The Brief: Doomscrolling or "doomsurfing" is when someone compulsively scrolls through bad news on their social media feeds.

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Doomscrolling, also known as doomsurfing is the act of scrolling through one’s social media feed and constantly being inundated with depressing, apocalyptic updates. During the COVID-19 pandemic and otherwise dumpster-fire-of-a-year known as 2020, the phrase doomscrolling has entered the lexicon as a way to describe a painfully relatable experience to many people.

Dictionary.com added the term to a list of “New Words We Created Because Of Coronavirus,” breaking it up as “Scrolling refers to scrolling down on our smartphones for the latest posts on social media. And doom … well, a lot of the news we’re seeing online feels full of gloom and doom.” Merriam Webster’s definition is “the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing.” Urban Dictionary defines it as “Obsessively reading social media posts about how utterly f**ked we are.”

An article by Angela Watercutter published in Wired on June 25 titled “Doomscrolling Is Slowly Eroding Your Mental Health” argues that this late-night phenomenon can be detrimental to mental health as it exposes people to a steady stream of negativity without relief.

While doomscrolling can contribute to people feeling helpless and scared, like with all news, it’s important for people to stay informed about what’s going on in the world to some extent, while also maintaining their mental wellbeing.

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