Tag: social

Show and tell: Creating guidelines for assuring the credibility of health information sources on social media | Center for Health Communication

Headshot of Dr. James O'Donovan

You’re reading Show and Tell, which highlights communication “wins” from our community. Want more inspiration like this? Subscribe to our Call to Action newsletter. What to see your work here? Tell us about your win

Who I am: Dr. James O’Donovan, MBBS, MRes, PhD, Director of Research at Community Health Impact Coalition, Technical Advisor to WHO, NHS physician, and creator of the Doctor O’Donovan Medical Education channels, which have 300,000+ subscribers and 100,000 million video views.

What I created: In 2023 I was one of two expert clinician creators involved in the co-development of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges guidelines titled “Assuring the credibility of health information sources on social media platforms“, which were produced with funding from YouTube. These are the first guidelines to help creators and organizations create digital content that is reliable, trustworthy, and accessible. They also highlight ways to identify and continuously assess the credibility of creators and organizations.

Why it matters: Social media content is a major and valuable source of health information for millions of people. In fact, almost 6 in 10 U.S. adults search the internet for health information that they use to inform their health decisions. It is therefore essential that this information is accurate and trustworthy and that health communicators assure the public of the quality and credibility of that information. This is why we developed these guidelines. It is unrealistic and not necessarily desirable to monitor every piece of health information on social media. Instead, we devised a system to help people evaluate the credibility of the sources and communicators of health information.

What I learned: Being involved in this process taught me several valuable lessons:

  • Diverse stakeholder engagement is crucial: Developing guidelines with entities like The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, NHS

How medieval French women used hidden social networks to share medical advice

In the medieval period, medical science was still dominated by the ancient writings of Hippocrates from the fifth century and Galen of Pergamon from the second century. Research has shown that women were increasingly being taken seriously as healers and as bearers of wisdom about women’s bodies and health. But despite this, men were preferred while women faced restrictions.

Informal networks developed in response, as a way for women to practise medicine in secret – and pass on their medical wisdom outside the male bastions.

The Distaff Gospels, first published in France around 1480, is a collection of “gospels” around pregnancy, childbirth and health. It was created during secretive meetings of French women who had gathered with their drop spindles and distaffs to spin flax.

These women, who were mostly from the regions of Flanders and Picardy, agreed to meet over the long nights between Christmas and early February to gather the wisdom of their ancestors and pass it on to the women who came after them. The meetings are believed to have been organised by a local villager who selected six older women, each chairing one night, who would recount their advice on a range of topics such as pregnancy, childbirth and marriage.

A scribe was appointed to record the advice, which had previously only been preserved through the oral story tradition of peasant women. What is most fascinating is that although the text is mediated by a male scribe, The Distaff Gospels presents the often-silent voices of the lower working-class women. One such gospel advises:

Young women should never be given hares’ heads to eat, for fear they might think about it later, once they are married, especially while they are pregnant; in that case, for sure, their children would

Medieval women used informal social networks to share health problems and medical advice | Media Centre

In the medieval period, medical science was still dominated by the ancient writings of Hippocrates from the fifth century and Galen of Pergamon from the second century. Research has shown that women were increasingly being taken seriously as healers and as bearers of wisdom about women’s bodies and health. But despite this, men were preferred while women faced restrictions.

Informal networks developed in response, as a way for women to practise medicine in secret – and pass on their medical wisdom outside the male bastions.

The Distaff Gospels, first published in France around 1480, is a collection of “gospels” around pregnancy, childbirth and health. It was created during secretive meetings of French women who had gathered with their drop spindles and distaffs to spin flax.

These women, who were mostly from the regions of Flanders and Picardy, agreed to meet over the long nights between Christmas and early February to gather the wisdom of their ancestors and pass it on to the women who came after them. The meetings are believed to have been organised by a local villager who selected six older women, each chairing one night, who would recount their advice on a range of topics such as pregnancy, childbirth and marriage.

A scribe was appointed to record the advice, which had previously only been preserved through the oral story tradition of peasant women. What is most fascinating is that although the text is mediated by a male scribe, The Distaff Gospels presents the often-silent voices of the lower working-class women. One such gospel advises:

Young women should never be given hares’ heads to eat, for fear they might think about it later, once they are married, especially while they are pregnant; in that case, for sure, their children would have split lips.

‘Deviant women’

The advice

Medieval women used informal social networks to share health problems and medical advice – just as we do today

In the medieval period, medical science was still dominated by the ancient writings of Hippocrates from the fifth century and Galen of Pergamon from the second century. Research has shown that women were increasingly being taken seriously as healers and as bearers of wisdom about women’s bodies and health. But despite this, men were preferred while women faced restrictions.

Informal networks developed in response, as a way for women to practise medicine in secret – and pass on their medical wisdom outside the male bastions.

