Doom-Scrolling? Is that what they used to call accidentally sending a hate email in feudal times?
No it isn’t. But it is a problem that could have serious consequences.
In simplest terms, Doom Scrolling is the action of blazing through a large amount of negative online stories at one time.
On the surface it seems reasonably harmless. Articles are just a collection of words after all, but all too often we forget phrases and sentences can have just as much detrimental impact as punches. The pen is mightier than the sword and all that jazz.
“It makes me upset for a while and causes me to think negatively about the world around me,” said senior Isabella Muaylde.
The act of Doom-Scrolling creates warped perceptions of the environment that surrounds an individual. Suddenly, a story about a mass office shooting in Florida starts to hit close too home, with the terrifying thought forming about how “That could’ve been me.” Or a true crime tale about a woman brutally murdered and violated outside her own home could cause a daily look over the shoulder. Or maybe two? Or three? Doom-Scrolling makes sure safety isn’t an optional feeling for a while.
Doom-scrolling stems from the brain’s need for validation and to take control. “The need to know triggers more environmental scanning,” said Dr. Pamela B. Rutledge of Psychology Today, “with so much negative news, this becomes a cyclical process.” Basically, it becomes trained to consume these grotesque topics, and as the anxiety ramps up with intensity, the mind’s desire to have something else to focus on increases. Thus completing the downward spiral.
COVID-19 is a redundancy, but the warhammer-sized chaos that resulted from the virus has made doom-scrolling all the more malevolent. In reference to COVID news senior Luis Chavez said, “it can just be that extra thing that piles on after work and you see all the bad stuff going on and think the world sucks.” Thousands upon thousands of casualties have lost their lives in the U.S alone, along with social distancing cutting the rope from loved ones and extracurricular activities. Scrolling through Google these stories has become near impossible to avoid, brewing negative feelings directed towards many individuals and ultimately trapping a person inside a bitter cell.
Minimizing doom-scrolling is easier said than done. Phone addiction is rampant, and the lifeblood for many people all over the world. However a simple enough solution is to just take a step-back from the nearest online device for a few hours on end. “If you monitor news that is necessary and useful, you will able to avoid many of the paralyzing emotions,” said Rutledge. That way ignorance from the outside world can’t set in. Do activities or hobbies that focus on pleasure and passions, remind yourself that life can be good.
Everything will be alright in the end.