18.06.2024

What is doomscrolling and why do we specifically look for bad news

This is the flip side of knowing everything.

What is doomscrolling and why do we specifically look for bad news

The coronavirus pandemic, economic, political and environmental instability, military and social conflicts all contribute to the development of anxiety. When reading the news, you may get the feeling that the world is inevitably moving towards its last day.

Sometimes the search for confirmation of this belief turns into a real mania. Lifehacker explains why this happens.

What is doom scrolling

Doomsurfing' and 'Doomscrolling'/Merriam-Webster The tendency to watch and read bad news, even though it is depressing, upsetting, and demoralizing. Also sometimes used is a similar term “doomsurfing” (doomsurfing), denoting a deliberate search for such newsworthy events.

If you periodically spend several minutes or even hours reading disturbing news to the detriment of your business or sleep, you may be prone to doomscrolling. Often the sensations from it are compared with diving into the “rabbit hole”.

The term itself originated with Leskin P. Staying up late reading scary news? There's a word for that: 'doomscrolling'/Business Insider no later than 2018 on Twitter, where it was spotted by Quartz reporter Karen Ho. The latter, in turn, began to periodically post between 23:00 and 01:00 reminder tweets that it was time to stop doomscrolling and go to bed.

“Take a break from all the doom scrolling and all that stuff. I'll be back on Tuesday or so. That's what I'm doing”

“Hi, are you still doomscrolling?”

The concept became popular after the article by Barabak M.Z. ‘Quarantini.’ ‘Doomscrolling.’ Here’s how the coronavirus is changing the way we talk/Los Angeles Times in Los Angeles Times April 2020. Then, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the audience of social networks increased significantlyQ1 2020. Letter to Shareholders/Twitter and media Koeze E., Popper N. The Virus Changed the Way We Internet/The New York Times, publishing news. People began to spend much more time looking for relevant information.

The name of one of the then studies was Depoux A., Martin S., Karafillakis E., et al. The pandemic of social media panic travels faster than the COVID-19 outbreak/Journal of Travel Medicine: “The social media panic pandemic is spreading faster than the coronavirus outbreak.” And the WHO saidFighting the infodemic against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic: encouraging responsible behavior and reducing the harmful effects of misinformation and misinformation/WHO, which is fighting not only COVID-19, but also the so-called infodemic that has arisen around the disease.

Gradually, doomscrolling began to be talked about not only in connection with the news of the pandemic, but also in relation to any other events that generate fear or anxiety.

As a result, the term doomscrolling became The Dictionary.com Word Of The Year For 2020 Is…/Dictionary.com one of the words of 2020. However, today it has not lost its relevance.

Because of what there is a tendency to doomscrolling

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and other frightening events of recent times, two deeper reasons can be identified.

We are afraid of missing important news

In the news, people usually look for answers to questions about how the world is arranged, about pressing problems and events that concern them personally. We aim for Rutledge P. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium understand what is really going on. In this regard, doomscrolling can give a feeling of control over the situation.

Also, the desire to “stay in the know” may seem like a kind of civic duty to a person, and ignorance of what is happening in the world is a sign of backwardness from life. The fear of not being informed can be compared to the fear of missing out.

The urge to read bad news may be due to Rutledge P. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium and the fact that we intuitively try to prepare for potential threats. After all, the principle of “forewarned is forearmed” has contributed to the survival of people as a species since ancient times.

This is how social networks and news resources are arranged

“Shock content” has long been known to be very popular. Therefore, the media actively use our desire to be informed about the dangers in order to expand the circle of readers. Shocking posts and videos go viral on the internet, and scary headlines garner large audiences. It can also be Rutledge P. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium considered one of the reasons for the doomscrolling.

People have been talking about how the media form a negative picture of reality for a long time, and doomscrolling in this sense is not a new phenomenon. So, in the last century there were Gerbner G., Gross L., Morgan M., Signorielli N. The “Mainstreaming” of America: Violence Profile No. 11/Journal of Communication the concept of the “evil world coefficient” – a kind of measure of the extent to which people perceive the world as more dangerous than it really is. At that time, researchers were interested in the phenomenon of television news broadcasts, which mainly consisted of crime reports and information about incidents.

