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What Is Doomscrolling? Learn How You Can Prevent It

what is doomscrolling

Many people like to be updated with the happenings in the world. For whatever reason, every one of us has, we want to be in the know. Whether it’s new technology to make our lives easier, or another disaster affecting thousands in the other corner of the world, many of us want to be informed of everything going on in the world, be it good or bad things. But if you are the kind of person who tends to lean more towards reading news that brings out negative emotions, then you may be doomscrolling.

What Is Doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling means the practice of obsessively checking online news for updates, especially on social media feeds, with the expectation that the information will be bad. This feeling of dread and sadness from this negative expectation fuels an uncontrolled compulsion to continue looking for updates, which continues in a repetitive cycle. 

With the ongoing global pandemic in its second year, it seems that much news you come across on the internet is more negative than uplifting stories. Add the yearly natural disasters the world goes through, plus man-made catastrophes: wars and bombings, shootings, and a whole lot more. It is understandable that nothing good ever comes across your news feed and that you have no choice but to read all about this negativity. However, do you find yourself – or maybe someone you know – intentionally surfing the web searching for nothing but bad news? If your answer to this question is yes, you, or someone you know, are most likely guilty of doomscrolling.

5 Signs You Are Doomscrolling

If you still doubt yourself that you are doomscrolling, then take a look at these signs to see if you are a doomscroller:

  1. Doom and Gloom is The First Thing in The Morning and Before Bed

Most of us grab our phones the moment we wake up. God forbid if we’ve missed a post from our favorite online personality during our body-demanding sleep! But if your guilty pleasure in the morning, and just before calling it a day at night, is an array of fear-inducing news clips and tidbits, then you are doomscrolling.

  1. You Lose Track of Time

A pandemic article here. A depressing video there. A quick hop on to Twitter to check on those pro or anti-vaccination noisemakers. It’s just a quick run-through on your faves, nothing to worry about. Before you know it, you have already spent 3 soaking in all that negativity. That’s definitely a sign of doomscroller behavior.

  1. You Can’t Focus on Your Work.

When you can no longer wait to get home to get your daily fix of fear-inducing posts and tidbits or if you find yourself stealing work time minutes to catch a glimpse of the world of doom. Then this is a sure sign that you are a doomscroller.

  1. You Find Good or Uplifting News Boring.

No matter how good the news is or how new science and technology breakthroughs can improve our lives. If it just bores you or makes you feel okay. If it just doesn’t ‘hit’ you the way negative news does, you most likely are a doomscroller.

  1. You find yourself reading about negative topics even if you don’t want to.  

So you decide that you will be reading only good news today. Time for a change of pace and look at the brighter side for once. However, after just a few minutes, you find yourself reading about the newest Covid-19 variant and how it is more dangerous than the last one. Unintentionally looping back to feel-bad sites is one of the surest signs of doomscrolling.

Now that you know the signs take a step back and do a quick self-check on your online activities. Are you guilty of a few of these actions? If you notice that you can relate to these symptoms, then it’s time to acknowledge that you are definitely doomscrolling.

Why Do We Do It?

We all know that vibes that can make us feel good are always better than being down in the dumps. Knowing that our medical experts are on the way to curing Covid will make us feel better than digging up stats on the number of people killed by the virus. So why, then, do you still find yourself gobbling up negative information all the time?

According to a psychiatrist in a university medical center here in the United States, our brains actually love all that negative stuff. The premise is that the more we know about something that will cause us harm, we are inclined to find out all about it to survive it. It seems that our brains are hardwired to see the negatives and are better at remembering negative events and emotions.

Is doom scrolling bad for us? If our brains tell us to look up negative news rather than positive information, why do it?

Effects of Doomscrolling

Studies have shown that doomscrolling can adversely affect our mental health. Stress, loneliness and despair, anxiety, paranoia, and other mental health issues can arise if you are addicted to scrolling on and on about bleak issues. Suppose you are already suffering from these issues. In that case, doomscrolling can exponentially increase the degree of suffering from these problems, leading to physical health issues like lack of sleep and even self-harm. 

If we ignore the side effects doomscrolling can have on us; it may lead us down a rabbit hole of mental issues so deep that we might never be able to recover from.

How To Avoid Doomscrolling

how to stop doomscrolling

Knowing that doomscrolling can affect us in ways that we could never have imagined, can we stop ourselves from endlessly scrolling through social media news that tell us nothing but how bad the condition of our world is right now?

Here are a few tips on how to stop doomscrolling:

  • Internet-free mornings

Get yourself an alarm clock. Do not use your phone’s alarm feature. This way, you are not waking up to immediately grab hold of your phone to stop the alarm and then head over to your social media apps. If your phone has a ‘downtime’ function, make use of this and lock certain apps and even the internet until a specific time. Use your morning to check in with yourself before checking in with others in the digital world.

  • Avoid social media

This might be extremely hard for a lot of us since we are so connected to our digital personas. Without checking out their profiles and timelines, a minute seems like a lifetime lost for them. But, if a particular social media platform makes you doomscroll to no end, you have to force yourself to break away from the forum until you regain a healthy mindset. Delete apps if you have to.

  • Stop!

Sometimes, hearing someone in the real world can knock you out of your mobile phone trance. But if you’re alone at home or in your room with everyone else asleep, tell yourself out loud: STOP! Jolt yourself into action, put down your phone, move into another room, and find something else to do.

  • Replace Doomscrolling With Other Activities

Most people who doomscroll engage in the activity just to pass the time away. Instead, in your free time, do something else that doesn’t have anything to do with your phone. Read a book, draw or write, or even whip up a storm in the kitchen. Anything that takes you away from your phone will make you do away with your doomscrolling habits.

  • Visit Sites That Promote Positivity

Try to remember sites and social media platforms you visited and feel safe and happy. Revisit them and reconnect with people that you care about. Check out some positive events that happened in the world today. Scroll slowly and try to feel and understand what the message is trying to say. Or, drown yourself in puppy pictures. That always helps.

While these tips and tricks are here to guide you into overcoming your doomscrolling ways, nothing good will come out of it all if you can’t discipline yourself. So stop scrolling, focus on yourself, and muster all the mental strength you have so you can regain control of yourself and end the continuous cycle of negativity.

Now, what if you are not the one who is doomscrolling in your family? What if it’s your child or partner who can’t stop themselves from endlessly consuming negative information? Can you do something about it?

Sure, you can talk to them and share all the negative effects of doomscrolling. You can help them using what you know to overcome the cycle. But words can only go so far. How can you be sure that they take your words to heart and put them into action? Don’t you wish there was a way for you to monitor what kind of information their minds consume whenever they are exploring the digital world?

With TurboSpy, you will be able to do just that!  TurboSpy is a phone monitoring software that allows you to gather information remotely and in real-time so you can instantly know all the activities your child or partner is doing on their phones. Social media interaction, browser history, and even photos and videos stored on the phone can be accessed through TurboSpy. 

If they continue to visit sites and apps that promote negativity despite all your warnings. In that case, you can also prevent their phones from accessing these sites and apps via TurboSpy’s parental control features. 

The goal is to make sure our loved ones are always protected. In the real world, we can physically keep an eye on them. With TurboSpy, you can ensure that they are also safe and sound in the online world. 
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