Students evaluate relationship between technology, boredom and the classroom

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Today’s college students have grown up with the constancy and omnipresence of technology. That means that many students use it—rely on it, even—but are also aware of the many detractions that accompany over-reliance on technology.

Many UW-Fox Valley students use it for research, writing perhaps that late-night paper at home and using the UW’s library page enlarge a paper’s or essay’s scope, but many also use it for far more mundane things.

“I Snapchat my friends and go on Tumblr and YouTube a lot,” said Jessica Boesch, a freshman at UW-Fox Valley.

“Sometimes I’ll stalk people’s information online. I think it’s fun to learn about other people’s lives,” Maya Weyenberg, a freshman, said.

While modern technology has become so integrated into our world today, it can be used for many different types of entertainment. Even so, we manage to become bored.

“I get bored all the time,” Weyenberg said.

Boredom, however, is a common complaint among users of technology. Multiple studies are pointing towards a unique conundrum: while mobile devices have the appearance of eliminating our boredom, more often than not, they do just the opposite.

“Sometimes [I] just get to the point where [I] run out of YouTube videos to watch. I still get bored,” Jessica Missall, a freshman, said.

It seems to have gotten to the point where technology is expected to be a part of nearly every aspect of life. At times, this accessibility can be detrimental.

“It’s a huge distraction,” Missall said, “and me being a procrastinator does not help.”

“[The distractions] can be a good thing. I get really stressed out about stuff, and you need to get away [from it], so then it’s there for you,” Boesch said.

Missall isn’t alone in knowing that technology interrupts our duties as students, and gets in the way of both school or work obligations, but also affects our sleep patterns as well.

“There’s been a lot of times [I’ve been too distracted],” Boesch said. “There have been some nights where I’m doing a nice little Netflix marathon, and I know I have school early in the morning, but it’s suddenly two or three in the morning. But I have to know what happens in the next episode!”

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The average student checks their mobile devices about 11.43 times during a class period for non-class reasons, according to a study by the Journal of Media Education • stock photo courtesy of Pexels.com under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

People can become overloaded with their work, school and other life obligations. When that happens, it’s incredibly easy to ignore tasks and soak up the entertainment from the digital world. However, when used correctly, modern technology has many helpful and impressive uses.

For college students, especially those far from home, the connectivity of technology has its benefits.

“It’s good to get instant connection with people. I’ll text my family a lot if we need to tell each other about stuff that coming up or family plans or whatever,” Weyenberg said.

College is a time of transitions, too, and sometimes we only know people for a semester or two before lives go in different directions. For these situations, keeping in touch has never been easier, as was the case for Missall’s sister, who made friends with someone on a plane flight.

“My sister, when she flew to Seattle, made a friend on the plane, and she still Snapchats her a lot, even though [her friend] lives in North Carolina. She still keeps in touch with her and I think that’s awesome,” Missall said.

Young people have grown up with modern electronic technology always present. As such, they have become quite accustomed to being able to use the internet and other similar resources in our lives.

“They’re having us do a lot more with [the internet in our school work and stuff], with having to use the internet for our papers [and other assignments],” Missall said.

The other worry of over-reliance on technology isn’t boredom from within, but boredom from without. It’s easy for students to let technology interrupt the social interactions they might otherwise have.

“You always have stuff to do [with technology], but it causes a different kind of boredom, since you’re not going out and doing stuff with people,” Boesch said. “Having our phones doesn’t encourage us to go out and meet new people.”

The world has become incredibly wrapped up in their use of technology and electronics. People have become used to its capabilities, and while they have managed to become underwhelmed by its power from time to time, they could all still remember and appreciate what they could do with what has been given to them.

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