If you know me well, you know how much I hate the news cycle. It’s ironic since I literally work for The Voice, a student-run newspaper. I started last semester condemning the way that our media covers local and world happenings and I just feel compelled to expand upon my viewpoint again this semester.
The news you see on your phone and TVs is damaging your mental health.
According to GoodTherapy.com, “Psychologists have studied the connection between repeated exposure to negative news items and an increase in feelings of depression and anxiety among news consumers.”
For those of you who use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or own a TV, you’re probably exposed to the news more often than you even realize. Some of you may scroll right past the negativity without a care in the world, and that’s totally fine.
But I’m assuming that, more often than not, you stop to think about those wildfires, hurricanes, impeachment trials, and whatever else that’s being covered in the news these days.
I’m here to tell you that being exposed to this much negativity is not helping us become more “aware” or making us willing to try and make the world a better place. In fact, according to an article from the Huffington Post, “According to some psychologists, exposure to negative and violent media may have serious and long-lasting psychological effects of beyond simple feelings of pessimism or disapproval.”
It’s 2020 and I swear to God literally nine out of every ten articles or news stories I read are negative, horrifying, saddening, and tear-inducing. Our world has its issues, but it’s time we stop acting like everything and everyone is going to hell.
We need to step back from whatever nonsense the media is trying to throw at us. No, we shouldn’t stay uninformed, but there’s also no reason for our news to only tell us about the bad in the world and cause us to forget about the good.
And for those of you who aren’t as familiar with anxiety or stress, allow me to remind you that, as Gregoire writes for HuffPost, “Of course, it’s important to note that exposure to negative news is unlikely to cause depression, anxiety or PTSD in individuals who are not already prone to these conditions. But it can still lead to a pessimism and world-weariness that leads us to perceive the state of the world in an overly negative light.”
Again: The negative news cycle is affecting how you view the world.
While reporting on negative news is fine and, oftentimes, of importance, it is absolutely vital that news sources step up and try to present the world as it actually is, not as though we are living in a constant nightmare.
Kristin is a junior English major and is the Op/Ed Assistant Editor for The Voice.