ad // Throughout 2022 so far, I’ve been pretty depressed. One evening in March, I had a wee little breakdown to my boyfriend about how I was feeling and one suggestion he had for me is to limit my news intake. Or better yet, avoid it altogether. A sensible suggestion, given how utterly dire the news has been lately. So I decided to give it a go.

However, I do like to stay informed when I feel mentally healthy enough to do so. But limiting my news intake and accessing news in a healthier way was DEFINITELY something I needed to look into further. Funny how they rarely broadcast hopeful, positive stories that allow you to have faith in humanity.

I don’t know if you believe in divine timing but I certainly do. And I definitely feel like that was at play here because just days after my boyfriend and I had that conversation, I was contacted by the team at Charlie about a collaboration. Charlie is a fantastic news app to help you process the headlines in a healthier way. More on him in a minute but talk about timing, right!

Meet Charlie!

Charlie – your personal journalist is an accessible and friendly AI Chatbot that will help you find the headlines away from more formal news sites. It’s been made by a small team at OneSub – Jim, Jason and Laura – to make reading the news a less stressful and healthier experience.

Charlie, the cute pink robot will help guide you through the news daily and picks up on your reading habits, thereby giving you more relevant news, the more you use the app. Charlie can also keep you updated on news and stories you’ve read previously as well as helping you understand your news intake habits, the type of stories you’re reading and whether they’re largely positive or not.

Benefits of using Charlie for your mental health

It helps you avoid doom-scrolling

When you log in or open the app, Charlie gives you the main headlines and summarizes the story within a few sentences, giving you the chance to decide whether you want to read more. Unlike other apps or news sources, that often scare-monger, include frightening imagery and more to get you to click, Charlie gives you the facts and helps you avoid that endless doom-scrolling.

Personalize the news to what YOU want to read about

Like I mentioned above, Charlie monitors what news stories you like to read so the more you use him, the more personalized he can get with the news articles he can show you!

Allows you to delete or mute other news apps

When you have Charlie for news, you don’t need 4 other news apps on your phone. It’s your choice to click on the Charlie app and seek out the news stories YOU want to read, rather than scrolling through pages of stuff that’s either not relevant to you or going to make you more anxious. Charlie really is the ONLY news source you need on your phone.

It’s accessible and friendly

I love how friendly the app is. The user experience is great because it’s not complicated and the interface is bright and clean and easy to navigate. And the way that Charlie talks is informative but also friendly at the same time, so the harsh language used in some news articles isn’t present. You’re given the facts – and that’s it!

News is properly sourced and shared 

The news Charlie gives you is guaranteed to be properly sourced before it’s shared with you. Charlie takes the facts and leaves out the rubbish and potentially unnecessary stuffer information often present in news articles and gives you what you’re looking for. This helps you stick to the facts, rather than the speculations.

Gives you relevant extra information

If you find yourself reading news which mentions someone or something you’re not familiar with, Charlie has this fab feature that allows you to ask him to elaborate on a particular person. For example, say an article was about Joe Biden, there will be a pre-filled tab under your chat box saying, “Who is Joe Biden?” Click on that and Charlie can tell you before you move on. Cool, huh?

Why do we need Charlie?

Why DON’T we need Charlie? More and more people are being diagnosed with anxiety, depression and are stressed in their every day lives. Obviously I’m not saying that the news is the only thing to blame but when we’re constantly surrounded by bad news, terrifying stories and scare-mongering every day, it’s not a surprise that so many people feel hopeless.

I personally think it’s important to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world but doing it in a healthy way is VITAL for the sake of your mental well-being. The internet is a great way to do this, with everything being online and not many people buying physical paper newspapers anymore.

The internet is wonderfully accessible but of course it has it’s disadvantages too. News outlets need to find their income from somewhere and more often than not, that income comes from exploiting your privacy so that other folks can target you with adverts.

Media and news sites feeds off of your anxiety to encourage you to keep scrolling, keep reading, fall down rabbit holes and keep you on edge, until your anxiety is through the roof. Yes, they might inform you along the way but by then, it’s already too late. We’re already in a frantic state of anxiety to process what we’re being told properly. 

News often tells you what to think and what to feel. It bombards you with terror on a daily basis and that’s not what news should be about. News is news. It’s about information. Yes, it might still be a bit anxiety-inducing. But the world IS anxiety-inducing. Consuming the news in this way should be friendlier and kinder to your health and you shouldn’t be rage- or anxiety-farmed for money.

