WSU researcher studies boredom during the pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash.– If TikTok is any indication, we’ve been bored in the house for quite some time. It turns out there is data to back that up. Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) have been studying boredom as it relates to the pandemic.

Among those studying emerging trends is associate professor Elizabeth Weybright.

“It’s a really interesting time, I think, to be studying boredom,” Weybright said.

Weybright took to Twitter last spring to track tweets that mention boredom and the pandemic.

“The big piece that came out is that people were anticipating being bored. They’re thinking, I can’t do anything. I’m going to be so bored. Or they were saying that I’m really bored,” Weybright said.

As most kids learn from home and spend endless hours inside, boredom can have some unintended consequences parents should watch out for.

“That’s really where we see in some research that being bored is associated with things  we don’t want to see, like substance abuse or other risk behaviors, especially in adolescents,” Weybright said.

As a mother to two children, Weybright takes time to talk with her kids about how they’re feeling and different ways to beat boredom.

“At a time when we lack control over a lot of things because of the pandemic, having ways to give your kids control back and opportunities when you can is really helpful,” Weybright said.

But keep in mind, being bored isn’t all bad.

“I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about feeling bored and in fact, I think it’s great to have your kids kind of sit with their boredom and have to navigate that on their own a little bit, like I said, in developmentally appropriate ways,” Weybright said.

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