Today, Rutledge P is added. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium automatic social media algorithms work: the more often you watch posts with disturbing news, the more they show you. You can also be drawn into an endless feed – a way of submitting publications that are constantly loaded when paging. This largely determines the automatism of the actions of a doomscrolling person.

What is bad about the practice of doomscrolling

Despite the seeming logic of the “forewarned is forearmed” position, doomscrolling does not return Rutledge P. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium feeling of control. On the contrary, it contributes to the development of anxiety and stress, creates uncertainty.

Trying to overcome them, some people plunge even deeper into negative news, getting a new portion of fear and hopelessness. Formed Garcia-Navarro L. Your ‘Doomscrolling’ Breeds Anxiety. Here's How To Stop The Cycle/NPR is a vicious cycle, and finding and reading scary articles becomes an addiction. A person ceases to pay attention to their own thoughts and feelings. All this has a detrimental effect on mental health.

Due to doomscrolling, the level of stress hormones increases, the likelihood of panic attacks increases, and concentration decreases. Sometimes people get Roose K. The Week in Tech: How to Stop Coronavirus ‘Doomsurfing’/The New York Times to the point where the excitement of doom scrolling makes them feel physically uncomfortable.

Addiction to reading bad news can also lead to poor sleep: some of us scroll through social networks and website feeds for a long time without going to bed. And after reading horror stories, they can't sleep.

How to deal with doomscrolling

Coping with doomscrolling cravings is not easyRutledge P. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium, but possible. Here are some tips on how to beat your addiction to reading bad news.

1. Use gadgets in moderation, especially before bed

Follow Garcia-Navarro L. Your ‘Doomscrolling’ Breeds Anxiety. Here's How To Stop The Cycle/NPR's Karen Ho's advice: Don't read news about coronavirus, wars, protests and other disturbing phenomena at night. If you find it difficult to tear yourself away from your smartphone, ask someone to remind you of this, or set a timer or a special blocker. Perhaps you should limit the time you spend on your device altogether.

An interesting hack comes from Try Grayscale Mode to Curb Your Phone Addiction/Wired by Google's in-house design ethicist Tristan Harris. He claims that switching the smartphone's gamma from white to gray will make the screen less attractive to the eye and you will instinctively spend less time on it.

On the iPhone, this can be done by selecting a gray light filter in the settings. Android users can take advantage of built-in digital wellness tools, as well as Night or Reading modes.

Of course, this will not completely save you from doomscrolling, but at least it will give you the opportunity to sleep better. By the way, the use of gadgets at night in itself harms healthy sleep. Therefore, it is better not to drag mobile devices to bed at all.

2. Read only what you were going to learn

Whether you're browsing social media, reading a newsletter, or going to a news site, give Garcia-Navarro L. Your ‘Doomscrolling’ Breeds Anxiety a try. Here's How To Stop The Cycle/NPR don't forget why you're here. Remind yourself of this periodically: did you find what you were looking for or not? This will help you not to jump from page to page, forgetting that, for example, you just needed a recipe for pancakes.

It will be useful to be able to recognize clickbait – deceptive, enticing headlines. In order not to run into them, it is better to look for information on trusted resources.

In addition, it makes sense to take care of the hygiene of the mind and prevent information overload. So, if the bloggers or publications you follow are posting more and more shocking or disturbing content, unsubscribe to Rutledge P. Your Brain is Wired to Doomscroll. Can You Stop It?/Medium at least some of them.

3. Take a break from the news

Life is not limited to news reports, live reports and testimonies from the scene. Flip through Garcia-Navarro L. Your ‘Doomscrolling’ Breeds Anxiety. Here's How To Stop The Cycle/NPR memes or watch cat videos, send your favorite content to a friend or partner and laugh together.

“We're interrupting your regular doomscrolling to show a joyful deer galloping across the beach at dawn.”

There's even a site called joyscroll.lookslikeyouneediceland.com that offers joyscrolling (joyscroll< /em>, from English joy – joy), scrolling through the animated landscapes of Iceland.

4. Find something else to do

When your hands automatically reach for the phone, try something else to occupy yourself: read a book, watch a movie or series, chat with friends or loved ones. Find something that distracts you, allows you not to think about the need to “be aware of everything.”

So far, doom scrolling remains a phenomenon that is only talked about in the media and social networks: science has yet to consider it. However, if you feel severe anxiety while scrolling through news sites, and you can’t stop and get distracted, you should contact a psychologist.