Why a Little Boredom is Healthy this Summer

A recent article from Microsoft Corporation found that people lose concentration faster than goldfish. The study proposes that goldfish will lose concentration after approximately nine seconds, while humans lose focus after just eight seconds. The study asserted that in the year 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds for humans. The implication of the study is that we have lost four seconds on average in our ability to concentrate over the course of 17 years. The likely conclusion – technology.

These days children are bombarded with constant stimuli in our environment – smart phones, video games, television, ipads and much more.  Adults too are often found not far from their phones as we are constantly connected, communicating and moving from task to task.

We need to be reminded of the importance of slowing down and allowing ourselves time to to think and relax and be present and we can start by allowing our child(ren) a little more boredom in their lives.

But encouraging a little boredom does not mean condemning all of technology and moving toward a complete Luddite society.  Our brains are adaptable and naturally our attention spans will begin to change over time with or without technology.  In fact, studies have shown that technology has made people more efficient and better at multitasking.

So how do we encourage boredom in our children?  Part of the answer is breaking our addiction to technology. Limit the amount of time your child spends on their iPad or their phone.  Suggest other alternatives. Find ways to be bored.  Boredom allows children to be creative with their time and hear themselves think.  For example, reading a book, playing an instrument or sitting by the pool. All of which can be done without a phone in hand.  Don’t make plans and spend time enjoying eachother’s company. We can teach our kids how to explore, how to get dirty and how to enjoy nature without technology.

This may be a challenge but, remember, you as the parent are the boss.  We need to curb our screen time as well and teach our child(ren) by practicing what we preach.  Each family is different and just because other kids may have unlimited access to technology does not mean that your child has to.  Learn to inspire your child to be different. Challenge the culture of busy, and enjoy a little boredom from time to time!

About the Author

bonnieBonnie Trainor, LCSW is a therapist at our Edison Park location. Bonnie works with teens and adults. Bonnie’s specialties include loss, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and adoption and infertility. If you are interested in working with Bonnie, send an email today!