Social media affects almost every aspect of our lives these days. Even in situations where we aren’t aware of it, like the unconscious expectations we have for spousal relationships and what a vacation destination will look like. However one of the areas where it has the largest impact seems to be on parenting. The things we see on social media platforms, and the algorithms that determine what we’re more likely to see, will have a direct bearing on the way we raise our kids – both good and bad!
Facebook and vaccines: what’s the story?
According to a recent article in Bloomberg, Facebook is looking into what role they might play in the possible spread of misinformation about vaccines, and what they could do about it. A letter from Representative Adam Schiff to CEO Mark Zuckerberg points out the incredible number of ads and articles circulating on Facebook that discourage people from vaccinating their children. Schiff believes this information may be responsible for the sudden increase in measles outbreaks, like the one in Washington State.
In a statement released in response to schiff’s letter, Facebook says they are “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem.” These measures may include “reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations, including Groups You Should Join, and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available.”
Do tech companies owe it to the public to filter their content?
Schiff says that the problem lies primarily with the way Americans source their medical information. Information found online that looks and sounds valid is often mistaken for being accurate, even if it’s not. “The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues.”
This wasn’t helped, Schiff says, by the fact that Facebook has been accepting and promoting ads from groups who take a strong anti-vaccination stance. “Repetition of information, even if false, can often be mistaken for accuracy.” Although Google has already begun the process of trying to make more neutral vaccine related info available, many social media platforms have made no effort to filter out information that is potentially harmful.
Does social media really affect the health of our children?
Several studies done in recent years point to the fact that the content we read online, which is often curated by social media algorithms, has a huge impact on the choices we make on behalf of our children. Here in Michigan, state law allows parents the right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their kids, however the concern is that those choices will be made without access to all the necessary information to be fully informed.
Join us next time for a look at other ways in which social media can affect the way we choose to parent our kids. Until then, if you need help defending your parental rights, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245, and talk to one of our highly skilled family law attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to help you figure out what’s best for your family, and help you protect your parenting rights in the process.