception of cannabis which has increased a bit. Drug use was about three times as common in the 70s with about 15% of the students, but dropped with the heavy youth-targeting anti-drug campaigns of the 80s to a third, then rose again as the campaigns disappeared, to finally drop again in the last six years today down to about 5%, but 14-22% for the 17-18-year-olds. Drug use is especially common in the Stockholm region and Skåne, with distinctly lower numbers for the rest of the country, differing from 17% to 12.5%, and especially low in the north, dropping to 9-7% for 18-year-olds, all of it of course a lot lower for the 15-year-olds, for them halving those numbers or more.

As a result kids less commonly do stupid things out of reduced judgement. They more seldom end up brawling and fighting, they more seldom end up with unwanted pregnancies and they more seldom end up vandalizing stuff. Smoking is still high though, and a few years later, getting close to 18 years old, both smoking and drinking is common, but still dropping steadily and quickly.

Staying at home playing games is a pretty safe bet as one of the major causes, and yes most of us would prefer if they read books on history, philosophy, science and religion instead, but looking at how my sons play, with games like WOW and GTA that requires careful planning of campaigns, 4-5 hours to complete a complex mission, and where the older son takes on a leader roll, guiding the rest of the team, who all serve in supportive functions with distinct roles, in order to solve sometimes fairly complex puzzles and tasks, all of it under increasing stress and under social pressure. This of course also requires learning to be clear with orders when giving or taking them, and learning to solve conflicts, as these are very much social interaction games, sometimes with friends, but also with strangers, or a mix of both, and commonly performed in English as international friends are common. And, which may be hard for us adults to see, also a distinct sense of accomplishment, pride and skill, building confidence.

it really is not a terribly bad thing to dedicate time to. Especially when considering both boys love the gym. And admittedly in many ways better than how I spent some of my time as a young man.