For the past 3 years, I haven't watched the news. I haven't watched it on TV, I haven't bought a newspaper, and I do my best to avoid news related articles online.
Before I go on; I appreciate the irony of writing an anti-news article on the Huffington Post's website. But bear with me, there's a reason for it.
I'll start off by saying I didn't always feel this way. From a young age, my parents would switch off the cartoons and make me watch the news instead. They, like many other parents and guardians, tried to promote the news - supposedly it was a good thing.
"It's good to learn about what's happening in the world."
"It's good to educate yourself on politics and local affairs."
"It makes you a more well-rounded person."
So Reluctantly, I Gave In.
I watched it, I read it, I gathered information. As I got older, I formed opinions based on what I'd absorbed from the news. I argued those views - at work, with friends and on social media. I had truly bought into the idea that being "in the know" made me a better person.
I couldn't Have Been Further From The Truth.
Of course, it's a good thing we understand what's going on in the world. And an understanding of politics means you have vague idea of who to vote for come polling day.
But how is the news going to help people with this?
Their Job Is To Make Money
Most News Outlets have their agenda; and that is, they need to make money.
Even the BBC has to remain competitive and compete with huge news corporations.
TV viewing numbers and readership, drive advertising revenues, which means, the more you watch and read, the more money they make. So it's in their best interest to keep you "informed" by any means necessary.
I don't blame them for wanting to make money, but I also don't have to buy into the idea that they have my best interests at heart.
Bad News Sells
As the saying goes, no news is good news. Unfortunately, good news doesn't sell.
As humans, we are driven by fear. It's one of the most powerful human emotions. The news outlets understand this, and most of them exploit it.
Their aim is to frighten you; they want to keep you worried and concerned about the future. That way you'll continue to keep coming back for more information.
Think about it, when was the last time you sat down to watch the news, and everything was OK. No bad news at all. Everything was just great. It doesn't happen.
If they do have a slow day and not much is going on in the world, they somehow manage to find bad news from somewhere, and they'll happily serve it to you for breakfast.
For example, here's a recent article on the BBC...
I'm not saying this topic isn't a little concerning if you have a dog, but clearly this article wasn't important enough for headline news so why is it news at all.
Why Waste Your Time?
Here in the UK, we spend on average 4 hours a day watching TV. A lot of that time is spent watching the news.
Is the news really that important to us? Or are we simply watching for mental stimulation. I would suggest the latter.
In most cases, watching the news a huge waste of time. You may feel strongly about something in the news, and you may feel angry that the world is a cruel place sometimes, but sadly this doesn't change anything.
Unfortunately, awareness doesn't fix the problems in the world, taking action does. But yet so many people spend their time expressing how they feel on social media expecting the world to change for the better. This is rarely the case.
So why waste your precious time indulging in such a pointless and negative activity that has no impact what-so-ever?
If I need to know something, I'll educate myself on my terms. If something tragic has happened in the world, no doubt, I'll hear about it anyway. If I want an unbiased opinion on a particular topic, I'll read the Huffington Post.
I don't watch the news anymore and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. It makes me a more productive, positive person and I can focus on changing the world in my own little way.
Don't become a news junkie. Don't let biased corporations tell you what you should be worrying about, they never give you the full story anyway.
And finally, don't wake up in the morning, turn on the TV and have someone else tell you how to feel.