One of the less pleasant terms to have emerged in recent years has to be ‘doomscrolling’ – that is, to be caught thumbing through a seemingly endless stream of terrible news on your mobile phone.
It reflects the constantly connected nature of modern life, the endless carousel of featured social media posts, and with that the simple fact that much of the news these days is pretty terrible.
Thankfully, there are apps out there that can help you to avoid doomscrolling. These apps can replace the non-stop merry-go-round of awfulness that is social media, fill your eyes with high quality news, and even wean you off phone usage altogether.
Serial Reader will help you to break the endless cycle of news and rediscover healthier reading habits without having to commit too much extra time or attention to the cause. It does so by offering traditional books in a more modern bite-sized format. Choose from more than 900 books and have the app deliver you compact ‘issues’ every day, each one able to be consumed in just 20 minutes. Anyone daunted by the prospect of tackling a full length book should give it a look.
NetNewsWire takes from an earlier, golden era of RSS-based online news consumption, before news sources were corralled by cynically algorithm-driven social media barons. The app’s mission statement is “More news, less junk. Faster,” which sums it up nicely – follow your favourite websites and blogs, and NetNewsWire will elegantly pull all the latest posts together into a clean UI. It’s a great way to keep track of and control exactly what you’re feeding into your eyeballs on a daily basis.
Social media apps are so adept at pulling you into a doomscrolling spiral because they understand the appeal of brevity. So why not just replace that bite-sized material with something wholesome or even educational? Blinkist is one of a number of book summarizing apps that can take long-form publications and condense them down into bite-sized ‘Blinks’ – streamlined snippets of text or audio that get you to the heart of what the book is trying to say in just 15 minutes.
Sometimes the answer is not to read or do something else on your phone – it’s to shake the habit of compulsively picking up your phone at all. Freedom is one of the better apps aimed at helping you not use your phone so much, letting block distracting apps and websites so you can focus on what matters most. The app provides fine control over what you can access, and one payment will cover all of your devices, so it’s not just your phone that you will be insulated from.