A new study shows that when using social media to promote safe and healthy behaviors, ensuring that words and pictures match are essential.

Researchers have found that after viewing social media posts, young parents are better able to recall safety information, such as how to make babies fall asleep safely when the images in the post are consistent with the information in the text.

The research was published in the “Journal of Health Communication”.

“Many times, scientists and security experts are not involved in social media decisions about health agencies and other organizations. The images we end up seeing have nothing to do with security information, or worse, these images contradict the guidelines.” Lead author Liz · Klein (Liz Klein), associate professor of public health at Ohio State University.

Take safe sleep as an example. Researchers found some posts that advocate the use of images of babies without cribs but with cribs.

They saw posts about preventing head injuries caused by cycling helmets, with photos of children without cycling helmets posted on them.

“In this study, we tried to understand how important the mismatches are-can people understand the message even if the picture is incorrect? Are the pictures really important?” Klein said.

Their answers came from research using eye-tracking technology to assess how much young parents pay attention to various positions, and subsequent tests to understand their recall of safety information.

When the 150 parents in the study saw three sets of posts with matching images and text and the other three sets of posts with mismatched visual and written information, they spent longer -5.3 seconds on matching posts. And their eyes stay on the mismatched position for 3.3 seconds.

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In addition, the matched messages seem to differ in understanding and recalling safety messages. After considering the differences in health literacy and social media use among participants, the researchers found that the safety knowledge score related to the viewing time per second in matching positions increased by 2.8%.

“As nearly 70% of adults report using social media, and many parents use social media and other Internet resources to learn about the latest injury prevention strategies, social media is an excellent opportunity to spread safety and injury prevention information,” the author is located at Lara McKenzie, lead researcher at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the National Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

McKenzie added: “As more health organizations and public health agencies use social media to share health information with the public, our findings highlight the need to ensure consistent images and text in social media posts.”

Klein said she understands that those who manage social media accounts may be attracted to the most attracted images. However, in terms of health and safety, this research shows that it is more important to ensure that images and text send the same information.

“If you want people to keep medicines out of the reach of children, ask your child to wear a bicycle helmet, or let new parents remember that the child should always sleep alone in the crib, and sleep in the crib is to pay attention. Keep eye-catching content and humorous posts in separate places,” Klein said.

Klein said the findings of this study may not be limited to child safety information, but also include any number of health and safety sports. However, he added that there is still a lot of work to be done to understand how to best use the power of social media for different types of public health communication.

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“We need to pay more attention to how we communicate with people trying to influence health and safety guidance. All of us can do better and think about how to use social media accounts to contribute to improving public health,” she said.


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