Before I even read the post about boredom and smart phones, I knew I was going to agree with the premise.
"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.' "Indeed.
How often have you looked around at others while you're walking down the street, waiting at the subway station, or standing at the checkout line and seen people with their heads bowed as if at prayer, gazing down at their smart phones and pecking away at its keyboard or browsing the web? I look around all the time and I see this phenomenon all the time. This is particularly so at social gatherings, be they with friends or at family events.
On more than one occasion at a family gathering of the WP Clan I've seen the teens and young adults pecking away at their phones. They're engaged with whatever is going on on their screens but aren't really in the here and now with everyone else. Whether it's due to boredom (likely) or the 'need' to be connected 24/7/365 (also likely), they're physically present but they aren't interacting with the people actually around them.
Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I have a phone that lets me make phone calls and to text. And while it does have the capability to surf the web, I don't use it (and don't want to pay for it). Texting comes in handy if I need to send or receive messages from the missus or my son that don't require an immediate response (usually reminders about appointments, things to pick up at the supermarket, etc) I won't spend hours at a time pecking away at the keypad to 'talk' to my family, friends, or acquaintances. If I need or want to do that I'll call them and talk to them or, a novel idea, visit them.
I have no problem with being bored on occasion. During the summer I'll go down to the town beach or the boat ramp and just watch people. It amazes me what I'll see there from time to time. Sometimes I take a walk and will think things over. (That helps me a lot at work when I get stuck on something - I'll go take a walk outside and mull things over. I've solved a lot of problems and come up with interesting ideas doing just that.)
However, with the constant stimulation provided by smart phones, tablets, and the like, that opportunity has disappeared for a lot of people. That's a shame.
This reminds me of something I heard a long time ago from a number of different sources that describes exactly what has been going on: Too many people are merely living on this world, not in it. Those in this world live in a state of constant amazement at what they experience.
I'd like to think I'm one of those living in it.