Internet | March 26, 2022 6:30 am

Can a “Digital Rest Stop” Pacify Your Doomscrolling Habit? Probably Not.

But the videos sure are soothing to watch!

A personal holding and tapping on a smartphone
You're better off going for a walk.

The urge to throw my phone into the East River seizes me nearly every time I go for a stroll around Astoria Park. A life unplugged sounds wonderful. Away from influencers making me feel bad about my body! Away from self-obsessed blue checkmarks! Away from literally any TikTok comment section! I’d have absolutely no idea who Twitter’s main character of the day is or what everyone’s so upset about this time! I would just know peace.

Obviously, that’s never going to happen since I’m required to lurk the interweb and various social platforms because of my job, but also because social media algorithms are expertly programmed to keep us perpetually scrolling. And even if I wasn’t basically being freakishly mind-controlled here, what am I gonna do? Get off TikTok and think about all the horrible shit going on IRL? No thank you. 

Still, we know that incessant scrolling is not good for our brains, yet we have a difficult time breaking the habit. It’s why you might have noticed a sprinkling of calming “digital resting point” videos throughout your social media feeds as of late.

This week, Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz reported on the recent trend, explaining that these soothing, immersive videos encourage users to take a short break from scrolling.

“Digital resting points are videos intentionally created to give people a break from social media. They all follow a similar format: a soothing scene on screen, almost no people, a still camera, soft music or natural sounds. Then, voice-over or text appears: ‘Congratulations! You’ve reached a digital resting point. Stay as long as you like,’” Lorenz writes, adding that these digital rest stops reflect “users’ desires for permission to log off, without fully logging off.”

Reply to @papa_silver Scrolling break. Stay as long as you need😌 #hotwheels #pov

♬ Amore mio aiutami – Main Theme – Piero Piccioni

While these types of videos are indeed relaxing to watch (my personal favorite is this POV toy car going down a makeshift water slide) and arguably achieve their purpose (you stop scrolling and maybe decompress for a minute or two), you often immediately go right back to scrolling. You also never actually take a break from your phone because, as Lorenz notes, you can only consume this type of content…on your phone. 

Love the sentiment, but if you truly want to stop doomscrolling, or want to limit your social media usage in general, you’re better off setting a timer, going outside and reminding yourself of the real world.