Family Life Education - Volume III
Clear as Mud
Lavonne Pappert, M.A., CFLE
April 27, 2020
Does any of this sound familiar?
· Wear a mask, but don't wear one because chances are it won't help.
What information should we trust? How can we be reassured when information changes constantly?
The Bruno Kessler Research Foundation, reported that in March an average of 46,000 new posts on Twitter were linked to inaccurate or misleading information about the Covid crisis.
Uncertainty and anxiety about the pandemic, combined with political overtones, influence how we respond to new information. We are more gullible than we care to admit. In fact, when presented with factual and inaccurate data, one-third of Americans tested were not able to recognize fake news. Why? Because we have an innate sense to want to believe what we read and hear, especially if it fits into our world view.
How do we fight misinformation?
We live in a world of click and post. As we scroll through social media and on-line information, we often grab the title and fail to vet the article. If we pass along inaccurate data, we actually become part of the problem.
· Check the source. Major news outlets are fighting for ratings. Reporting should be factual not an opinion. Be wary of treating one person or one healthcare worker's experience as the general rule.
· Check the author. Look to pandemic experts, not necessarily scientists or commentators in a related field.
· Check the content. Gather information from diverse sources. Treat any single study as a blurry data point that needs further research to put it in sharper detail.
Shelter in place orders are being lifted daily, which means we can anticipate an onslaught of new details and information.
How we shop, dine, and utilize services will change, just as air travel did post 9/11. Some will feel the need for more caution, perhaps feeling scared or anxious. Staying home, wearing a mask, and distancing felt safe. Others will be like a Thoroughbred stuck in a race stall on Derby Day. Reopening couldn't have come quick enough. These folks are ready and eager to reengage with the world.
Because we are children of God, we can receive one another with love and grace knowing each of us have individual needs. We should not shame one another for how we interpret information but understand that all of us have a desire to protect ourselves and our family. As businesses reopen and people once again make contact, take time to simply ask what feels comfortable to another. As Christians, we know that "God is able to make all grace available to us, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
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