False (or partially false) information spread in times of an emergency can:
What do we know?
What can you do?
Take a breath. Is it a joke or an attempt at satire? Some jokes can be very hard to distinguish from a real report. Look at the source / author and check if they are known for joke posts. Ask your parents or guardians if you need clarification.
Take action by … not doing anything! Ignore it and do not forward or give any light to misinformation. Any interaction, even merely opening to read an article, activates behind the scenes algorithms used by search engines and social media to push content towards the end-users.
Take action by …. reporting it as fake news.
Use only official sources to confirm information. Be wary that sources may pack false data alongside true sources to sneak negative and false messages in. Bookmark true sources:
Give yourself time to switch off from being online and information overload. This will give you time to step back and unwind. Headspace Australia reports that you need to be mindful of exposure through stories, traditional and social media and it may be helpful to have a break from the 24-hour news cycle.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au
beyondblue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263 or sane.org
First appeared in Anglican Cyber Tuesdays 25/02/2020.
Cover image from Cyberbullying.Org Inspirational Images