The constant updates of information on COVID-19 available through news and social media can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are some helpful tips to maintain some balance during this time:
1. Keep things in perspective: Most people who contract the coronavirus will only experience mild symptoms. Measures are in place for more vulnerable populations, and we should all take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and others.
2. Focus on the facts: When looking for information, seek out local, national, or global public health agencies as well as health professionals for useful and accurate information.
3. Talk to your children: Be open to discussing and explaining news coverage to your children and provide age appropriate information. Children will look to you for cues to manage their own emotions.
4. Seek clarification: If you are confused and unsure about information you have heard about, seek help from health professionals or other service providers. Try out our live-chat!
5. Stop misinformation: If you are unsure if certain stories or information are accurate, do not spread it through your social media channels until you can verify the information from a trusted source.
6. Attend to other news: Don’t focus only on COVID-19 related news stories!
Real or Fake News?
Not sure how to distinguish between real and fake news?
Here are some helpful strategies and tips:
- Be skeptical of sensationalized headlines.
- “Fake news” often use attention-grabbing headlines to invoke fear and panic while spreading misinformation.
- Can I identify the source in the news?
- Who wrote the story?
- Is the source known to have a certain bias?
- Is there an authority named in this news?
- Who is the “expert” identified? Do they have the actual expertise (i.e., credentials) to speak on the subject matter?
- Fact check, especially if the news seems hard to believe.
- Is there a good explanation in the news story? Look for any leaps in logic and any opinions, assumptions, and exaggerations disguised as facts.
- Be patient and check out if the claims are true from more than just one source.
- If the information is true, other sources will share similar news
- Put news into perspectives.
- Numbers and figures out of context can create more fear and anxiety, with little meaning. It is easy to “lie with numbers”, meaning that reporters can choose different ways to emphasize numbers and percentages to make a point.
- Is it relevant to you?
- Ask yourself if the news is relevant to where you are living or is it meant for another region?
- Are there any differences in policies and practices that may change whether this news story applies to you?
- How up to date is this story?
- Look for alternative viewpoints.
- If you suspect the news story may not be real, see if there is another viewpoint from other sources. There are often many ways of explaining and interpreting events.