The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Opinion: News avoidance fuels societal inaction

Newspaper headlines/Getty Image Signature/Canva
A growing number of people are turning away from the news, claiming it is overly negative and sensational. This practice is coined “news avoidance” and is becoming increasingly common.

“The news is too negative.” “I cannot stand politics.”

The term “selective news avoidance” refers to a growing practice of steering away from the news, and it’s an alarming trend. A survey conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that 38% of U.S. respondents say they sometimes or often avoid news. There are many reasons individuals are turning away from the news.  A quick Google search will give you dozens of sites directing you to stop reading the news, including a TED talk, a book, and many blogs. 

However, the predominant justification for news avoidance is that news coverage is too negative and stress-inducing. Research shows that continually watching media coverage of traumatic events can induce anxiety symptoms. 

The reality remains that one cannot be informed in today’s world without tuning in to some form of news coverage. Politics, war, and disaster are part of our modern world, and just because we can hide from them behind a screen does not mean we should.

We must remember that it is a privilege to be able to turn off the news. For those living through tragedy, it is impossible to escape reality. They are forced to live on with hungry stomachs, injured limbs, and grieving hearts. 

Of course, I do not believe people should watch the news so intensely that it impacts their mental health, but the truth is, news of tragedy should make you feel sad. What is happening in the world should affect you. It should make you feel frustrated and angry.

What people do with that anger and sadness is the real issue. Instead of fueling it into action, they caused it to grow into apathy. The nature of modern society allows us to be detached from reality in an instant. People believe they have evaded the pain associated with ongoing turmoil by shutting off the news and going about their days. 

This is a great flaw in our society: to look the other way when it hurts. To go about our lives as if nothing is unjust. If you feel even a flicker of empathy for those who are hurt and injured, hold on to it and let it be heard. We cannot let our society go numb to tragedy. We must continue to express our opinions to stand up for what is right. 

Many take issue with the media’s lack of actionable information concerning current events. People claim that watching the news does not help them learn how to impact the world positively and leaves them feeling helpless. As individuals, we cannot resolve global issues single-handedly, but it is foolish to assume that we can do nothing together. 

The democratic system in the U.S. is built upon the idea of political participation. Nowadays, there are countless ways to aid those hundreds of miles away. Petition, protest, donate, and demand action from policymakers. But do not choose the side of hopelessness and inaction. The next time you watch the news and start feeling upset, do not turn away. It is that feeling of indignation that drives change.

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About the Contributor
Clementine Cunningham
Clementine Cunningham, Highlander Managing Editor
Clementine Cunningham (class of 2024) is a student at Carlmont High School, a staff writer for Scot Scoop, and a managing editor for The Highlander. She is passionate about covering a variety of topics that bring awareness to pressing issues in our ever-changing society. In her free time, you can find her dancing at Heartbeat Dance studio, obsessing over books, or testing out a new recipe. To view her portfolio, click here. Twitter: @clecunningham

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