Most of us already had come to this conclusion, so it’s nice to be able to say “I told you so.”
Researchers at Texas Tech have found that Americans who obsessively follow the news are more prone to both physical and mental health issues.
Again, no kidding. Looking at social media will tell us this.
“Witnessing these events unfold in the news can bring about a constant state of high alert in some people, kicking their surveillance motives into overdrive and making the world seem like a dark and dangerous place,” Bryan McLaughlin, associate professor of advertising at the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, said in a media release.
The study found that one in six people have a “severely problematic” news addiction in that they become so immersed and invested in news stories that current events dominate their thoughts, disrupted time with family and friends, had trouble at work, and had insomnia.
Translation: your Uncle Mike is having trouble focusing at work because he won’t turn off Fox News. It’s on nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and he talks back to Tucker Carlson like Tucker is in the room.
The researchers recommend a media literacy campaign (actually several campaigns, but I digress) to help people build a “healthier relationship with the news.” They also point the finger at the news industry.
|The economic pressures facing outlets, coupled with technological advances and the 24-hour news cycle have encouraged journalists to focus on selecting ‘newsworthy’ stories that will grab news consumers’ attention,” McLaughlin explains.
“However, for certain types of people, the conflict and drama that characterize newsworthy stories not only grab their attention and draw them in, but also can lead to a maladaptive relationship with the news. Thus, the results of our study emphasize that the commercial pressures that news media face are not just harmful to the goal of maintaining a healthy democracy, they also may be harmful to individuals’ health.”