In wake of national tragedy, experts warn people to monitor media consumption

7:31 PM, Dec 18, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Whether you're on the internet or watching television, you've no doubt seen extensive coverage on the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings. At times it seems you can't escape it. Perhaps at times it can be overwhelming. How much is too much? That is up to you.

"Is this a national story? Absolutely, but should it be something that's covered for the next two weeks?" University of St. Thomas Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. John Tauer wondered.

The fact is it will be covered extensively. Psychologists say we turn to the media for answers and waiting for that answer can be both overwhelming and fruitless. Experts say we use social media the same way.

"This is a way for people to come together in the online environment after these terrible events and begin very slowly the difficult process of making sense of the enormity of what it is that we're seeing take place," Peter Gloviczki, Ph.D. explained.

Gloviczki spent 4 years researching how people across the world used Facebook in the days and months following the 2007 school shooting at Virginia Tech University. Thirty-two people, not including the gunman, died in that tragedy.

Gloviczki's dissertation exceeded 300 pages and offers us a glimpse of what we can expect in the coming days and weeks. "Social media is an important way to begin this conversation. It's a very important way for all of us to express ourselves, but I think we need to recognize that this is a very long and complicated process," he said.

The social media researcher looks at media consumption like a diet. Psychologists warn us that overconsumption and oversaturation can be concerning. "Ultimately the end goal is acceptance and it doesn't mean you ever really understand why," Dr. Tauer concluded.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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