The way in which the infotainment industry operates these days is awful. It’s purely and abjectly misguided, obsessed with ratings and revenue, and with no real oversight for the human toll they exact while doing so.
You see, the way in which these “news” stations make money is by getting us to watch commercials. To do that, they anger us, frighten us, or otherwise exploit our emotions to keep us glued to the screen.
Unsurprisingly, there are some rather serious, negative health effects associated with prolonged exposure to this emotional ransom.
Researchers at Texas Tech University found that Americans who obsessively follow the news are more likely to suffer from both physical and mental health problems, including anxiety and stress.
Those who constantly check the latest headlines end up with “significantly greater physical ill-being” than those who tune in less often, according to the findings. The team adds that constantly keeping on top of the latest developments can lead to a vicious cycle where people always check for more updates, rather than tuning out after a quick read.
And, worse still: It’s addicting.
Study authors found 16.5 percent of participants in their experiment showed signs of “severely problematic” news consumption. That meant they often became so immersed and personally invested in news stories that current events dominated their thoughts, disrupted time with family and friends, made it difficult to focus on school or work, and contributed to restlessness an inability to sleep.Advertisement - story continues below
“While we want people to remain engaged in the news, it is important that they have a healthier relationship with the news,” McLaughlin continues. “In most cases, treatment for addictions and compulsive behaviors centers on complete cessation of the problematic behavior, as it can be difficult to perform the behavior in moderation.”
Of those with heightened viewing habits, nearly 75% of those studied were suffering from mental health issues of some variety.