Young men are more likely to believe COVID-19 myths: Here is how to actually reach them



Young men are more likely to believe COVID-19 myths—so how do we actually reach them?
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If the media is something to go by, you’d assume individuals who believe coronavirus myths are white, middle-aged ladies known as Karen.

But our new study reveals a distinct image. We discovered men and folks aged 18-25 are more likely to believe COVID-19 myths. We additionally discovered a rise amongst individuals from a non-English talking background.

While we have heard lately concerning the significance of public well being messages reaching individuals whose first language is not English, we have heard much less about reaching younger men.

What did we discover?

Sydney Health Literacy Lab has been operating a nationwide COVID-19 survey of more than 1,000 every month since Australia’s first lockdown.

Just a few weeks in, our preliminary survey showed youthful individuals and men have been more likely to assume the good thing about herd immunity was lined up, and the specter of COVID-19 was exaggerated.

People who agreed with such statements have been less likely to need to obtain a future COVID-19 vaccine.

In June, after restrictions eased, we requested social media customers about more particular myths. We discovered:

  • men and youthful individuals have been more likely to believe prevention myths, reminiscent of sizzling temperatures or UV mild having the ability to kill the virus that causes COVID-19
  • individuals with decrease schooling and more social drawback have been more likely to believe causation myths, reminiscent of 5G getting used to unfold the virus
  • youthful individuals have been more likely to believe treatment myths, reminiscent of vitamin C and hydroxychloroquine being efficient therapies.

We want more focused analysis with younger Australians, and men particularly, about why a few of them believe these myths and what would possibly change their thoughts.

Although our analysis has but to be formally peer-reviewed, it displays what different researchers have discovered, each in Australia and internationally.

An Australian poll in May discovered comparable patterns, wherein men and youthful individuals believed a variety of myths more than different teams.

In the UK, are more likely to maintain conspiracy beliefs about COVID-19. American men are additionally more likely to agree with COVID-19 conspiracy theories than ladies.

Why is it essential to reach this demographic?

We want to reach younger individuals with well being messaging for a number of causes. In Australia, younger individuals:

Telstra is utilizing comic Mark Humphries to dispel 5G coronavirus myths.

The Victorian and New South Wales premiers have appealed to younger individuals to restrict socializing.

But is this sufficient when younger individuals are losing interest in COVID-19 news? How many 20-year-old men comply with Daniel Andrews on Twitter, or watch Gladys Berejiklian on tv?

How can we reach younger individuals?

We want to contain younger individuals within the design of COVID-19 messages to get the supply proper, if we are to persuade them to socialize much less and comply with prevention recommendation. We want to include them rather than blame them.

We can do that by testing our communications on younger individuals or operating client focus teams earlier than releasing them to the general public. We can embrace younger individuals on public well being communications groups.

We also can borrow methods from advertising and marketing. For instance, we all know how tobacco companies use social media to successfully goal younger individuals. Paying in style influencers on platforms reminiscent of TikTok to promote dependable info is one possibility.

We can goal particular communities to reach younger men who won’t entry mainstream media, as an example, players who’ve many followers on YouTube.

We additionally know humor may be more effective than severe messages to counteract science myths.

Some nice examples

There are social media campaigns occurring proper now to handle COVID-19, which could reach more younger men than conventional public well being strategies.

NSW Health has lately began a marketing campaign #Itest4NSW encouraging younger individuals to add movies to social media in assist of COVID-19 testing.

The United Nations is operating the worldwide Verified marketing campaign involving a military of volunteers to assist unfold more dependable info on social media. This could also be a approach to reach private groups on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the place misinformation spreads beneath the radar.

Telstra is utilizing Australian comic Mark Humphries to handle 5G myths in a satirical approach (though this may in all probability have more credibility if it did not come from a vested curiosity).

Finally, tech firms like Facebook are partnering with well being organizations to flag misleading content and prioritize more reliable information. But this is only a begin to handle the large drawback of misinformation in well being.

But we want more

We cannot anticipate younger men to entry dependable COVID-19 messages from individuals they do not know, via media they do not use. To reach them, we want to construct new partnerships with the influencers they belief and the social firms that management their info.

It’s time to change our strategy to public well being communication, to counteract misinformation and guarantee all communities can entry, perceive and act on dependable COVID-19 prevention recommendation.

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This article is republished from The Conversation beneath a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

Young men are more likely to believe COVID-19 myths: Here is how to actually reach them (2020, August 10)
retrieved 10 August 2020

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