There is lots of information available on the internet, especially social media, and it can be tricky to figure out what you can trust. Here are four tips that can help you sort through the information you find online.
1. Figure out who's giving you the info
Then ask: "what makes this person qualified to give me this information?"
Personal experiences can be really convincing, but if someone doesn't have a degree or background in the topic, it's okay to be a little hesitant.
In particular, look for credentials. If someone's giving out medical info, look for a medical degree (MD) or PhD. If someone's giving fitness advice, look for accredited certifications like personal training certifications.
Quick tip: No professional should be giving you individualized medical advice over the internet.
2. Check the source
Even if someone has credentials, it doesn't always mean you can trust what they say. The next helpful step is to check where the information they're giving you is coming from.
Most trustworthy sources of advice will give you a general idea of where their information came from. Scientific journals, textbooks, government resources, and other well-credentialed professionals are usually good, reliable sources.
And if they won't tell you where they got the info? That's a red flag.
3. Double check the claim or advice
A little extra digging is never a bad idea. Double-check the advice or claim with your own research.
Sometimes a quick Google search can quickly debunk something that seems believable. If the advice is confusing, it can possibly even help clear things up.
4. Watch out for quick fixes, miracle cures, and absolutes
Is someone claiming they have a quick fix for all your ailments? Is the information presented in a dramatic or black-and-white way?
Presenting the information in this way can get someone lots of views, but it might mean they're putting a slight spin on the truth. Give information presented like this a second look before buying in. A lot of times things that sound too good to be true are actually too good to be true.
Quick tip: when it comes to numbers, presentation and context are especially important! Data is very rarely black-and-white.
Hopefully these tips will help you sort through information online! When in doubt, all of the information in TOVI is checked and approved by our team of experts. Download the TOVI app – it's free!