‘News today is more for propaganda than for information and it does affect us,’ How Fake News Affects Mental Health?
At this point in time, we wonder if anyone really needs to hear how important ‘information’ is. Where earlier, the concerns were having the information and keeping oneself aware and updated, the concerns have now shifted to having the right information. Misinformation and false information, especially propagating in the form of fake news are coming up as dangerous for information consumers. And it is impossible that it doesn’t affect a person’s mental wellbeing. We asked a few people about how fake news affects mental health and here is what they said –
News consumers Telling How Fake News Affects Mental Health
“Fake news, I don’t think anything sways more easily than fake news. A few days back, my daughter was booking the vaccine for me. She asked me for the dates I am free, and I immediately recalled the message, one of the extended family shared in our WhatsApp group stating that one must not get vaccinated before and after 5 days of their periods. I asked my daughter to not book any date as of now as I am expecting my periods to which she lashed at me saying, “Ahhhhh. Mummaa this is fake news, read news, not these…. forwards”. And in that moment, I felt sad, for myself and for all the other women who would have thought that news is true. That incident has been staying with me for the longest and it surely affected my thought process like never before. I felt sad of the world we are and how false information is spreading like fire in it.” – Pooja.
“Being in a country with around 4 lakh cases every day is already terrifying enough. But we need to know and have every right to know what actually is happening around us. Fake news just puts a blindfold on our eyes. We are just sitting at home with no other source to verify the actual fact, so fake news not only just takes us away from reality, but it may also fill us with hate for some part of our society for no apparent reason at all. Staying away from hate and negativity is all we wish for right now, but fake news with fake treatments, false accusations about vaccination not working, and things like that give birth to disbelief in ourselves, which is the last thing we’ll want to have for the time being” – Shantanu Salhotra
“You know, that moment, when you know something is wrong but you are unable to fix it? In that moment, you feel devastated, helpless, miserable, right? Fake news makes me feel like that. Something that is going wrong and I am unable to fix it. If I have to highlight an example, the recent news of violence in Bengal after Mamata Banerjee won the elections really broke my heart. There were several pictures of mob violence that floated on the internet. And even after several fact checks (https://www.
“Fake news help in creating narratives which are not true and help us create a bias on a topic on incorrect facts. It creates a vacuum in mind to trust no one, which is very problematic in the current information-overloaded world. I just feel helpless and at times, this helplessness starts becoming depressing. I feel sad for those who have consumed fake news blindly, and the feeling that I can’t do anything makes me anxious, impulsive”
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