Doomscrolling is a 21st century addiction. In recent times, bad news is commonplace. The pandemic that advances and recedes, the Russia-Ukraine conflict that threatens to unleash the third world war, the climate crisis and global warming, are just a few of many. Doomscrolling is precisely related to the search for bad news.
what is doomscrolling?
Usually, when we browse different news portals we look for bad news. All that disaster information stresses us out, especially after the confinement to which the covid-19 virus led us. However, we continue our search.
That excessive consumption of bad news is called doomscrolling. The term comes from doom which means fatality, disaster; and from scrolling, which is to scroll through different portals in search of bad news
Scientists investigated this compulsive behavior
The journal Technology, Mind and Behavior, belonging to the American Psychological Association, published a study on doomscrolling. It is a trend that is no longer considered a bad habit
They reported that it is a compulsive behavior to scroll through social networks and portals in search of bad news. To conduct the study they formed four groups of university students, with ten students per group
The experiment was conducted during confinement. They analyzed how students used social networks, news portals and whether they practiced doomscrolling Part of the students acknowledged that they did doomscrolling during the beginning of the confinement. Most of them admitted that the more free time they had was responsible for such an attitude. They also accepted that, during quarantine, they overused social networks and news portals
The people responsible for the study were of the opinion that emergency situations lead people to stay informed. The pandemic was one such situation, which also left a lot of time to spare. The biggest problem was that almost all the news was bad.
Doomscrolling became better known during the pandemic
The term doomscrolling came into use in 2018. Although it was in 2020 that it became more popular due to the pandemic. The current situation in the world, with the danger of a new world war and the pandemic still worrying, is not very encouraging.
The study says that bad news can cause acute stress that could affect mental health. When bad news does not come on its own, but we compulsively seek it out, we are dealing with doomscrolling
Doomscrolling affects physiological mechanisms, increasing our cortisol. This hormone is associated with stress and is accompanied by inflammation. It causes in our brain a feeling of helplessness as we are unable to change the facts. For these reasons, we fall into depression and anxiety.
With the long idle hours experienced during confinement, the problem was exacerbated. To avoid doomscrolling, we need to find entertainment on other portals or outdoors. To do this, we need to leave the cell phone at home and go outdoors to enjoy different activities.