The Distaff Gospels, first published in France around 1480, is a collection of “gospels” around pregnancy, childbirth and health. It was created during secretive meetings of French women who had gathered with their drop spindles and distaffs to spin flax.

These women, who were mostly from the regions of Flanders and Picardy, agreed to meet over the long nights between Christmas and early February to gather the wisdom of their ancestors and pass it on to the women who came after them. The meetings are believed to have been organised by a local villager who selected six older women, each chairing one night, who would recount their advice on a range of topics such as pregnancy, childbirth and marriage.

A scribe was appointed to record the advice, which had previously only been preserved through the oral story tradition of peasant women. What is most fascinating is that although the text is mediated by a male scribe, The Distaff Gospels presents the often-silent voices of the lower working-class women. One such gospel advises:

Young women should never be given hares’ heads to eat, for fear they might think about it later, once they are married, especially while they are pregnant; in that case, for sure, their children would have split lips.

‘Deviant women’

The advice

Young people at risk from social media-driven diet trends, experts warn

Young people following dangerous diet trends and accepting health advice from social media influencers have been warned about the adverse health effects by experts.

From eating only chicken breast or raw carrots to replacing meals with protein shakes, some young people in the UAE and abroad are blindly following social media trends, which can cause serious illnesses.

Kanika Hughes, co-founder, chef and nutritionist of Leela’s Lunches, who provide meals to schools and nurseries in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said many pupils get “their nutritional information off Instagram”.

When it comes to health and wellness, there’s no hack

Kanika Hughes, co-founder of Leela’s Lunches

“Just about anybody with six pack abs or anybody who’s a trainer, they follow them and they’ll do this one size fits all approach,” said Ms Hughes.

“This can be really dangerous because this is just not the way we’re supposed to be thinking about food.

“I really worry about how social media influences nutrition trends in a way that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

She warned young people against taking health or skincare advice from influencers who were not qualified for the job.

While giving a talk at a school in the UAE, Ms Hughes asked pupils about popular food trends and found many had tried diets including a coffee cleanse or eating only raw carrots.

“These are just the kind of bizarre things you would not expect a 15-year-old to get into,” said Ms Hughes.

“My main problem is this notion of a quick fix. When it comes to health and wellness, there’s no hack.”

Excessive social media use has been linked with a decline in mental health, with the Arab Youth Survey 2023 finding that 60 per

Poll Shows People Seek Medical Advice From AI and Social Media Instead Of Their Doctors

thought catalog Nv vx3kUR2A unsplash

What’s the first thing you do when you have a new symptom or a confusing lab result? Google it, of course! But now, many MD-less keyboard warriors are turning to ChatGPT and other AI tools, along with social media, even more so than our own doctors. Step aside, WebMD: A new version of Doctor Googling is here.

In a poll released on Dec. 6 from UserTesting, data from 2,000 participants revealed that 53 percent rely on healthcare websites, and 46 percent consult social media sites over their own doctor. In addition, over half the people polled would trust AI to recommend treatment plans to them, and 72 percent believe they themselves have a better understanding of their health than their doctor. 

This begs the question, why? There are some potential clues — respondents report that they don’t understand what insurance covers (57 percent), and that creates a significant barrier to getting medical help. Additionally, over half of respondents also said they are embarrassed about what they are experiencing, and nearly half were seeking a second opinion. 

Though respondents seemed comfortable with leaning on the internet as a whole, location played a significant role in patients’ trust of AI. Only 6 percent of Americans were against using AI for health-related queries, but nearly half of the British respondents wouldn’t trust AI to handle health-related tasks. Around 27 percent of Australians did not feel AI would be trustworthy enough. Lija Hogan, Customer Experience Consultant at UserTesting, said these global opinions were an area of interest they wanted to explore through research. “We’re one year into the AI revolution… [we] wanted to get a sense of how people across the globe… are leveraging AI in their healthcare experiences.”

Dr.  Kien Vuu, Triple Board-Certified Physician, Author of Thrive State and Former Asst. Professor

Surgeon General Issues New Advisory About Effects Social Media Use Has on Youth Mental Health

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy Urges Action to Ensure Social Media Environments are Healthy and Safe, as Previously-Advised National Youth Mental Health Crisis Continues

Today, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Surgeon General’s Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health. While social media may offer some benefits, there are ample indicators that social media can also pose a risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. Social media use by young people is nearly universal, with up to 95% of young people ages 13-17 reporting using a social media platform and more than a third saying they use social media “almost constantly.”

With adolescence and childhood representing a critical stage in brain development that can make young people more vulnerable to harms from social media, the Surgeon General is issuing a call for urgent action by policymakers, technology companies, researchers, families, and young people alike to gain a better understanding of the full impact of social media use, maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of social media platforms, and create safer, healthier online environments to protect children. The Surgeon General’s Advisory is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) ongoing efforts to support President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health care for all Americans.

