American adults are projected to spend 13 hours and 11 minutes a day interacting with media in 2022. That includes information and entertainment on computers, phones, TV, radio, podcasts and social media. If that sounds ridiculous -- when do we think, talk or sleep? Well, the answer is -- we don't, at least, not enough.
These days, a lot of those media-drenched hours are spent following the news -- about politics, Ukraine, sports, more politics, climate change and global disasters. That's turned a whole group of folks into what researchers from the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University are identifying as "news junkies."
When they surveyed the news-tracking habits of 1,100 U.S. adults, they found that more than 16% of people showed signs of 'severely problematic' news consumption. Those news junkies reported they got so caught up in following current events that it overwhelmed their thoughts, interfered with time with family and friends, disrupted work and made it difficult to sleep. Among the news-addicted, 73.6% admitted to feeling mentally distressed and 61% reported feeling physically ill quite a bit or very much. Folks who weren't news-addicted reported negative mental and physical symptoms only around 8% and 6% of the time.
Fortunately, the research also showed the news-addicted can decide to unplug. If you're in too deep, you'll feel better when you turn off the TV, uninstall news apps on the phone and computer, delete social media newsfeeds or declare certain days "no news" days. Being a well-informed citizen doesn't have to make you ill.
King Features Syndicate