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What Happens to Teens When They Are Bored?

By Kristine Tucker ; Updated June 13, 2017

When teenagers get bored, they struggle to stay motivated and often lose sight of their goals. Boredom often results in apathy, so many teens neglect their school work, extracurricular activities and household chores when they feel lethargic and unmotivated. For some teens, boredom leads to trouble because they engage in unhealthy activities to boost their excitement level. Most teens feel frustrated when they experience long periods of boredom.

Low Energy

Bored teens often experience low energy levels that affect their school work, attitudes, goals and attention spans. Persistent boredom often leads to low energy levels, loss of concentration, lack of motivation and slow thinking skills, according to PsychCentral.com. A bored teenager might skip school or neglect family chores because he doesn't have the energy or motivation to accomplish tasks. Parents can help by ensuring that their teen makes it to school, completes his homework and fulfills his home responsibilities. Parents might need to use an alarm clock, activity chart or other time-management strategies to make sure their teen doesn't sleep all day.

Troubled Behavior

Boredom can lead to inappropriate and illegal activities because teens often look for exciting ways to increase their low energy levels. Joseph Califano, chairman and president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, says the likelihood a teenager will smoke, drink and use illegal drugs increases if she feels bored, as reported on CBSnews.com. Boredom is a catalyst for substance abuse because many teens don't know how to deal with lethargy, depression and apathy in healthy, constructive ways.

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Disinterest in Family

Teens often feel bored with their families and lose interest in family interactions and activities. "Family has become more boring because there is less spoken communication and meaningful time together," says psychologist Carl Pickhardt at PsychologyToday.com. A teenager might choose to spend the night with friends, stay out late or avoid family dinnertime when he feels bored at home. Technology, computers, cell phones, video games and social media make it difficult for parents to compete with teen interests and engage in meaningful interactions.

Inability to Self-Entertain

Teenagers have trouble entertaining themselves when they are dependent on electronics. "Resourcefulness to actively self-entertain has been lost because passive entertainment is so easy to access," Pickhardt suggests. Electronic entertainment has its disadvantages because once a teen gets too familiar with a video game, tires of the same old TV shows or loses interest in Facebook, her boredom increases. She often lacks the creativity and motivation to come up with new projects, invest in hands-on activities or create new forms of entertainment. Excitement that comes from using electronic activities loses its lasting value, and then the teen is back on empty, Pickhardt says.

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