‘Take breaks, but don’t disengage’; the perils of ‘doomscrolling’ when the world is on fire

For anyone who is even moderately active on social media in 2021, confronting world chaos is part of the daily routine—so much so that we’ve coined phrases to help capture the feeling of being in the digital midst of so much catastrophe: “doomscrolling.”

Whether it’s climate change and the accelerating natural disasters brought on by warmer temperatures, the events in Afghanistan, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the intensely polarized nature of U.S. politics, crises near and fear have been brought into ever-sharper focus thanks to technological changes that have allowed for the instantaneous transmission of news and information to our smartphones and other electronic devices.

As our news consumption habits continue to evolve around the use of social media, new pressures arise over how to respond to what we see; how we—as digital witnesses, global citizens, and human beings—should act in the face of injustices and crises far and wide.

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Psychology
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