Their interest in facing this situation and trying to reach the population to protect their health, with quick, clear and truthful information, has led the AEP to hold a first meeting between pediatricians and journalists specialized in verifying news and uncovering falsehoods.
The main conclusion of the day was that there are many open fronts, that there is a lack of institutional support, that health issues are fertile ground for bullies, many times for the economic interests of companies that sell miracle products, and others for pure ignorance
Aware that time is running out and that the approach needs to be changed to face the problem, the speakers, pediatricians and journalists have talked about reconquering the primary care and pediatric consultation, of participating in the networks, where rumors are spread, with information that ‘understand and to add to the cause well-known personalities, athletes, actors… who have thousands of followers on their networks.
Andrea Arnal (Verified); Maria González Dionis (Neutral); Carlos Mateos (Hello); and José Luis Zafra (Damn Science), have composed the panel of journalists.
Pediatricians have been represented by doctors Carlos Casabona; Marta Garin; Roi Pineiro; Gabriel Ruiz i Pepe Serrano.
Pediatrics and health, bowling alley
Faced with the indisputable fact that health, and therefore paediatrics, is fertile ground for bullies, Andrea Arnal, of verified, has considered that the first reason is the moneybecause “natural remedies sell and have an important niche”.
For biochemistry and also journalist, Maria González Dionisof Neutralthe skittles they appeal to fearand in an atmosphere of mistrust, more than truthful information is needed, and they go through many channels, not only the networks are also in the printed brochures, which is why it is necessary to “be on all fronts and encourage the critical spirit”.
The success of bulls in health matters also lies in the search for quick solutions by people who suffer from a pathology, according to Carlos Mateos, from SaludsinBulos,
A speed that for obvious reasons science does not have and otherwise we have a scientist at hand, “we have a brother-in-law, some with good intentions, others because they seek to stand out, and as the internet offers easy solutions and science does not have them, and there is no definitive cure, people end up preferring the false ones”.
Solutions for pediatrics without bowling
In this context Mateos has defended the need to use artificial intelligence, to create bots with reliable information and to get ahead of denialist tendencies or false information.
For his art, Carla Pinaof info factshas defended that it is necessary to “bombard society in all formats, by land, sea and air” to combat bullies effectively, as well as segment the target audience (children, parents, authorities) and look for appropriate formats for each segment of the population ( stories, comics, pictograms, an application…)
He has also considered it essential that paediatricians, primary care doctors and journalists work together “all to one”, and maintain reciprocal and constant communication.
Jose Luis Zafraof damn sciencehe emphasized the importance of formats and media to send truthful messages and called for more effort to detect false or dangerous information.
In his opinion, “more research is needed on exactly what works against disinformation, if more precise language, if more videos…. we have to learn a lot about communication about uncertainty, hard evidence…”
The opinion of pediatricians
All the paediatricians who have participated in this forum, and who are also very active in networks, have stressed the importance of regaining consultations.
Like this Carlos Casabona, pediatrician of primary care a Gironahas pointed to the fact that there are many young parents, raised with the internet to whom critical spirit is lacking“.
This is a sector of the population that “must be encouraged, it is necessary to generate a spirit of critical thinking in our consultations, to combat lies because today it is very easy to set up a website with a white coat and a perfect smile and you can sell whatever it is, it’s a modern version of the cart that sold hair grows”.
In his opinion, it is necessary to recapture consultation and “in this cybernetic sea, give papers, because written information is better fixed in the brain, and also provide them with the addresses of professional pediatric websites, so that when they leave the consultation, they will not n go to other internet pages”.
too Marta Garín, pediatrician of primary care a Málagahe has defended the need to “reconquer consultation”, even though the primary school is “dying”, and there are fewer and fewer paediatricians.
The specialist has considered that doctors should be updated and stop having a primary complex. must lower the egochange the way we communicate, we have to learn about social networks, how to make a video, background and form, and be accessible..”
For his part Roi Pineiropediatrician of Villalba General University Hospitalhe pointed to the fact that everyone thinks they know about medicine and what used to be kept between neighbors and relatives, now reaches everywhere through the networks and is talked about with “absolute impunity”.
On the other hand, Gabriel Ruizprimary care pediatrician a Valenciahas considered that there is total impunity and that the pandemic has done a lot of damage in the sense that “everyone had an opinion and was polarised, either white or black, without nuance”.
According to his opinion, there are many professionals on Twitter who leave the network because they are tired of getting stuck for truthful information, even so he defended that “you have to be and be where the people are, and if the teenagers they are on tik tok, so you have to be, and you have to conquer youtube”.
“It can’t be that the misinformed versions have thousands of views and the ones that verify don’t, we’re losing the battle, because society doesn’t know us, we’re complete strangers.”
too Pepe Serranoprimary care pediatrician a Barcelonahas agreed on the fact that there is a lot of misinformation for the sake of notoriety.
He has alluded to the issue of vaccines as a niche where there is a lot of misinformation and manipulation, and as for child nutrition, he has considered that what circulates the most are grandma’s recipes“but not malicious.”
Finally, he defended that it is necessary to be on the channels of families, “to make ourselves at their level and with their language, we need to reach them and speak as they speak”.