The warnings from psychologists about the dangers of “doomscrolling” or “doomsurfing” multiplies. This term, which literally means “scroll the screen down until the end of the world”, described the fact to consult with compulsively her smartphone, particularly at the time of going to bed, or even a part of the night. During the confinement, the people felt a need normal information is often transformed in consultation frenetic enormous quantities of information, in a relentless search for new, most of the time bad news. This tendency to seek his own destiny in the “scroll” infinite (the fact of doing a page down on computer or mobile) is not the only cause of psychological disorders and sleep, but could also have a link with the protest movements of social.
Social networks and their algorithms that encourage you to “doomscroller”
News feeds, comments, Images, videos,… unlike the good old days of zapping, when only the television and radio produced a flow of information continuously, we are confronted nowadays with an endless stream of information produced by each one of us. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or Instagram, are platforms whose operation is based on the principle of “doomscrolling”: the user must scroll through his stream as often as possible and for as long as possible.
For Dana Garfin, an assistant professor who directs the laboratory of resilience, epidemiology, and community health the UC Irvine, interviewed by Fast Company , social networks are ideal for this practice because of the snippets of information are provided without context, the content is very varied and, in addition, the algorithms you “know”, they assess you and suggest which is already attracting your attention or could be of interest to you. The content with which you are most likely to interact is provided without interruption and without limit.
The user seeks answers to his unhappiness
According to Nicole Ellison, a professor of journalism at the university of Michigan, during the period of crisis linked to the sars coronavirus, we have tried relentlessly to find the information that would explain everything, that would for a moment allow us to understand what was happening. But, according to the spécialistesde information, there is not a single unique response to the current state of the world.
With the coronavirus in particular, the advice of health officials and scientists have changed so often that it was difficult to follow a single theory on a traditional channel of information. The doomscrolling has, in this sense, encouraged people to educate themselves and to seek answers that were difficult to access, or even hidden.
After the containment, is the time of social movements, and the doomscrolling the coronavirus has morphed into a way to support social causes, which would also have been able to go undetected in a variety of contexts.
But, this practice is not without danger. Be in search of information continuously following the track of a solution to existential problems also generates a dependency, a fear of a lack of new information, and it is this impossibility of disconnection that may lead to problems.
A “doomscrolling” too much can have a negative impact on the physical and mental health
Is there a solution to avoid the anxiety, stress and insomnia that can produce the “doomscrolling”? Studies have already observed this phenomenon more and more present since the explosion of the use of social networks.
A study from the University of Copenhagen published in 2016 has shown, for example, that users who spend more time to read and consume content passively without starting a conversation are more likely to develop a stress more important that people are proactive in the consumption of content. Be actors, and not only consumers of content that may put us on the right track.
Another precautionary measure is to diversify the applications we use, by prioritizing the applications that are not related to the informational content. In addition, be aware of the time spent online and activities undertaken in order to limit the time we devote to the applications to informational content, may avoid the consequences in our mental health.
Maintain critical thinking ability and mental stability can be much more important than what we believe, applications that help get rid of his phone start to make land and social networks are starting to take note.