Addiction Problems!

I'm slowly but surely becoming a news junkie!  Fox News and IndyStar are bookmarked under my favorite websites; I check the news first thing in the morning and several times a day; and I find myself glued to breaking news stories.  What I can't figure out is whether this is a problem or not!

The slow descent into the depths of news addiction started early in the year.  Although I've always liked reading the front page of the paper after my parents did, I spent a semester at school disconnected from the outside world.  After attending an editors' conference in Orlando as a representative of my school newspaper, I started reading more news stories as an attempt to explore journalists' writing styles and the way in which people read and respond to news.  My budding interest was fueled when I realized that I had become completely sucked into the "Christendom Bubble" and had no sense of the bigger picture, but was only concerned with the little social issues of the 400 students around me.  So once or twice during the week, I used to check the national news so that I could stay in touch with the world.  Then, when I came home for the summer and began my job, my addiction became full-blown.  Having a computer in front of me all day, every day, means that I can easily slip over to Fox whenever I want and check if any new articles have popped up, if any big stories are breaking, etc. 

Now here's the question: is this a good addiction or a bad?  Perhaps "habit" would be a better word, but that's as it may be.  At any rate I've been trying to figure out if staying in touch with all the national and world news is a good thing or not.

I think it is a good or at least indifferent thing, in the long run.  Problems arise, though, in several areas.  For instance, if I read too many stories of horrific murders and crimes, and begin to see them only as interesting stories.  I can't afford to become dulled to the sin and evil, to become mentally unmoved by the sufferings of others.  Again, if I begin to read the news purely for entertainment.  While there are some sections of the news which are indeed interesting purely for their own sakes, too often the stories center around crime, violence, and immorality.  This can't become a source of entertainment.  In addition, I run the risk of being too focused on what is happening in faraway places and distracted from the immediate problems of the smaller world in which I live and move daily, in which I do have an influence and an interest. 

A last very important risk - an overwhelming sense of depression and anxiety at seeing the state of the world in which we live.  This is so easy to get from just skimming the headlines - scandal here, government tension there, men trying to destroy natural law, the Church under attack, natural's predominantly a picture of immorality, sin, and suffering.  And so easily, I can be led by Satan to despair about the world and about mankind.

So I've decided - I will keep myself informed and up-to-date.  If nothing else, I can carry on a good conversation with my peers!  However, every time I see a story which shows the presence of evil, I will say a prayer for the victims, perpetrators, law enforcement officers, and everyone affected.  And every time I see something good, I will say a prayer of thanksgiving. 

Father Z, whose blog I follow regularly, wrote a beautiful prayer to be said before using the Internet, which I think I will try to pray more often!

A Prayer Before Logging On To the Internet

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen


  1. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing Father Z's prayer! At least you read the news (I'm still locked within the Christendom Bubble in that sense).

  2. I don't read the news. While I'm working at the restaurant, I become somewhat acquainted with news-- due to the fact that we have several tv's are are always on; when I'm not working, however, I am blissfully ignorant of pretty much everything that's going on outside. As much as I like this (I do not like being reminded that the world is an awful place; it makes me very depressed and worried), I know it's not exactly good for me as an adult. Need to work on that. I wish there was a way I could keep up with things more pleasantly, but there just isn't. C'est la vie.


Post a Comment