#StayAtHome: Journals by children amid the COVID-19 pandemic - Blog 6

A special mini-series written by children for children

Sebastian - Children's Board
06 April 2020

How to shed light and see the end of the tunnel of alarmist or fake news about COVID-19? How to get to trustworthy information, so you can protect yourself and your loved ones, without allowing yourself to be taken over by the panic disseminated on and offline, and feel confident in your responsible behavior?

This is now a challenge for many of us.

We have received some thoughts and suggestions from Sebi, member of the Children’s Board. Thank you for a new blog!

Have a pleasant reading!   

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We are now all aware of the topic present in all media, from social to mass media, namely COVID-19. Each and every TV station is now talking about this new virus, every newspaper and radio station is approaching this topic, informing us of the killing impact that this virus has on humans and humankind, more precisely, portraying it as the “killer virus”, whilst, in other situations, going into the other extreme: “this virus is merely a cold”.

Since this topic has become extremely popular and receives attention from the entire population, many people voice their opinions and the more extreme views stand out. Some people often trust what they see popping up more often on their screens. I’m not saying that opinions are right or wrong, but when not substantiated by examples, statistics and other information, I believe that such aggressively publicised extreme views are harmful. Why? Because in such situations it is even more important than usual to stabilise public perception, so we might avoid panic and hysteria. The media has the duty to inform the public correctly, thus contributing to the development of that healthy public perception. Why? Because, if the public is misinformed, we will see, for instance, people panic and buy lots of masks, believing that they protect against the virus, yet fail to wash and disinfect their hands with water and soap or alcohol. Eventually, people end disconnecting from the reality, wasting time, energy and money on such things. This is where misinformation leads, a place where people can inflict on themselves more harm than the virus could.

Sebastian attends a Children's Board workshop.
UNICEF/Norbert Fodor
Sebastian attends a Children's Board workshop.

If we are to be responsible, I recommend that we permanently ask ourselves the question “WHY?”

Sebastian, 16, Pitești

The solution is to access information from trustworthy and official sources when we want to form an opinion. Rather than read every article on the Internet, we’d be better advised to follow the World Health Organization, interviews with leaders and heads of states and of specialized entities that, along the time, have demonstrated trustworthiness and lack of bias. Thus, based on a set of accurate information, we may decide upon and understand the COVID-19 phenomenon. At the same time, it is our duty as citizens to be responsible, stay at home when so recommended by the government and not come into contact with others when we have symptoms of the virus. If we are to be responsible, I recommend that we permanently ask ourselves the question “WHY?”, because this is how we may understand correctly why our rights to education, movement etc. are now limited, so that, at the end of the day, we might know WHAT to do.