General, Research, Technology

How does reading doomsday news affect health?

On the clock 00:11. Thumb down, thumb up. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter - the same thing every day. Moreover, regardless of the time of year, pandemic, or other pleasures of life, millions of people perform the same ritual at bedtime: they endlessly scroll through the tape on social networks. However, and we all understand this, two hours of scrolling the news feed will not stop the apocalypse, but ... may prevent you from psychologically preparing for it. And you and I really have something to prepare for, because 2020 has diverged so much that I want to sit on the Crew Dragon, fly to Mars and build a new civilization there from the latest news.

And you, too, before going to bed, read about how climate change, coronavirus, plague, swine flu - should we stress the right thing - will they kill us?

News will never end

According to Wired, the habit of endlessly checking your phone before bedtime was called doomsurfing, or “fall into deep rabbit holesinformation filled with news about coronavirus and climate change, during which you bring yourself to physical discomfort, erasing any hope of a good night's sleep. ” For those who prefer their despair to be tolerable, they came up with the term doomscrolling. But most importantly, the flow of news will never end.

Doom - translated from English means rock, fatum,fate. And the well-known word Doomsday, in turn, means the Last Judgment. Which leads to the conclusion that doomscrolling is the search and reading of information about the end of the world.

But until recently, we watched The Witcher andfell asleep to the song of Buttercup about the minted coin. Now, the only thing worth paying attention to is the beginning of the global crisis. See for yourself: mortality from coronavirus, unemployment, lifting restrictions - the data stream works without stopping. Tons of information await us, one news will follow another, and almost all of them are bad.

This trend is already visible - resultsrecent studies by COVID-19 suggest that the virus may damage the brain stem, which could lead to a secondary pandemic of neurological diseases in the future. Scientists are also asking experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) to recognize that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by air. If we recall the threat of several more pandemics and add to this the news of climate change, the melting of permafrost and Arctic ice, then only one thing becomes obvious - there is hardly any good news in the near future. About how the world will be in 2050, read in our material.

Thoughtless scrolling news feeds has a devastating effect on health

Social networks and the global crisis

For years, people have questionedplatforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and although some studies have shown that social media, if used responsibly, can have a positive effect on mental health, they can also lead to anxiety and depression. Think about it - such a serious illness as depression can be the result of an overabundance of negative information. Add to this the pandemic, civil unrest and the likelihood that social networks are increasingly promoting trending topics in news feeds - and the problem will escalate.

“In a similar situation, we resort to a more narrow, direct behavior, focused on survival. We are in hit or run mode“Says Allison. Add to this the fact that many of us today work remotely and you will see that a huge number of people around the world are more or less isolated. ”

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Instagram is one of the most depressing social networks

However, it’s not only the death and gloom that are to blamemedia. Mesfin Bekalu, a researcher at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at the TH Chan School of Public Health Harvard School of Public Health, notes that while many of the news is bad, people have a “natural” tendency to pay more attention to negative news. This, along with the algorithms of social networks, makes doomscrolling and its consequences almost inevitable.

Since the 1970s, researchers have been aware of“Middle World Syndrome” - the belief that the world is a more dangerous place to live than it really is - which results from the prolonged exposure to violent television content. Therefore, doomscrolling can have the same long-term effects on mental health. If you do not intervene and correct the situation, for example, by setting the direction for the design of social networking platforms and users in such a way as to improve their mental health and well-being.

You will be interested: When will the world end? Some fresh predictions

What words appeared during the pandemic?

The origins of the term doomscrolling are somewhat vague,but many point to this tweet from October 2018 as a possible ancestor. Recently, called it one of the new words that we created because of the coronavirus.

social networks can help us, not vice versa

But there is one more thing to etymology. Especially in the word doom. It was originally associated with Doomsday and the end of the world, but now the term is just as likely associated with destruction. Thus, scrolling the news feed leads us to depression.

But the point is not in words. Doomscrolling will never really stop the apocalypse itself. A sense of awareness can be a healing balm, but it makes no sense to feel depressed due to tragedies. The current year is nothing but a marathon; an attempt to run to the end will only lead to burnout and deterioration of mental health among people, especially those with a vulnerable psyche. But despite all the pain, isolation and destruction of the past six months, you should not add to them another two hours of excessive and destructive scrolling Twitter feeds every night. True, I still have a bad time, and you? We will wait for the answer here as well as in the comments to this article.