The internet has opened a whole new world for sharing information. Not only can you reach friends and family easier than ever, but you have the ability to instantly connect with people all around the globe.
This communication can be a wonderful thing, but it can also lead to false information being spread as fast as wildfire.
People Believe What They Read
When you participate in this spread of medical information online, you have to be prepared for the fact that people will believe it as soon as they read it. Many people fail to investigate any further than an article they see on social media. The antivaxx movement is a perfect example of this.
A now-debunked study claimed that vaccines caused autism and before it could be proven to be false information, people across the globe were sharing it and believing it as scientific fact. Now that more time has passed, we know that vaccines actually have zero link to autism.
A Game of Telephone
If the information you choose to share online is true, that doesn’t mean it will stay true. When someone sees this shocking information online, it can quickly turn into a game of telephone. Before you know it, the facts have been intertwined with exaggerations and falsifications.
This leads to mass panic and fear online. When we look at something like the antivaxx movement, the believed claims in the beginning have now been combined with tons of other claims of so called “side effects” from vaccines.
A Bandwagon Effect
Once the shocking information is online, a bandwagon effect happens. Anybody who sees the information can share it and convince their friends and family to believe the “medical information.” The antivaxx bandwagon has grown so large that 2019 has seen more cases of the measles than has been seen since the year 2000. Measles has even made its way to here in Northern Virginia! Most of those cases are in people that chose not be vaccinated due to personal beliefs – many of which influenced by misinformation spread online.
If you see shocking medical information on the web, you should discuss it with your physician before sharing it with anyone. Once you gather the facts you’ll likely find that the information isn’t nearly as shocking or scary, or even true, as you thought.
If you see your online friends sharing medical info, do your research before you decide to just share the post and continue the game of telephone. Contact Synergy Immediate Care at 703-942-5331 to set up a time to get your medical-related questions answered!