Boredom on the rise among american teens

Boredom on the rise among american youth


At the same time, mental health problems increase and young people spend more time alone

Anyone who grew up as a child in a time when television was not yet widespread and there was only one program anyway, or when the telephone only gradually penetrated homes, has experienced that when you were away from home, you were usually also unreachable, but also times of countless boredom. Even if you were hanging out with friends but couldn’t do anything with each other.

Now, virtually everyone has a smartphone with them, always offering or providing opportunities to watch videos, listen to music, play games, get information, communicate, or whatever else. One is never alone anymore, every break can be filled, There should not be as much boredom as there used to be, although boredom is probably always a part of adolescence..

Scholars once looked at the assessment of American young people of the statement: "I am often bored" in the representative survey "Monitoring the Future" with over 100.000 participants. The eighth, tenth and twelfth graders (13-14, 15-16, 17-18 years old) were asked to give their answer on a scale of 5 values. In 2008 the question was asked for the first time, the scientists have evaluated the results until 2017. There are no results further back, so the results are limited to the time when social networks were already present, but their use has become more widespread.

Boredom in the society of permanent spectacle

According to the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, adolescents seem to be more bored every year, although there was a small but not significant decrease around the financial crisis, but from 2010 onwards they become increasingly bored. Boredom is even more widespread among girls than among boys. Among them, however, boredom decreases across the age groups; among boys, the 15-16 year olds are the most bored. Over the years, boredom increases by 1.6 percent annually among boys and by 1.7 percent among girls. The increase is particularly strong among girls in the tenth grade, with an annual increase of 2 percent.

It is difficult to interpret the increasing boredom among schoolchildren. Are they really becoming more bored, are expectations of times that are not perceived as boring increasing, or is it perhaps only the prere to avoid boredom as much as possible that is increasing in the attention and media society and spectacles are expected?? Finally, media offerings ranging from movies and videos to timelines and computer games are a "Montage of attractions". This should then perhaps also look like the life after the models of the prominent ones. According to a survey of German young people, many feel stressed by the use of digital media (Generation Tired).

In any case, scientists tend not to see boredom also as an opportunity for creativity and mube, or as a break from constant media activity, but also to pontificate and stigmatize it. They see the growth of boredom linked to the growth of mental health problems, which – a nice way to put it – "the predominant psychosocial profile of U.S. youth is becoming less optimal".

Elizabeth Weybright, one of the authors links the increased boredom to sensation seeking and depression. Both are on the rise among young people, she says, as is digital media use. Between 2006 and 2012, they say, usage time doubled among 17-18 year olds. At the same time, it was observed that young people were going out less with friends and spending more time alone: "Perhaps boredom is just one more indicator of young people’s dissatisfaction with how they spend their time." She thinks we need to intervene here, linking rising boredom to trends in mental health, depression and social interaction.