6 Tips for Managing Medical Misinformation at Your Next Family Gathering

2 min read

The holiday season is fast approaching, and you know what that means: We’ll all be gathering around the dinner table or the fireplace with friends and family we have not seen in a while. Given the divisiveness that has developed in our society over the last several years, there’s a good chance that the holiday spirit might not prevail, despite our best intentions. Misinformation and disinformation are often the uninvited guests at some holiday events.

But don’t give up hope! We have the perfect “gift” to help address all sizes, shapes, and beliefs of misinformation that your loved ones might have embraced. The News Literacy Project, a national nonpartisan education nonprofit, shares advice for navigating tricky conversations. They have created an infographic, “How to speak up without starting a showdown: Six best practices for talking to friends and family about sharing falsehoods online,” precisely for the situations that we might encounter over the holiday season or any time of the year.

The guidance is presented in six steps that emphasize patience and empathy over provocation and derision. If you are feeling tongue-tied and don’t know how to begin a conversation, this infographic provides helpful phrases to get you started. The detailed advice will guide you in talking to those whose beliefs are fueled by misinformation. It will help you keep the focus on how to converse in a productive, non-confrontational way and how to help your loved ones seek credible information and sources.

Remember, we all can benefit from resources and support to better understand the misinformation landscape, and we have a responsibility to help prevent others from being harmed by it. Communicating effectively with those who believe in misinformation and disinformation -- whether simple falsehoods, manipulated or fabricated content, doctored photos and videos, or outright conspiracy theories -- is a significant step toward doing just that.

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