Social media denies us the rewards of boredom

Nowadays over half of the people worldwide have a social media account. The moment we are bored, taking a break, eating lunch, or doing any activity that doesn’t require much attention, we grab our phone and check our socials. Some sources even say Americans check their phones 344 times a day (that’s roughly once every 3 minutes, given 8 hours of sleep).

But according to new research this easy form of distraction and entertainment comes with a downside; it prevents us from becoming bored. The study used two sorts of boredom: ‘superficial’ and ‘profound’. Superficial is the most common kind of boredom and will be familiar to most of us. Think,  for example, waiting for the bus. Profound boredom however stems from an abundance of uninterrupted time in relative solitude, and pushes people to question their sense of self and their existence, but can also motivate creative thinking and activities.

The problem is, social media is a very effective cure for superficial boredom, preventing people from ever developing into a stage of more profound boredom, wherein they might discover new passions and more meaningful things in life. This is one of the pitfalls in a culture where people are connected  24/7. When no more room is left to be bored, we might miss essential boredom-induced reflection on our lives and the direction we’re going, suggesting people that take a digital detox might be onto something.