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Mix the vast energy and attain of social media, the limitless resources of websites and apps, and the unquenchable thirst for health information and motivation. The result’s a powerful device for researchers, health care suppliers and sufferers. But like many facets of the web, it may be a mixed blessing.
“Social media are an unbelievable product to offer support and promote good information in ways we couldn’t do earlier than,” stated Dr. Raina Merchant, director of the Penn Medicine Center for Digital Health in Philadelphia. “They can be a highly effective way to understand what sufferers are talking about and what their considerations are.”
Her research has included analyzing Facebook posts to foretell medical and psychological problems, using Yelp to guage drug therapy facilities, and helping clinicians use social media to higher understand their patients’ experiences.
In analyzing millions of health -related tweets, nonetheless, she encountered a pervasive on-line dilemma: misinformation.
“One which was really common was that individuals were saying should you eat frozen lemons, that will remedy your diabetes,” she said. “After all, that is ridiculous, but you can do lots of damage by stopping your medication and just eating frozen lemons. We’ve got to counteract that.”
That’s the challenge at the intersection of social media and public health: harnessing the huge potential for good, whereas guarding against the pitfalls.
“Social media is usually a good spot to be taught health tips and get inspiration from others,” stated Loren Coleman, vice president of promoting and communications of Action for Healthy Kids. The nonprofit promotes well being and properly-being for kids and households at colleges nationwide and supports using social media to further these targets. “And it can be a great way for adults, and even households together, to problem themselves to make wholesome life-style changes and maintain your self accountable.”
However, she said, “Cyberbullying is a big downside. Mother and father should be involved on-line and offline to assist their kids navigate social media.”
The scope of social media is tough to overestimate. A latest Pew Analysis Middle research calculated 81% of Individuals use smartphones and nearly as many have desktop or laptop computers. The center additionally concluded 72% of U.S. adults use some type of social media. Among adults, 69% use Facebook, 37% use Instagram and 22% use Twitter.
There are countless websites and apps meting out health info , tracking nutrition and fitness, offering encouragement and inspiration, linking individuals to support one another, even providing actual-time medical recommendation.
At the skilled degree , Dr. Robert Harrington, an interventional cardiologist and chair of the department of medication at Stanford University in California, mentioned social media is turning into “a extremely optimistic addition to how I reside my skilled life. It’s a extra environment friendly use of my time, permitting me to digest and consider much more info than I used to.”
Harrington cites many ways social media enhances his work: more access to scientific journals, fast interplay with colleagues far and wide, wider exposure to totally different views.
At the identical time, he isn’t oblivious to the draw back.
“One of the great things about social media is there is a variety of perspective,” Harrington said. “One of the challenges is that a few of these views might be dangerously incorrect.”
These days, the cardiologist has been tangling on-line with people unhappy together with his opposition to vaping due to the well being risks.
“They don’t want to speak about knowledge or science, they want to discuss how they feel,” he said.
But Harrington mentioned professionals shouldn’t draw back from the talk.
“You have to be willing to have interaction,” he stated. “I encourage clinicians and scientists to be on social media We want more truthful voices in these conversations rather than belief-oriented voices.”
“Well being care providers can’t simply leave it as much as the web to find out what’s correct,” she said. “We’ve to be part of the dialogue and we now have to defend good science.”
For most of the people, the challenge is on the receiving end. With extra info than ever accessible, the task is sorting by it all and figuring out what is credible.
“It’s essential to figure out which are trusted sources,” Harrington said. “Meaning getting completely different views and utilizing important considering.”
Coleman stated the term “infobesity” captures the overload of information that can inundate folks on social media and all over the place online.
“Managing all of that for ourselves and our kids in a wholesome method is basically vital,” she said.
Citation: Can social media be good in your well being? (2020, January 22) retrieved 19 September 2021 from –
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