The Internet is a huge resource of information, entertainment, news and knowledge. It is also filled with junk, sex, violence and hate. As a teenager, a monstrous amount self-control is needed in order not to be swayed to the dark side of the force. The combination of free time in front of the computer and unlimited Web access, there are no boundaries for the wandering teen.
So what would you do if you’re a teen and you’re bored? I was once there myself. I’m not someone you’d consider physically active so most of my free time was spent at a desk, staring at a monitor. To tell you the truth, even I got bored sometimes, not knowing what else to surf for. So I’ve come up with a list of things that bored teens can resort to, in order to save them from the misery.
It is ridiculously easy to be enveloped by the rubbish that’s online. So if you’re a parent, you’d want to read through these suggestions and pass them on to your teenage child. If you’re a teenager, I’m sure you’ll find these sites utterly entertaining.
1. Watch Videos
Let’s start with the most enjoyed leisurely activity. I’ve spent countless hours watching videos, either entertaining or educational. Time well spent. Here are some resources.
- YouTube — Undoubtably the world leader in online videos, YouTube is the place to go for entertainment. There are also a couple of educational videos there as well. If you have no idea what to watch, check out what others are watching or their most viewed videos.
- Veoh — An alternative source for online videos, Veoh features short clips as well as full-length movies which may not be found over at YouTube.
- Metacafe — Probably better for watching offbeat and less mainstream videos. Metacafe hosts lots of funny clips and weirdly, magic tricks.
- Dailymotion — Like everything else online, there isn’t an ultimate repository for something. In this case, YouTube can’t possibly host every video on earth. For the rest, there’s Dailymotion.
- CollegeHumor — Is probably targeted at the more mature viewers, yet their videos don’t exactly feature explicit content, merely tantalizing. Encircling the “funny” genre, CollegeHumor has tons of comedic and absurd videos.
- SouthParkStudios — This site doesn’t require a description. Oh my God, they killed Kenny!
2. Play Games
Alright, if the videos didn’t tickle your fancy, don’t sweat it. Perhaps a couple of hours of online gaming will cure your boredom. Contrary to what most parents believe, not all online games will render you a stoner. Some games really make you think and test your reflexes.
- Pogo — Has lots of popular games namely Boggle, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Mini Golf, Pool, card games like Poker, Blackjack and more.
- Miniclip — Hinted by the name of the site, Miniclip packs lots of small, fun, addictive games which span from tennis, golf, sports, girly games, shooting games, soccer, 5-minute games and brain trainers.
- Kongregate– One of the largest sites for online flash gaming with well over 25,000 games, they are elaborate and well-designed. If you’re looking for a way to download and play Kongregate games offline, Jason wrote a tutorial that will show you how.
- Newgrounds — This site has a lot of great puzzle games that will take up quite a bit of your spare time. The games are not mainstream but the ideas are simply innovative.
3. Read The News
As a teenager, you should start to understand and be aware of the current affairs of the world. Plus, news isn’t just about politicians or murder. News report on inventions, sports, advancements in science, social affairs and of course, celebrities and their lifestyles. There are just too many news websites for me to list and if they may very well be different from your personal favourite, especially if it’s about sports. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Let me give you a few examples of some of the websites that I visit frequently, maybe that will point you in the right direction.
For technology news:
- Engadget — These gearheads review just about anything under the sun that is powered by electricity or run on batteries.
- Gizmodo — My second favourite gadget news site. These guys have a real sense of humor and review the most outrageous stuff.
- T3 — From the popular and ubiquitous tech magazine, this is its online love child. They do great reviews so if you’re ever thinking of buying electronics, check this site out first.
For health news:
- WebMD — This health website is dedicated to providing medical and health information to the layperson in simple, easily-digestible nuggets. What is Pneumonia? What is vertigo? Do you have ADHD? No, the last one is not a band. If you are ever curious about the human body and everything that relates to it, WebMD can deliver it to you.
- The New York Times Health News — The NYT definitely provides more in-depth health news. They’ve also got great articles with tips to help you keep your disease at bay. If you suffer from a disease, it’s always better to learn more about it so that you’re able to differentiate myth from the truth.
