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Doomscrolling – spiral of bad news on the net

2 minutes reading time
11-17 years
Social Media

Short videos from the war zone on TikTok, pictures of flood victims on Instagram, the latest incidence figures in the newsfeed – does this flood of negative news and information on the net sound familiar? And do you feel like you want to know more and more about it and can’t get away from it? This phenomenon has a name: Doomscrolling.

What exactly does doomscrolling mean?

The word doomscrolling is composed of the English words doom and scrolling. Doom translates as “doom” or “doom”, scrolling means something like “scrolling” and describes the shifting of the screen. Doomscrolling refers to the excessive consumption of bad news on the web.

What happens during doomscrolling?

In times of Corona, the Ukraine war and climate change, it is difficult for children and young people, but also for us adults, to keep track of current developments. Especially in social media, we are confronted with the latest photos, videos and information every day. This is stressful, can quickly become overwhelming, and can lead to negative thoughts and anxiety. To deal with this fear, we gather even more information to better assess current situations. This starts the search history, which seems to lead to infinity, and the doomscrolling effect begins.

In the process, we forget how much time we spend in front of the smartphone, tablet or laptop and remain for hours in a never-ending vortex of negative messages. In addition, the algorithms of social networks adapt to our interest in negative news and constantly provide us with new horror stories without us being aware of it.

Tips for dealing with doomscrolling

The most important thing is to become aware of the constant consumption of negative messages. Because only when you and your child develop an awareness of your own media actions in terms of doomscrolling can you rethink your behavior.

  • Observe yourself and your child and get into a conversation about what topics you are dealing with and what sources you are using.
  • Give your offspring access to age-appropriate messaging for kids and teens.
  • Pay attention to how much time you and your child spend on social media and consuming messages.
  • To better estimate and control screen time, there are apps that provide smartphone users with an overview or even alert them when a predefined time is exceeded. Some smartphones, such as iPhones, have this function in the settings.
  • Reflect with your child on whether the latest information was helpful and what mood it set. How does your child feel after what you have read? Did it learn something that helped it or does it feel more troubled?
  • Create space for (digital) downtime together and set a good example. Show your child: it’s okay to opt out of the flood of negative messages.

When it comes to doomscrolling, it helps not to lose sight of positive news and experiences and to take care of yourself. Stay engaged in conversation with your child about negative messages they read and strengthen their media and information literacy. This also includes dealing with fake news.

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