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Handhelds Science

Why It's Bad That Smartphones Have Banished Boredom 351

Hugh Pickens writes "Doug Gross writes that thanks to technology, there's been a recent sea change in how people today kill time. 'Those dog-eared magazines in your doctor's office are going unread. Your fellow customers in line at the deli counter are being ignored. And simply gazing around at one's surroundings? Forget about it.' With their games, music, videos, social media and texting, smartphones 'superstimulate,' a desire humans have to play when things get dull, says anthropologist Christopher Lynn and he believes that modern society may be making that desire even stronger. 'When you're habituated to constant stimulation, when you lack it, you sort of don't know what to do with yourself,' says Lynn. 'When we aren't used to having down time, it results in anxiety. 'Oh my god, I should be doing something.' And we reach for the smartphone. It's our omnipresent relief from that.' Researchers say this all makes sense. Fiddling with our phones, they say, addresses a basic human need to cure boredom by any means necessary. But they also fear that by filling almost every second of down time by peering at our phones we are missing out on the creative and potentially rewarding ways we've dealt with boredom in days past. 'Informational overload from all quarters means that there can often be very little time for personal thought, reflection, or even just 'zoning out,'" researchers write. 'With a mobile (phone) that is constantly switched on and a plethora of entertainments available to distract the naked eye, it is understandable that some people find it difficult to actually get bored in that particular fidgety, introspective kind of way.'"
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Why It's Bad That Smartphones Have Banished Boredom

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  • Games (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dupple ( 1016592 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:11AM (#41476079)

    I think they may have a point. Every time I go for a dump, I take my phone with me and have a quick dash around with Temple Run

    Sometimes though, it's just a quick dash with the runs

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dupple ( 1016592 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:19AM (#41476117)

    Sometimes I wish the dash to the bathroom was...

  • by heathen_01 ( 1191043 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:29AM (#41476189)

    Looking at a magazine is outside your little closed world that you carry in your pocket.

    I use an android phone.

  • by fluor2 ( 242824 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:32AM (#41476203)

    Sometimes he felt the need to take it out and hide from the real world.
    Always in his pocket, the temptation grew stronger and stronger.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Funny)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @08:48AM (#41476347) Journal

    Every time I go for a dump, I take my phone with me...

    Cell phones may encourage people to do a more thorough job of expelling their wastes. People will sit there until they clear the level, or get to the next save point, or finish the round before... um... getting started on the paperwork. To justify the time spent clearing the level on the cell phone, they will attempt to, shall we say, clear the level internally. Thus they wind up with a cleaner colon. This could lead to reduced instances of colon cancer and other diseases.

    Of course, it leads to longer line-ups on the other side of the stall door.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @09:06AM (#41476557)
    Well, at least we can now snap a photo and see what's going on down there. Word of advice, though: ziplock bag.
  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:18AM (#41477351) Journal

    Touchscreens and walking don't mix..

    I disagree. I often use my iPhone for posting to slashdot on the move even in heavy traff

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:29AM (#41477469) Journal

    Is while car pooling, the driver pulling out his smartphone and dicking around with it, eyes not on the road, barrelling along at 80 mph, in moose country, in the dark. Makes one appreciate not car pooling and just driving myself to work alone.

    You do know that killing someone in self defence is not a crime? Get the fucker to pull over and remove his head with your weapon of choice. You are just stopping him from killing you.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday September 27, 2012 @12:09PM (#41478727) Homepage Journal

    One of the hardest earliest barriers to get over was the idea of sitting idle for 30 minutes... An aside I feel is related I can't remember the last time I had a good meaningful conversation with a group of friends or even one on one. Hell, even meaningless conversation with depth seems to have left.

    I love it when someone gives me a reason to like being old enough to remember when phones were tied to walls and had no user ID. I'll crank up the stereo and sit on the porch with a beer and watch traffic go by for hours. Go to the bar and have meaningless conversations with the drunks (Crazy John is often amusing). Go to McDonald's with my daughter... I pity you kids.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian