Technology has killed boredom, and it comes at a price

It’s only traces. Tracks which will now be the subject of more in-depth work. This observation comes directly from researchers at the Universities of Bath and Trinity, who have been investigating the question of the relationship to boredom in a world where technology and its contribution to entertainment is everywhere. Over time, technological advances have allowed us to wear items that are increasingly practical, discreet and easy to carry, giving us access to an unlimited source of content to watch at our leisure.

The problem is that both content and technology have been so optimized that in just ten seconds of downtime it is still possible to find something good to do on your smartphone. The years have passed, a pandemic has passed and the content has become shorter and shorter, the platforms are more and more studied to become our only source of dopamine and the boredom has completely disappeared.

A quarter of an hour of peace before falling asleep in the evening, and it is now possible to fill it with a podcast. A red light, in a car or on foot, and it’s always possible to see a TikTok, respond to a snap, take your BeReal of the day. The films have become too long. The series favored episodes of less than 30 minutes. A whole movement to lead to a point: entertainment can be grafted anywhere and all the time. Our hand can grab our phone out of habit without even trying to figure out why we find it useful to unlock our screen.

Superficial boredom vs deep boredom

Let’s go back to the work of the universities of Bath and Trinity, in England and in Canada (Toronto), which have worked together to study the real problem in the use of technology and access to boredom-busting entertainment.

According to the researchers, as explained by our colleague Antoine Gautherie from Nerd’s diary, the death of our boredom has reduced to nothing a great human need, namely imagination, creativity and self-building. Boredom can also, thanks to the moments of pause, mark moments of the day, of the week, even of the month with a blank dot, avoiding accelerated mental fatigue, anxiety, stress. Without these breaks, and without this boredom, it would also be easier to wander and more complicated to find new passions and live new experiences.

The other side of the coin would be in the deepest boredom when, for example during the pandemic, some found themselves with an overcrowded amount of time. This boredom has harmful effects. Nerd’s diary recalled that according to the philosopher Martin Heidegger, deep boredom would result in increasing indifference and apathy.

The researchers’ work with the technology was therefore to target exactly which irritation the technologies caused death. Faced with deep boredom, there would be superficial boredom, a kind of antechamber to deep boredom. It is he who will present himself as indispensable, both for the short downtimes of our days that allow us to rhythm the time and satisfy ourselves with intense moments, but also for occasional access to deeper problems for real to be able to rest, come back with new ideas, change and develop your imagination.

This is how this first Anglo-Canadian study aims to raise awareness so that further work can be done in the future to prevent an even more global spread of technologies. “The pandemic has been a tragic, destructive experience for many people, especially the less fortunate. But we’ve also all heard stories of incarcerated people who have found new hobbies, new careers, or even new goals in life. ยป, explained Timothy Hill, sociologist at the University of Bath and co-author of this work. There you have it: Don’t forget to be bored these end of the year.

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