Doomscrolling: What Is It and How Does It Affect Us?

The+New+York+Times

The New York Times

Mailey Woolf, Reporter

Doom scrolling, otherwise known as doom surfing, is a term that describes the tendency to surf through bad news even though that news might be disheartening or depressing.

 

“There are a lot of people who like to hear the bad stuff either because they’re negatively focused on bad stuff anyway… It goes to almost human nature. We have this thing called relative deprivation, which is that we like to compare ourselves to other people, we do this without intending to, and very often we feel like we come up very short.” Psychology teacher Mark Minnick said.

 

Social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok use the “infinite scroll” feature, this allows users to scroll through their feeds without stopping. Aza Raskin, the creator of this technology, didn’t realize how addictive it would be when he created it and feels guilty about the impact it has on people. Many students, like Junior, Amber Hamilton, often find themselves doom scrolling on Instagram and TikTok.

 

“TikTok is very easy because it all depends on which videos you watch and the ones you like. TikTok has a ‘For You page’ and this page purely depends on the algorithm, which gives you videos based on which ones you’ve watched and/or liked,” Hamilton said.

 

Although doom scrolling can lead to depressing news and increased levels of anxiety which cause harmful, long term effects, there are ways to combat it. 

 

“If you have the right attitude about it. If you’re not internalizing it, if you keep it from letting it change your mental state, there’s nothing wrong inherently with reading things that are bad. If you’re internalizing it, if you’re letting it affect your own mood, if you’re letting it get you depressed or anxious, then obviously it becomes a much bigger problem,” Minnick said.