You’re a 12 year old boy. Let’s say you have three hours (or more) to kill. Which would you rather do, entertain your superhero fantasies, kill a gazillion bad guys, and perhaps save the world, or read a book? While I haven’t conducted this research study, I would predict that of a sample of say 1000 twelve year old boys, 999 would choose saving the world (on video of course).
While I was a boy (in the log cabin era), I entertained my superhero fantasies by playing outside. (I was always Batman.) There wasn’t all that much going on inside, except when we got involved with very deep comic book reading sessions – Batman, Superman, Legion of Superheroes, that sort of thing. Of course, most children do go through a superhero phase. In fact, there was recently research conducted to see which comic book universe each state prefers (look at the source here). That just shows how many people love comic books!
I’m not sure what life would have been like had video games been available to us. I think that even reading comics would have been something seen as too slow and not having enough juice to hold our very fragile attention spans.
Boys of the modern era have a very tough time of it slogging through a book. Their sense of slowly letting a book unfold over time is becoming increasingly foreign to their experience – “Wait, it could take me three or more weeks to finish this story? No chance.”
I know that the usual answer is you have to find the subject matter that will engage their interests and they will connect to reading. I’m not so sure. The distractions are running rampant around their poor brains.
One solution is to start early if you can with a quiet time in the house that becomes sacred down time – no electronic interferences whatsoever (this means adults too). Steering your child to choose among some Newbery award winning books bit.ly/167jAMas part of the ritual may excite some dormant part of his psyche.
If this time becomes a part of the household ritual, then going off and saving the world, at least for that hour to an hour and a half, is something that will have to be put on hold. You may find one way of staving off BRDD.