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Young Malaysians are especially bored

News, 07 October 2015

SINGAPORE: Young people often complain about being bored but more 12-24 year olds in Malaysia are bored than anywhere else in the world according to a new study.

MTV, the youth channel, surveyed 15,330 respondents in this age group across 26 markets, including six Asia Pacific countries – Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore – as well as carrying out qualitative face-to-face interviews in several cities, including Kuala Lumpur.

Mumbrella reported the finding that 83% of young Malaysians are bored, with around seven in ten claiming to suffer from ennui daily or several times a week.

Neighbouring Singapore also has a high proportion of jaded youth, with 78% experiencing high levels of boredom.

But across the Malacca Strait, Indonesia contains some of the world's least bored young people – just 53% there said they felt bored.

In a digitally connected world it seems extraordinary that boredom could be so widespread, especially when the study also highlighted the fact that media and entertainment – social media, music, films, YouTube clips – is the top way to alleviate the condition.

But, paradoxically, it appears that having constant internet access via connected devices leads to an overabundance of choice and this may actually be fuelling boredom.

Indeed, more respondents rated browsing the web as boring (40%) than they did school (39%) or work (33%).

Sixty percent also said they resented being bored, so much so that significant proportions would rather be feeling anxious (58%) or suffering from acne (53%). But boredom was still preferable to having no money, failing or being embarrassed.

"We thought boredom might barely exist for youth," said Kerry Taylor, international head of MTV, who said the survey results had come as a surprise.

She added that "insights like these reinforce the importance of cross-platform initiatives that unleash our audience's creativity and inspire them by tapping into what they're passionate about".

Boredom appears to be a solitary problem as most young people (95%) are least bored when with their friends. A similarly high proportion thought humour a good way to beat boredom, with creativity (85%) and curiosity (81%) also rating highly.

Data sourced from Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff