Day Eleven of 33 Day Challenge (1 Minute Video)

8 Reasons Why NOT To Watch The News

1. It hurts your mental health

The top story and headlines of the day are usually one of three things. A death, a disaster, or a scandal. Something negative that influences you to feel anxiety, sadness, or anger.

Now of course, some people enjoy seeing all the drama. Even I’m tempted to watch just because of that.

But after you’re done hearing the anchors gossip to you, you’re going to be in some kind of emotional state that isn’t positive.

When you’re not in a positive state, you’re less likely to be productive with your time. Whatever violent images or sad stories you just heard are going to stay on your mind.

Researchers have looked into how constantly consuming this kind of information affects us. Unfortunately, the more you’re consuming it, the more stress, anxiety, and depression you’re feeling.

And when you feel those things, you sleep less, you have less energy in your day, and a number of other problems could build up.

Even without citing a study, common sense would tell us the broadcasts can be harmful to our mental well-being. What else would we expect seeing violent images and hearing a sad story do to us?

2. They make money off of you

It’s no secret to anyone, but it’s something most people don’t think about. All of these television networks are businesses, including your community stations.

They’re corporations that have to do what they can to keep you looking at the screen. The more you’re looking at the screen, the more ad revenue they make.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “if it bleeds, it leads?” That means if something violent happened, that’s going to be one of the top stories.

You’ll be consuming things that make you anxious, and then have million dollar drug companies advertise pills to make you feel better.

If you’re constantly fearful of what’s going on in the world, what are you going to feel like you need to do?

Right, you’ll feel like you need to stay tuned. You’ll feel like if you’re not staying informed, there will be consequences you’ll face.

3. You’re not staying informed

There’s something interesting about watching national or local reports. What you learn at the beginning of the day is usually the same thing you learn at the end of the day.

Sure, there might be some breaking coverage every now and then, but most of the time it’s nothing new.

The formula is basically the same three things I mentioned earlier. A death, a disaster, or some kind of controversy.

You’re only staying informed of that same formula except with different people, different details, on a different day. A lot of times it’s about the same people many days in row, because they don’t want to talk about anything else.

They analyze how much you’ve watched certain things, and that’s likely what determines something being a “top story”.

It’s not about what’s most important for you to know. If that’s the case, why aren’t we learning more about things that specifically matter to us?

The things that affect our physical and mental well-being. It had to take a full-blown pandemic for wellness to get a little bit more attention than normal.

And we should also be getting more information about things that could help us financially on a daily basis.

These are topics we should be knowing more about, and not the latest political conflicts or the end of a celebrity marriage.

But do we get information on things that could help us be better? No. Only for 30 seconds about some random new study that was recently discovered.

Instead, we get multiple days of being told about events that have already happened, and we’re no longer learning anything uniquely new about it.

4. Most of it doesn’t directly affect you

Not really staying informed flows directly into the next point. Most of what you’re learning does not directly affect you.

Unless it’s a new law or a warning of something that could harm us, generally it doesn’t. What you’ve learned has happened is only affecting the people involved.

So, if we’re not directly affected, why do we need to know about it?

Even if you learn there’s been a shooting in your area, you already know to be vigilant whenever you go out in the world.

We don’t need to be aware of every single crime to remember to stay safe. The other thing that bugs me is the intentional showing of dramatic live images.

With the protests recently, I knew cameras were going to be eager to film something burning or people fighting. Remember the phrase, bleeding equals leading.

It’s hard to turn your eyes away from all of that, but you have to. Your mental well-being has to matter more.

The only direct affect to you is it’s making you more worried about the world you live in. That’s not something any of us need in our lives.

5. It’s misleading you

In particular with cable networks, most of us have an idea of which ones lean left, and which ones lean right.

Unless you take time to dig deeper, you’re mostly getting one side of the story emphasized to you. It’s essentially propaganda.

I know that’s a strong accusation, but does it fit the definition? Propaganda is defined as communication primarily used to influence an audience through presenting facts selectively.

If networks are emphasizing certain facts and not mentioning others, is that not propaganda?

Most of us don’t like being lied to, so why would we choose to sit down and be lied to every single day? We do this mostly because it confirms things we already think and believe.

We all want to feel right about our view of the world. If a network reports in a way that tells us we are, we feel validated.

But in a world where our own thinking is just being confirmed to us, nobody’s learning, nobody’s growing, and nothing is changing for the better.

6. It’s a waste of your time

If you’re being depressed and not really learning anything new, it sounds like a complete waste of time.

You realize most of these news-related shows last 30 minutes to an hour. That’s a lot of time in your day to give.

In that time, you could have gotten work done on something important. You could have spent quality time with people you love.

Our days can be very short. We only have so much we can do in them. Make what you spend your time on something of value.

Learn new skills, gain knowledge that you can actually use, and do things that actually make you happy.

7. It rarely makes you happy

Can you remember the last time you were happy after watching a broadcast? I honestly don’t know if I ever was.

The best I can think of is when one of my teams won a championship, or a political candidate I supported won.

Of course, the people who were rooting against the team or candidate were likely very unhappy. There’s probably only a handful of examples where almost everybody was happy watching a broadcast.

Imagine you had a friend, and every time you were with them, you never felt happy. What would you do?

Right, you would find a way to cut them out of your life. The same needs to be true for any activity you engage in.

8. The internet can tell you what to know

We live in a world where you can get information at the press of a few buttons. You can go to Yahoo or your local network’s website and just scroll through the headlines for a minute or two.

If something seems like it really could directly affect you, then you could click the article and skim it.

Once you get to the point where you realize it’s not directly affecting you, you can just move on. You could do this once or twice a day.

I say once or twice, because most of the time, nothing dramatically updates or changes in the day. Often nothing really changes in the week, so maybe you only need to do this once or twice every few days.

Or you can just look up a specific story that you know may directly affect you, like school closings. But don’t look at a broadcast.


Dr. Steven Baker

Dr. Ben Lerner

Derek Peterson