Have you heard the term doomscrolling? It’s the latest word for mindlessly scrolling through social media and the negative impact that can have on your psyche. The term was coined in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the way people were using social media to find more information about the crisis, as well as the various other big news events last year – such as the Black Lives Matter protests.
The act of mindlessly scrolling through social media is nothing new, it’s just resurfaced as a major point of concern lately. As people are spending more time at home and less time out socializing due to lockdowns, the increase in average time spent on social media has gone up significantly. But why is it such a bad thing?
The Echo Chamber Effect
Social media has changed significantly over the years and each person’s profile has become something of an echo chamber for what they like. The more you click on a certain type of information or interact with particular profiles or hashtags, the more that social media platform will give you that kind of content. It’s a never-ending cycle as the platforms learn what you like and feed you more of the same.
If you are constantly looking for more information on COVID-19 or some other big, scary newsworthy events, you will keep getting served that content each time you log on. This can increase depression, anxiety and stress. Social media is also an unreliable source of information, meaning you can get conflicting messages about a topic and your brain will find it hard to reconcile the data – making you more stressed and anxious.
How Do You Stop The Scrolling?
Set Hard Limits
Mindless scrolling is fine in small doses. It’s when you go for hours and hours without realizing that the problem gets exacerbated. Give yourself a time limit for each session on social media and for each day in total. You can also set limits on where you consume social media – for example, only when you are sitting at the table having your morning coffee.
Be Mindful In Your Scrolling
You can find yourself in some very strange and possibly dark places when mindlessly scrolling through a newsfeed or hashtag. Rather have specific profiles and people that you know are trustworthy and provide good content to follow. If you want to branch out to find new information or content, do so carefully and research each one first.
Have An Honest Talk About Your Habits
Mindless scrolling usually comes from a deeper need or concern. Take the time to have an honest conversation with yourself (or with a therapist) about you might be engaging in this harmful behaviour. Then, you can take steps to remedy the situation.
Disconnect From Social Media
Finally, give yourself some healthy timeouts from social media. Have one day a week where you don’t look at any platforms at all, and if you go online, make it for the golf betting Australia has to offer, or another worthwhile activity. It’ll be tough at first but once you get used to it, you’ll find you can tune out more and more.