USA - Obsessing Over News Can Make You Sick

Arno Froese

Keeping up with the latest news can be very bad for your health, according to a new study. Researchers at Texas Tech University found that Americans who obsessively follow the news are more likely to suffer from both physical and mental health problems, including anxiety and stress.

This can start interfering with people’s personal lives, leaving them feeling powerless and distressed about global events including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and climate change.

“Witnessing these events unfold in the news can bring about a constant state of high alert in some people, kicking their surveillance motives into overdrive and making the world seem like a dark and dangerous place,” says Bryan McLaughlin, associate professor of advertising at the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, in a media release.

“For example, previous research has shown that individuals who became aware of and concerned about the adverse effects that their constant attention to sensationalized coverage of COVID-19 was having on their mental health reported making the conscious decision to tune out.”

The researchers say media literacy campaigns are necessary to help people develop a healthier relationship with the news. They also want more discussion about how “the news industry may be fueling the problem.”

“The economic pressures facing outlets, coupled with technological advances and the 24-hour news cycle have encouraged journalists to focus on selecting ‘newsworthy’ stories that will grab news consumers’ attention,” McLaughlin explains.

-studyfinds.org, 24 August 2022

Arno's Commentary

After reading the article, one is reminded of Acts 17:21: “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” Some 2,000 years ago, at the birthplace of democracy, these Athenians desired “to tell, or to hear some new thing.” That is applicable to today.

It continues: “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (verses 22-23). Interestingly, the apostle Paul did not condemn the idol of the “Unknown God,” but used the opportunity to reveal the real news, the good news, the Gospel.

What was the result? “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter” (verse 32). The truth of the Gospel penetrated some: “Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them” (verse 34).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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