Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 cause real-world problems by making some people reluctant to get vaccinated, wearing masks, or following other guidelines.Some bizarre theories about the virus prompt believers to burn 5G cell towers, Close the vaccination clinic Even ingesting poison that is touted as a cure.
Misinformation and psychology experts The Associated Press interview provides some tips for wondering how to talk to friends or family members who believe in COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Their recommendations are as follows:
Listen but don̵
Keep calm: Arguing with someone about a conspiracy theory may only lead to an increase in blood pressure. Remember, no matter what you say, some people will not change their minds, and arguing about the proven benefits of wearing masks or vaccines will not convince them.
Change the theme: cultivate common experiences and interests to help people focus on interpersonal relationships. If someone is addicted to conspiracy theories, politely say you would rather talk about other things.
As for increasing their defenses against conspiracy theories and misinformation about the virus (or any other subject), experts recommend the following:
Expand your media diet: Checking various news sources (including some mainstream local, national and international media) is the best way to stay up to date and avoid misunderstandings and conspiracy theories. Don’t just rely on social media to get news.
Check the source: See who wrote the content and who was cited. Do they have a name? Is their position or experience credible for their claims? Are there other opinions expressed in the article? Be wary of claims made by “insiders,” anonymous Internet posters, or anyone who uses rumors as a reason. Also, check the date: misinformation vendors often post old photos or news reports and claim that they are new photos.
Be wary of emotional content: Misinformation and conspiracy theories often use anger, fear, or other emotions. Be cautious when using content with strong emotions or content that is intended to make you angry. If something you read really makes you angry, please wait until your mood cools down before reposting or sending it to a friend.
Verify unconventional claims: If you read some incredible claims – it seems too good, too bad, or too weird to be justified – please check if it is reported elsewhere. If this is an important story, other stores will confirm the details. If the explosive statement is only made on one website or one social media user, beware.
Offline: A pandemic is a time of heightened stress and fear for everyone, and there are many legitimate questions about the virus. Experts say that healthy habits such as exercise, meditation, positive relationships, volunteering and even hobbies can alleviate some fears and make us more resistant to misinformation and conspiracy theories that use our fear or anger.