Impact of watching news channels covering War
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 10-04-2023

Impact of watching news channels covering War


Does watching war news on TV bother you?

The media we consume on a daily basis has an impact on our thoughts, actions, and feelings. If you watch or listen to the news on a regular basis, the majority of what you re hearing or seeing is likely about the recent Russia-Ukraine War.

People spend a significant amount of their leisure time online. We are increasingly relying on internet sources such as social media for news and other information. Following a crisis, social media is a vital means of disseminating information. In times of disaster, media consumption can be a useful tool, and it is often how people first learn about disasters.

Before, during, and after a tragedy, accurate and timely information is essential to keep families safe and prepared. However, it is equally crucial to recognize the dangers of constant exposure to graphic pictures and 24-hour news cycles to one s mental health. Because of their frequent updates, online news sources are ideally positioned to amplify harmful mental health impacts. Due to the continual updating of feeds with fresh information, thoughts and opinions that might masquerade as actual news reports, and its ability to hold a huge number of articles about the same topic from many perspectives, media can worsen negative mental health impacts.

Media attention before, during, and after a disaster can affect mental health issues such as sadness and anxiety, just as the event itself might. This can further lead to increase in absenteeism and affect workplace productivity.

Media exposure after a disaster can have a variety of mental health consequences, ranging from the normal sadness, worry, and anxiety to more serious consequences such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Rogers, 2013). Secondary traumatization may also be increased as a result of media exposure.

Also Read : Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

When tragedies occur, the constant stream of pictures on television and social media can have a strong psychological impact on children as well, whether they are directly in the path of danger or watching from thousands of kilometres away. A most recent study employs brain scans to demonstrate how simply viewing news coverage of disasters can increase children s anxiety and induce brain responses that put them at risk for post-traumatic stress symptoms.

In order to avoid such negative feelings to sink in, measures can be taken to keep safe distance from media. Keep track of how much media you consume on a daily basis and cut back if required. Checking in the morning and evening, for example, can keep you up to date while avoiding overexposure to disturbing material. When watching news coverage of the incident, be conscious of your emotions. Turn it off and do something else if you feel anxious or unhappy. Articles with sensationalist titles or gory graphics should be avoided.

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Dick, A.S., Silva, K., Gonzalez, R. et al. Neural vulnerability and hurricane-related media are associated with post-traumatic stress in youth. Nature Human Behaviour 5, 1578–1589 (2021).

Rogers, D. (2013). Secondary Traumatic Stress in the General Public Following Disasters: A Personal Experience. Policy Research Associates.


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