So, now the generation Z is getting bored with smartphones and the internet, as millennials got bored of television and cable TV. A recent article in The Daily Beast claims that teenagers today are battling phone boredom, despite unprecedented access to technology. As per reporter Taylor Lorenz, teens today experience a new type of boredom: phone bored.
Lorenz writes, “It’s tempting to think that these devices, with their endless ability to stimulate, offer salvation from the type of mind-numbing boredom that is so core to the teen experience. But humans adapt to the conditions that surround them, and technical advances are no different. What seemed novel to one generation feels passé to the next. To many teens, smartphones and the internet have already lost their appeal”.
Boredom during the growing up years is not a new phenomenon.
We have all experienced it. For the millennials, it used to be the long summer vacations, when you had to kill the afternoons under the whir of coolers or fans, until your mother granted permission to go out and play. No feeling of relief and excitement can match when you finally marched out to embrace the evenings. Today, we cannot fathom such boredom, when we see youngsters and kids armed to the teeth with gadgets and internet. You have so many games to play, cartoons to watch, and cat videos to zone out to.
Phone Boredom: When you hit a media consumption wall
Have you ever sat during a meal, binging on greasy food one minute, and feeling like you are about to puke the next? When you hit that wall, even the sight of food makes you nauseous. Phone boredom is when you hit your media consumption wall. You feel like you have seen everything there is to see on YouTube or played every possible game you could. Suddenly, all posts on social networking feel repetitive and you lose the will to interact.
The result is that you keep opening and closing apps, and sifting through social media, just searching for something to engage your attention, but you find nothing.
As Lorenz says, “To a parent or the casual observer, a phone-bored teen may appear engaged. After all, they’re on their phone, which many people consider an inherently engaging activity. In reality, they’re bored out of their mind.”
The look of disinterest is so palpable in their eyes, which refuses to budge from the screen despite the boredom. But it’s unfair to create a big show about phone boredom. It’s just that we humans have a tendency of getting bored with monotony and things which are handed to us on a platter, especially during the teen years.
Boredom actually is not as bad as we make it sound. It makes you value creativity and interaction.
We wouldn’t have cared much about running wild on playgrounds with our friends with joy, had we not experienced boring afternoons. Those who take the cue, learn to channel boredom into creativity or activity. Probably we should be motivating our teenagers to do the same. As Lorenz said in an interview to CBSN, “I think it’s about producing something and creating something instead of just consuming”.
Phone boredom is a mere sign of saturation with internet and smart phone exposure. Parents should interact with teens and propel them towards activities outside of digital life. But there is a chance that they will keep getting bored with every new gadget or activity, unless we manage to help them learn the relation between engagement and productivity.
Picture Credit: Newscrab
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.