Doomscrolling, a term that gained popularity in recent years, refers to the act of continuously scrolling through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. This behavior is particularly associated with the way people consume news on social media and news apps, where a constant stream of updates and notifications makes it easy to get caught in a cycle of reading negative news stories for long periods. In the context of health impacts of technology, doomscrolling can have significant effects on mental and emotional well-being.
The phenomenon of doomscrolling often arises during times of global or national crisis, such as a pandemic, political turmoil, or natural disasters. During these periods, people might find themselves drawn to their screens in an effort to stay informed. However, the nature of social media and news platforms, with their endless feeds and ability to personalize content based on user behavior, can result in an overwhelming exposure to distressing news. This can lead to a sense of being bombarded by negative information, fostering feelings of anxiety, fear, and helplessness.
The mental health impacts of doomscrolling are notable. Consistent exposure to negative news can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also disrupt sleep patterns, especially if engaged in before bedtime, leading to poorer sleep quality and its associated health risks. The constant absorption of negative information can skew perception, leading to a more pessimistic outlook on life and a feeling that the world is more threatening than it actually is.
However, it’s important to balance the need to stay informed with the need to maintain mental health. Setting boundaries for news consumption is crucial. This can involve designated times for checking news updates or limiting news consumption to certain times of the day. Choosing reputable news sources and avoiding sensationalist media can also help in managing the emotional impact of the news.
In conclusion, doomscrolling is a behavior pattern facilitated by the digital age, where the accessibility and abundance of news can lead to overconsumption of negative information. Being mindful of the amount of time spent on news platforms and the type of news consumed is important for maintaining mental and emotional well-being. By consciously moderating news intake and focusing on a balanced view of world events, individuals can protect themselves from the negative mental health impacts of doomscrolling.