Cases of cyberbullying on social media rise during pandemic
Due to the pandemic, many of us have turned to social media and the internet for advice, tips and news on how to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus in 2020. At the time, little research had been done on the novel virus, so any advice or tips from experts on prevention was well-received.
Taking advantage of this fact, healthcare professionals are starting to dominate the social media space with videos on Instagram and TikTok, either to inform or to debunk myths about the virus. They also spend time talking about other illnesses and health issues. One such medical professional turned healthcare influencer is Dr. Austin continues to make short educational short films to this day. His account @austinchiangmd has more than 562,000 followers on TikTok.
Health-related social media accounts have increased over the years. Whether it’s about viruses, mental health, or alternative medicine, there are instructions for just about any aspect of overall health.
On TikTok, the hashtag #HealthTok has more than 944 million views. A quick glance at the overview of hashtags on social media platforms reveals that a wide variety of content creators — from professionals to publications and even regular folks — share tips and tricks to help others.
Additionally, these creators may cross-post and share their content on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. This constant sharing behavior makes it difficult for social media users to avoid such content.
While it’s good that these healthcare professionals and ordinary people want to educate their fellow citizens on certain issues and topics, concerns about spreading fear and spreading misinformation have also been raised.
In the past, the focus was on physical health and problems. These days, however, the trend seems to involve mental health and relationship advice from psychotherapists and the like. The pandemic has brought a range of mental health problems to people around the world. According to KFF, about 4 in 10 adults in the United States experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. These feelings are not surprising since many of us are cooped up at home and have to adapt to different ways of working.
A reported increase in cases of cyberbullying on social media during the pandemic has made it imperative for medical influencers to discuss staying safe on social media. School bullying has plummeted as everyone stays at home, but bullies go online to harm victims. It also doesn’t help that internet usage has increased from 4.1 billion in 2019 to 4.9 billion in 2021, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
Beyond the realm of social media, healthcare has also become more digital with the rise of telemedicine and telemedicine. In this case, patients no longer need to go to a brick-and-mortar clinic for diagnosis and medication. Instead, they were assessed by their doctor over a video call. The medication is then delivered on the same day.
Medical trend watchers have shared that they believe technology will continue to play a huge role in medicine, even in the post-pandemic era. If anything, the adoption of technology in the medical field could make healthcare more accessible on a global scale.
Additionally, it will streamline processes across various healthcare aspects, including administrative work, insurance, and more.
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