- That’s Fit — is a health news sites that’s a little lighter on the details and medical terms. It’s generally for everyone to enjoy, with great tips on how to stay slim, lose weight, eat healthily, maintain your youth, and some valuable information for girls: the types of dieting and whether or not they work.
- Men’s Health — Okay, this isn’t exactly a health news site but since this article is targeted at teenagers who are, let’s face it — experiencing some biological changes, they do need some guidance during the transition. My mantra is “Better to know than not”. So let your curiosity run wild and find out as much as you can about being a man. Weirdly, understanding women is key to being a better man. Don’t be let down by the fact that you have to know more about the opposite sex in order to be more masculine.
- Women’s Health — I’m assuming that there may be at least some female readers so I not taking any chances. Women need to know myth from fact as well as men. Do cucumbers really remove dark circles under your eyes? Does shaving make your hair grow thicker? This website has the answers.
For celebrity news:
This is a topic that I’m 100% sure to be outdated. However, I’m willing to risk it and suggest a couple websites for celebrity news.
- Perez Hilton — It doesn’t really help that this Hollywood queen’s website is pink. But if it’s celebrity news and gossip that you want, I don’t think there’s anywhere better.
- TMZ — May be less provocative than Perez Hilton but it’s also one of the top celebrity news sites.
This could take a while, so I’m going to skip the rest of the news sites. I do have one final suggestion, that’s Alltop.com. It basically aggregates all the top stories from most of the top sites online and gathers them into this great webpage. You can then configure and personalize your own Alltop homepage with the news that you care about. Alltop was co-founded by Guy Kawasaki, an Apple evangelist.
4. Learn Something
We’ve arrived at my favourite part of this article. There’s so much to learn from the Internet. Especially when you’re a teenager and have so much free time, it’s a great opportunity to learn something new. Not only that, teenage guys love to make and fix things, processes which involve their hands. Perhaps mastering a magic trick or a guitar solo to impress girls.
Ladies, on the other hand, may be interested in the finer arts like cooking, crochet, fashion, etc. For this reason, I’ve separated this section. One for guys, the other for girls.
Pour les hommes
Let’s start with the sites that teach you how to use your hands. Instructables is the go-to site for everything DIY. This website teaches you everything from making your own lightsaber to fixing a leaky faucet. They’ve also got tutorials that teach you how to conduct your very own science experiments.
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is another one of my favourite websites. They’ve got some weird and crazy, out-of-this-world inventions, like this Larson Scanner Kit for Halloween. Everything listed here come with their how-to tutorial so that you can follow in their evil, mad footsteps.
The last site that I’d like to feature is Makezine, specifically their Projects page where you can find lots of cool DIY urm, projects to work your hands with.
Pour les femmes
If you (or your daughter) are into crafts: making your own jewelry, sewing, knitting, embroidery, making your own accessories, paper crafts; then I’ve got two sites for you to spend your time on. The first is CraftStylish. It has a huge directory on craft-making and their tutorials are easy to follow with photos for each step.
The second is the feminine version of Makezine — Craftzine. Like the boys’ site, Craftzine is a sea of craft-inspired projects that circles around fashion accessories, home design and making your own apparel. Pretty cool stuff.
If you’re into cooking, then I recommend these very fine cookery websites. My personal favourite is Jamie Oliver, a UK-based chef. His recipes are mind-numbingly simple (provided you have the right ingredients) and mind-blowingly delicious.
Another great website for foodies is Allrecipes, a community-driven website that’s rich in content, photos and reviews. It has recipes for every cuisine including Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Indian and Middle Eastern food.
If you were vigilant enough, you will have noticed that I’ve only listed 4 things for bored teenagers to do online. And they were in increasing order of usefulness and difficulty. Sorry folks, but the next 4 tips will have to come in the second part of this article. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this post and now have a few more things to do when you or your teen child is bored. If you have any suggestions for part 2, please feel free to voice them out in the comments.
Image credit: SAMAEL TRIP