Generation Z Is Already Bored by the Internet

Today’s teens are expierencing a new type of boredom: phone bored

Phone boredom occurs when you’re technically “on your phone,” but you’re still bored out of your mind. It’s that feeling when you’re mindlessly clicking around, opening and closing apps, looking for something to do digitally and finding the options uninteresting.

 

Teenagers today have unprecedented access to technology, and yet many report that they’ve never been so bored.

There is a notion among older people that teens, with their smartphones and unlimited internet access, never experience boredom. CNN and other media outlets have repeatedly declared that smartphones have killed boredom as we know it. “Today, we don’t have time to daydream. Waiting in the doctor’s office or standing in line, we can check our email, play Angry Birds, or Twitter,” a media consultant once declared in HuffPost.

But today’s teens are still bored, often incredibly so. They’re just more likely to experience a new type of boredom: phone bored.

As members of what has been dubbed “Generation Z,” a cohort that spans those born roughly between the years 1998 and 2010, today’s teens and tweens have had unparalleled access to technology. Many have had smartphones since elementary, if not middle school. They’ve grown up with high-speed internet, laptops, and social media.

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.

Phone boredom occurs when you’re technically “on your phone,” but you’re still bored out of your mind. It’s that feeling when you’re mindlessly clicking around, opening and closing apps, looking for something to do digitally and finding the options uninteresting.

Whereas previous generations may have scrolled through channels on the radio, wandered into different rooms in their house, or flicked through countless TV channels, today’s teens say they’ll sometimes open and close up to 20-30 apps, hoping that something, anything, will catch their attention.

“When I’m bored while I’m on my phone and I’m switching between different apps… I’m just searching for something to do,” said Addie, a 15-year-old in Long Island. “It’s like walking around your house in circles.” Often, they’ll find nothing on their phone entertaining and simply zone out and daydream.

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