Chances are, you have Instagram or have at least heard of it before.
Instagram is a social media platform used to share photos and videos to a chosen audience. This might be a close group of friends and family, or the entire world.
Over the years, Instagram has become a place for ‘influencers‘ to offer followers a glimpse into their life. The problem is, this is often just a highlights reel.
With daily views, it is easy to become influenced by a lifestyle they are show-casing or the products they are selling.The worst yet, the advice they offer.
Let’s look at the negative impacts social media has created within the healthcare world.
Instagram can be a blank canvas for people to offer their opinion on and anything and everything. Whether it be the latest diet trend, tips for weight loss or even how to cure COVID-19.
Users don’t need a health degree to offer these opinions. They can simply be your every day person offering unsolicited and uneducated advice.
Sadly, hundreds, even millions of users listen to this advice, leading to poor health choices and a lack of education. Advice given on Instagram can be factually incorrect, biassed and even dangerous.
Let’s take an example that has circulated around Instagram in the last 12 months – the Celery Juice Cleanse. Celebrities have shown themselves drinking this juice, apparently leading to miraculous health changes such as weight loss, better skin and digestion.
The reality is, juice cleansing can be dangerous and is not a long-term solution to healthcare. The juice cleanse might make you feel good for a day, but it isn’t going to lead to any sustainable changes. Plus – have you ever tasted a celery juice, gross.
If you compare the ‘celery juice cleanse’ advice offered by an Influencer to the information provided by a registered dietician, dermatologist or GI specialist, you will see their advice is completely different.
I know which advice I’d be taking.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also seen dangerous mis-information spread across the internet from people who have no place providing opinion and advice. This is especially true when we review the vaccination data, the information provided from WHO and evidence offered by specialists in the field.
Again, this is dangerous and can cause a lot of harm to not only individuals, but communities as a whole.
Next time you are online, I urge you to take a more critical view of the information being offered to you.
Don’t get sucked in to the latest ‘booty building’ video, or how to lose 5kg in 5 days.
If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.
Instead, take a look at who you are following and consider whether they are appropriately educated to offer this advice. Are they certified in the space they are offering information?
If not, move on and find somebody who is. There are so many amazing healthcare professionals on social media offering evidence based, factual information. Unfortunately, this is often diluted by the rest.