Many of us come across breaking news — much of it horrifying in nature and deeply upsetting — on our social media channels. Scroll through your Facebook feed and there, amid photos and updates of friends you’ll often find gruesome news, often accompanied by photos that friends have read and deemed important or noteworthy enough to post. Of course this well-meaning activity means that while many of us are happily pursuing travel photos and birthday reminders, we can also find truly upsetting information and images.
In a recently published article, author Catherine Rodie explores the unique impact of consuming news via social media platforms. Highlighting a recent study, researchers discovered that for some people, the affects could be similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
So why does viewing news on Facebook, as opposed to a news website or on a television news program, lead to more damaging psychological effects? Rodie turned to psychologist and digital media consultant Jocelyn Brewer who says that consuming news on our Facebook feed immediately transforms the content into something that appears much closer to our own lives. Rodie quotes Brewer as saying, “It’s not like turning on a news channel where you can expect to come across news stories. Your social media is random in that you can’t directly filter it for good/happy news only – you’re at the relative mercy of what your friends decide to share.”
Read the full article here.