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Social Media and Vaccines

There are some concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines. Some of these concerns are legitimate (myocarditis in young men) and some are based on conspiracy theories that are demonstrably nonsense (tracking chips in the vaccine, or its supposed links to Satan).

The myocarditis one is particularly interesting and, unfortunately, provides fuel to the blanket anti-vaxxers who are responsible for recent outbreaks of the previously-controlled, measles, and the current continuation of the global pandemic which has cost 1/500 Americans their lives. As a result of this data, the UK has recommended that younger patients only receive one dose of the vaccine. The American silence on this matter has caused some people to raise larger concerns about the independence of the US regulatory bodies from US-based and multi-national vaccine companies. These concerns cannot be dismissed out of hand, but the existence of multiple regulators in multiple countries all saying largely the same thing should allay the concerns of anyone who has ever travelled outside the USA.

Overall, the risks associated with the vaccine are so significantly lower than the symptoms of COVID-19, that vaccination is the sensible choice. Psychology research has shown us that humans are poor at making appropriate risk assessments, not only because of reasoning biases, but also because of decision-making systems that evolved for a very different risk environment. In addition, the average young adult – even up to 30 years of age – has even worse risk assessment capabilities than the average.


This is obvious when the risks of the vaccine are compared with the risks of using social media. Instagram’s own research – research they were willing to share, because Facebook, Instagram’s parent organization is famous for not being open about research outcomes – shows that more than 1 in 5 young users of their platform suffer mental health problems as a result of use of Instagram. This is a massive number – a number that should make all conscientious parents restrict their children’s use.

Actually, if you were allowing your child to do things that damage their mental health in many other ways, you would be subject to investigation by child protective services. But

  • because it’s new,
  • because the research is largely proprietary, and
  • because the law is slow, plodding, and has massive inertia

there is no cultural agreement that Social Media should be banned, curtailed, or treated like a brain-affecting drug.

Never mind vaccines, if you’re concerned about your children’s health, you should be blocking,,,, and any other social media URLs you can think of.

Published inCopyCultureSociety

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