We’ve all been there, bored and not ready to go to bed, so we just sit there, staring and scrolling. Not actually absorbing anything as we swipe past photos of parties and pets, of memes and meals, fashion and friends. It feels entertaining in the moment but afterwards it’s just hollow. Or worse, it makes you feel bad about yourself since it doesn’t seem to live up to the picture-perfect lives on Instagram.
Scrolling on social media is addictive, especially since we almost always have our phones close at hand. A great way to break out of this pattern is to find other activities to do on your phone to keep your brain occupied.
These are our top picks for entertainment on your phone that isn’t social media:
Mobile gaming is the obvious first choice. In only about two decades, mobile gaming has grown from Snake and Tetris to an industry worth over £75bn. Mobile gaming offers fairly simple gameplay, great graphics and games in all the major genres — and some niche ones! It’s no surprise that mobile gaming has become one of our favourite ways to pass the time.
The fact that most mobile games are free to play, though many offer in-app purchases, adds to their popularity. For players looking for something a bit more exciting, where real money is on the line, there are also online casino apps.
Online casinos, such as Playerz, allow users to play all the big casino games. This includes everything from slot machines to poker, blackjack and roulette. The extra appeal of these sites is how convenient they are — you can have the full casino experience while playing on your mobile in bed.
Learning a new language can seem like a daunting task when you’re first starting out. It seems like it will require a massive commitment of time and energy without any guarantee that you’ll actually be able to hold a conversation. Language learning with a mobile app helps to break the process down into much more manageable chunks.
There are many apps that are designed to help users learn a new language or improve their conversational skills in a language they’ve been learning for a while. Research has shown that learning a language through frequent, short lessons is more effective than the occasional long lesson. Mobile phones lend themselves perfectly to this style of learning.
Some language learning apps, such as Mondly, even include an augmented reality element that makes practicing vocabulary easier and more fun. Augmented reality overlays make it easier to connect the words you’re learning with the things you see around you.
Learning a language is also a great way to interact with people, instead of just looking at social media posts. Joining a beginner’s group to practice with or working with a native speaker who is learning your language and wants to exchange tutoring assistance can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Learn a new skill
Instead of wasting time envying other people’s lives, you can use your phone to learn new skills that will make your life more interesting. The internet is full of informational content, from YouTube tutorials and wikiHows, to in-depth articles by experts on every topic imaginable.
These don’t necessarily have to even be useful skills — everyone can use a good party trick or two, right? Lock picking, for example, is not a skill most people will ever need in their daily lives, but it is incredibly cool.
Is there something you’ve always thought looked interesting and wished you knew how to do? Using your mobile phone to watch tutorials, read explanations and track your own progress is a good way to finally make it happen.
These are all great suggestions when you have the time and energy to invest in more active entertainment. Sometimes, however, you just want to relax and turn your brain off for a bit. Watching television shows and films on your mobile is a great way to unwind during a long commute or once you have arrived home.
There has been some pushback recently about the number of streaming services there are and how it can become a major expense to subscribe to all the services that have things you want to watch on them. These criticisms are valid, but until we develop a better system, streaming services continue to provide us with countless hours of entertainment.
Social media is a great way to keep in touch with our friends and family, but if you feel like mindless scrolling has taken over your life, consider some of these entertaining alternatives.
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