Because most of us have been stuck at home, we can’t help (or rather we don’t mind anymore) but be overly informed of everything. By the time we wake up, among the first things we do would be to grab our phones. Once we have successfully unlocked the screen, it is 100% sure that you get drowned with all the information you will encounter. You get updates on how many people in the US and every single country in the world have become positive of the COVID-19 virus, how many have recovered, and how many have perished. You then get told of what your friends are up to, how many plants they have decided to grow, how many of them have signed up for Black Lives Matter initiatives, and how many vacations and nights out have been hidden from you as people are finally posting throwback pictures in abandon.
So, while you read your news alerts and social media feeds, you get lost and fall into a rabbit hole of news and information and before you know it when you look up from your phone’s screen, it’s already noon. You’ve “wasted” half of the day just “reading” all sorts of information. The thing is, chances are high that you will repeat this cycle throughout the day and for days, weeks, and even months to come. And that is definitely not a healthy thing to do. Information overload is not healthy, especially since we also have to deal with the uncertainty of the world’s situation. All of these factors are something we cannot easily handle. There is a need to pace ourselves with this avalanche of information because there is only too much we can handle. How to? There are some ways.
Is social media a good news source?
It doesn’t take for scientific studies to make us realize that one of the leading sources, if not the number one source of information for people these days is social media. If you want to know something about the developments of the COVID-19 vaccine, you just go to your Google news alerts. Want to be updated with the US government? Just tap on Twitter. Wanna see how your friends have sharpened their culinary skills? Open your Instagram app. But is social media really a reliable source of information, though? Moreover, is it healthy for you to be informed so much with social media as your ultimate information source?
According to a newly published Pew Research Center report 55% of U.S. adults now get their news from social media either “often” or “sometimes” – an 8% increase from last year. About three-in-ten (28%) said they get their news “often,” up from 20% in 2018.
Be more discerning
Apart from avoiding getting overwhelmed with the quantity of information you have access to and actually consume, you also need to be careful with the quality of information you accept. You should not allow yourself to take in each and every piece of information you get because that is going to screw up your psyche. Besides, you have to check the quality of your news sources because there are so many so-called media outfits that turn out to be purveyors of fake news.
Standards: What information does this outlet provide about who they are, their mission, and their fact-checking process or standards?
Show me the money: Who is paying for their work, and why? Is this news outlet’s business model dependent to some degree on generating “clicks”? If so, how might that have influenced this story?
Stop the addiction
With the abundance of news and news sources, we also need to realize that with our reliance to social media to “keep us updated” on what’s going on with friends and the rest of the world is actually an addiction. Therefore, our overconsumption of news and the need to know everything is also an addiction. Since we all know that addictive behavior is not good at all, then we need to put a cap on news addiction.
Unless you’re ready to drop off the grid and move to a log cabin in the wilderness, cutting tech out of your life completely is unrealistic. What you can do is try consuming tech more mindfully.
Goodbye, news alerts!
One effective way to kick the addiction to news would be to stop getting alerted with news on your gadgets. There is really no need to be updated in real time of how many people have become positive with the coronavirus, right? There is absolutely no point in getting informed that there are now thousands of people in, say Africa, who are now sick with the virus. Thus, your life will not end if you miss an update from Google about a protest in Indonesia or an explosion in Lebanon. They are important of course, but in the current state of your life, not really.
Sick of Google spamming your phone with notifications about news articles? They can be pretty annoying, especially if you have no interest in most of the featured stories. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to stop Google notifications for news articles completely or reduce and refine the news notifications you receive.
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