“The most common question parents ask me is, ‘is social media safe for my kids’. The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And for too

Sharing on parenting: Getting advice through social media

Parents of young children often have questions about how to care for their child. The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asked a national sample of parents of children 0-4 years about using social media to share parenting ideas.

Most parents of young children (80%) say they use social media to discuss parenting topics. More mothers than fathers use social media to look for parenting advice or information (84% vs 69%) or share their experiences (63% vs 42%). Parents report using social media to learn about or discuss toilet training (44%), getting kids to sleep (42%), nutrition/breastfeeding (37%), discipline (37%), behavior problems (33%), vaccination (26%), daycare/preschool (24%), and getting along with other kids (21%).

Parents say they discuss these topics on social media because they want to hear different ideas (62%), it’s convenient (27%), they want to do things differently than their parents (25%), they don’t have family/friends nearby (9%), they don’t have enough opportunities to ask their child’s healthcare provider (7%), or they are too embarrassed to ask in person (5%). Parents rate social media as very useful for getting new ideas to try (44%), making them feel like they’re not alone (37%), learning what not to do (33%), deciding whether to buy certain products (25%) or when to take their child to the doctor (11%), and helping them worry less (16%).

Most parents (72%) identify at least one aspect of social media sharing that concerns them, such as seeing other parents doing things that are unhealthy or dangerous for their child (43%), difficulty distinguishing good vs bad advice (40%), others finding out their family’s private information (38%) or sharing photos of their child without their child’s permission (31%). Many feel other parents overshare on social media by bragging about their child (77%), sharing too often

Kylie Jenner on Motherhood, Social Media, and Her New Clothing Line

As the first of her family members to start a successful brand (and become the second most-followed woman on Instagram), Kylie Jenner is a testament to the power of business savvy in the age of the internet. The reality star and beauty entrepreneur beloved for her relatability and robust pout has always blazed her own trail, often with a handy assist from her momager Kris, from launching lip kits at the ripe age of 18 to defying all expectations and becoming a widely-reported billionaire. Now, she’s sort of charting new territory: designing a clothing line—this time, all on her own. (Jenner previously launched the fashion brand Kendall & Kylie with her sister at PacSun in 2013.) Her latest venture, Khy, a riff on her nickname, is a collection of affordable high-fashion pieces that hopes to redefine the modern wardrobe with inclusive sizing and an accessible price point, while offering a fresh take on quiet luxury. Ahead of Khy’s official launch, we talked with Jenner about her eponymous label, trends she avoids, and matching with her daughter, Stormi.


Why did you decide to start a fashion line?

I felt like it was the perfect time [in my life]. I was having kids, and it’s always been a dream of mine to have a fashion line, especially one like this.

Is it different from or similar to helming a beauty brand?

You know what, it’s been really similar [so far]. For me, fashion and beauty really go together. My makeup and hair are important to every piece that I put on my body, and I really think it could make or break a look. You can take a simple black dress or a simple faux leather mini to another level. I creative direct Kylie Cosmetics, and I’ve been doing the same thing

Experts concerned over ‘pseudoscience’ on social media

A concerned woman checks her smart phone while standing in a streetShare on Pinterest
Experts say mental health advice on social media platforms should be scrutinized carefully. Ivan Pantic/Getty Images
  • Online social platforms have increased visibility and discussion around mental health topics.
  • Not all mental health information shared online is necessarily accurate, evidence-based, or even well-intentioned.
  • Experts say people with mental health issues may be especially vulnerable to this type of messaging.

Anyone can create a TikTok account.

For the purposes of staying connected with friends and family, this can be a simple and effective tool.

However, as you might expect — or may have already experienced firsthand — this also means that not everything shared on TikTok is based in fact.

The same applies to other popular social platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

In a new book edited by Jonathan N. Stea and Stephen Hupp, a panel of professionals examines the potential dangers of seeking mental health advice and treatments online, and in particular on social media platforms and celebrity sites.

What are the specific dangers, and what can be done to avert them? Here’s what experts have to say.

“I use TikTok and often witness mental health issues being shared and discussed on the platform,” Andrea Tarantella, LPC, NCC, a counselor with ADHD Advisor who was not involved in the book, told Medical News Today.

“I see anecdotal advice and personal experiences being shared that often oversimplify how complex mental health issues are. Individuals then self-diagnose with conditions such as ADHD and autism in the comments section, simply relying on one personal experience posted by the content creator,” said Tarantella.

While personal anecdotes certainly have the potential to be true, experts say they shouldn’t be applied broadly or mistaken as definitive.

Experts also caution against content that promotes immediate results

Back To Top