To summarize, THAT is why you need Charlie. Also, he’s super cute.

As well as downloading Charlie, here are some additional tips to help you if you’re finding the news is having a more serious negative impact on your mental health:

  • Turn the radio off in the car
  • Limiting your daily news intake (15 minutes or 30 minutes)
  • Don’t watch the news on the TV if you can help it
  • Mute words and phrases on Twitter
  • Delete other news apps from your phone

If you’re online, then chances are you can’t avoid the news forever. But there are steps you can take to consume it in a more healthier way. Charlie is available to download on Android and iPhone and it’s completely free. Charlie never monetizes your data, expunges your data after 14 days and doesn’t serve adverts. They really do put your privacy and safety first.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you monitor your news intake? Do you find news have an impact on your mental health? Will you be downloading Charlie? Let me know!

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  1. This sounds really interesting. I understand the want/ need to switch off from the news because it is typically negative, but I’m not a believer in switching off completely. I’ve always thought it’s better to stay somewhat up to date with the world even if it’s not that pleasant, so Charlie sounds like it could be an amazing option x

  2. Your partner was so right to recommend cutting your news intake. Even your social media intake, I find, can contribute! Everything has been so horrible lately, and it feels like one thing after another, after another. So having something like Charlie seems like such an amazing idea. I’ll definitely have to give him ago. I still want to know whats going on and the news, but not so much depressing stuff, please.

  3. I was not aware of this app but I am glad I learned about it. News definitely have a negative impact on my mental health. I avoid watching news on tv and I only read the basic headlines once or twice a day for few minutes. Thank you for letting me know about this app. It can definitely be life changing.

  4. This one is really innovative! I have trouble balancing my news reading and tend to be from extreme all to extreme nothing so I think I should try this one to be on the loop – enough for social conversations and understanding what is happening around me.
    But I imagine that news websites aren’t too thrilled about it since it brings down their numbers.

  5. I’ve never heard of anything like this before but I’m absolutely loving the sound of it! I’m the same, I find myself feeling mentally drained from all the scare mongering news headlines but some days I do genuinely want to stay informed and up to date so I’m defiantly going to check this app out asap! Thank you so much for sharing with us lovely Xo

    Elle –

  6. I have NEVER come across anything remotely like this, but I love how the app is made interactive and friendly with cute graphics and a helpful interface. That Charlie can sum up news articles and give recaps is awesome; I do not have to spend time scrolling for relevant information.

    While I am not sure if this is something I would use, I just love that it an option for people right now! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. I love the idea of Charlie! I haven’t been reading the news since December 2019 to avoid worrying about covid all the time. Because of this, I have missed out on the other news of the world, such as sustainability & environmental changes. Definitely downloading this, thank you for sharing Jenny xx

  8. What an incredible app this is! I love that the Charlie app summarises the biggest headlines in a few sentences and stops you from doom-scrolling. The headlines have been so awful lately so it’s nice to see that an app is helping our mental health by asking us what we want to hear x

    Lucy |

  9. I’d never thought of myself being affected by news scrolling, which I tend to do with Twitter more than any other app. But reading this post has made me realise that I’ve become far more frustrated and intolerant of many issues and people that before 24 February I would probably have just brushed aside or let pass for the sake of a quiet life. I think I’ll have to look into Charlie – not only for me, but for Flora too. She has her own phone and some form of safer news curation would be good for her too. Thank you, Jenny, really useful and helpful post xxx

  10. What a great app! I’m going to download it now because I’m exactly the same – over-accessing the news has such a huge impact on my mental health. Thanks for sharing this Jenny.

  11. This sounds like something I need in my life. For years I’ve hated scrolling through news articles because it massively impacts my mental health. Checking this out today!

  12. I tried to find it in the App Store but it looks like the app hadn’t been launched yet. I am intrigued by the Charlie bot as I feel like this would be something that I would really benefit from using!

  13. I find this incredibly useful. What an amazing app! I agree, the news these days seem quite negative – I mean, I understand why they need to publish what they do – just it can be such a weight on some people with their Mental Health. I’m definitely going to be looking into this app, and sharing it with those around me that could benefit from limiting their news intake. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jenny! And I truly hope it continues to help you too.

    ~ Jayne |

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