Doomscrolling Dopamine Trap: How News Apps Keep Us Hooked

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Doomscrolling, the habitual act of endlessly scrolling through distressing news on digital devices, has become a pervasive behavior in today’s information-saturated world. This trend is characterized by a relentless consumption of negative news, which can have profound effects on mental health.

The Dark Side of News: What Is The Doomscrolling Phenomenon?

The term “doomscrolling” is derived from the words “doom” and “scrolling,” encapsulating the compulsion to keep scrolling through unsettling news despite the distress it induces. It gained prominence during the pandemic, reflecting our innate inclination towards negativity.

The human brain is wired to respond more strongly to negative stimuli, making bad news more memorable and influential than positive information.

This negativity bias can be traced back to our evolutionary history when survival depended on staying informed about potential threats. However, in the digital age, excessive doomscrolling is counterproductive, as it leads to constant stress and anxiety.

Watching and reading distressing news can disrupt serotonin levels, resulting in exhaustion, irritability, and disturbed sleep. The stress hormone cortisol further compounds these effects, potentially leading to depression and symptoms akin to post-traumatic stress disorder.

News apps are cleverly designed to keep users hooked, employing tactics like the infinite scroll and the “Pull-to-Refresh” feature, reminiscent of a casino’s slot machine. These strategies trigger the release of dopamine, fostering an addictive cycle of news consumption.

To combat the perils of doomscrolling, individuals can take proactive steps. It is advisable to avoid immediately reaching for digital devices upon waking up. Instead, consider the quantity and timing of news consumption.

Opt for trustworthy news sources, delve into background stories, and steer clear of clickbait headlines. Allocate a specific time and duration for news consumption, limiting the temptation to scroll incessantly.

Turning off notifications and breaking news alerts can help reduce the impulse to engage in excessive news consumption. Reading a daily summary offers a more balanced approach to staying informed.

In conclusion, doomscrolling has become a prevalent behavior with detrimental consequences for mental well-being. Understanding the origins of this habit and implementing strategies to control it are essential for a healthier relationship with news consumption in the digital age.


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