The use of social media as professional platforms and the dissemination of health-related scientific information has become increasingly common. This exposure for the health professional can lead to uncomfortable situations, with attacks and harassment of the professional by users of these networks, especially when the information relates to controversial topics or conflicts with the beliefs of certain groups.
Read more: AAP 2023: The American Academy of Pediatrics conference begins on the 20th of this month
The second day of the AAP conference witnessed a lecture by Dr. Nicole Baldwin, an American pediatrician who enjoys a high participation on social media. In January 2020, Dr. Nicole posted a video on TikTok in which she promoted vaccine-preventable diseases and emphasized that vaccines do not cause autism. From the moment the video went viral, the doctor began facing numerous virtual attacks, some clearly criminal, by anti-vaccine groups from several countries, which even had an impact on her daily clinical practice. In her speech, she discussed the different types of virtual harassment and how to implement protection and defense strategies against virtual attacks.
What is virtual harassment?
Virtual harassment is a situation in which information and communication technologies are used by an individual or group of individuals to repeatedly harm another person. In a 2020 study, 41% of participants reported that they had personally experienced some instances of virtual harassment, and this percentage is expected to be higher today. In another survey conducted in June 2023, 66% of participating physicians and biomedical scientists reported that they had experienced harassment on social media, 88% due to their professional practice, 45% based on gender, 27% based on race/ethnicity, and 13% based on Ethnicity. Sexual orientation.
There are several types of virtual harassment. The most common is with comments on social media, but other forms of harassment include sharing or tagging the harassed profile so other people can jointly attack, creating fake profiles, and producing and posting texts, reviews, messages or calls. Fake phone. To the practice or employer, the sharing of personal information, and harassment that occurs in person.
What are the topics most closely related to virtual attacks?
When we talk about virtual attacks, some subjects are more vulnerable to virtual harassment. Doctor. Nicole listed vaccination, firearm safety, issues related to sexuality, reproductive choices, sleep safety, bed sharing, breastfeeding/use of formula, and coronavirus/use of masks as her main topics. In other words, topics that are very common in the pediatric context.
How do you prepare to avoid virtual attacks before posting content on social media?
First of all, it is important to stress that security is not too much. Make sure you have two-step authentication and strong passwords on your networks. Separate your personal profile from your professional profile, if possible, vary the name to prevent people from finding sensitive and confidential information, such as the name and photo of your children or relatives. Consider not sharing photos of your children and the places they study or go.
Regarding each social media platform, there are also some ways to protect yourself. On Instagram, you can go to Settings and Privacy. There’s a Hidden Words pane, where you can hide offensive comments in your comments, block offensive messages, and even choose a custom list of words you don’t want to see in comments or messages.
On your professional Facebook profile, there’s a Moderation Assistant where you can create a list of criteria that will automatically hide a comment, for example, comments from people who don’t have profile photos, or profiles that don’t have friends or followers. You can also select keywords or emojis in comments which will automatically hide the comment. You’ll still be able to see the comment, but others won’t be able to see it.
On X (formerly Twitter), you can go to the Privacy section, click on the Comments section, and you can filter out keywords that you don’t want to appear on your profile. On YouTube, you can also add a list of words or phrases that you don’t want to appear in the comments on your videos.
I was attacked on social media. And now?
Doctor. Nicole also offered some advice on how to respond to an attack on social media. Avoid arguing with people on social media. You probably won’t change this person’s mind and will spend your energy and time on them. Stay calm, but ask for help if necessary. Alert your employers if you are concerned that an attack will harm your business. Consider turning off comments if necessary. Take screenshots of comments, as these comments often disappear after being blocked, and you may need to seek legal or police assistance. Take breaks when necessary. Don’t stay up all night watching or responding to these comments. This will harm your mental health.
You can also regulate the number and quality of interactions within that network within each social network, as well as allowing comments from groups of people, for example, only your followers. It’s also possible to block or restrict mentions and mentions on your profile to certain groups, as this will reduce the number of posts from people who harass you. If things get too difficult or too much, remember that you can always make your account private or deactivate it momentarily.
Messages to save
- Social networks are an important tool for disseminating information and action for pediatricians.
- Content that is closely related to pediatrics, such as vaccines and breastfeeding, can increase the risk of cyberattacks.
- Virtual harassment is a common situation, so learning ways to prevent and manage these attacks is essential.
“Writer. Analyst. Avid travel maven. Devoted twitter guru. Unapologetic pop culture expert. General zombie enthusiast.”