ACCESS-ABILITY ACCESS-ABILITY_Vol1_Issue4 - Page 50

MEDIA DIET By Lise Singer What? What is a media diet and why is it a good idea? Research is demonstrating the link between media exposure and increased anxiety among both adults and children. According to Graham Davey, professor emeritus of psychology at Sussex University in the United Kingdom, over the past 15 to 20 years, the way we obtain news has evolved with our use of technology. While popular news coverage has a long history of focusing on tragedies, disasters, and other negative themes, the images that now accompany such news have changed dramatically. With many people carrying smart phones, the news media quickly and easily obtain graphic images and use them to attract viewers. This shift in the news content is akin to adding a slew of chemicals and sugar to the food we consume daily. Even as the content of the news has evolved, our daily consumption of it has increased. Televised news is on display at many fast-food and casual restaurants, ,medical offices, hair salons, gas stations, and airports. Pre-adolescents and teens receive and share news links on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and search-engine home pages. Much of the news content is designed to provoke strong emotions of fear, worry, anger, or sadness. These feelings release hormones such as cortisol that are linked