Images should match words on social media safety messages: study

According to a new study, making sure the words match the pictures is important when using social media to encourage people to behave safely and healthily.

After viewing social media posts, parents of young children could better remember safety messages, such as: For example, how a baby can be safely asleep when the pictures in the posts match the messages in the text, the researchers found.

The study appears in the Journal of Health Communication.

“Often times, scientists and safety professionals are not involved in social media decisions for health officials and other organizations, and we end up seeing images that have nothing to do with the safety message, or worse, images that contradict the guidelines,” he said lead author Liz Klein, Associate Professor of Public Health at Ohio State University.

Take the example of safe sleep. The researchers found posts advocating a bumper-free crib for babies, but using the image of an infant in a crib with bumpers.

They saw posts on preventing head injuries with bicycle helmets, illustrated by pictures of children without bicycle helmets.

“In this study we tried to understand how important these mismatches are. Do people get the message even if the picture is wrong? Is the picture really important?” Said Klein.

Their responses came from research using eye-tracking technology to measure young parents’ attention to different spots and subsequent tests to see what they remembered about the safety messages.

When the 150 parents in the study were shown three posts with matching images and text and three more posts with mismatched visual and written messages, they spent much longer on the matching posts – 5.3 seconds compared to the 3.3 seconds that on their eyes lingered the inconsistent contributions.

Furthermore, the matching messages appeared to make a difference in understanding and retrieving security messages. After considering differences in health literacy and social media use among participants, the researchers found that every second of viewing time on matching posts was associated with a 2.8 percent increase in safety knowledge.

“With nearly 70 percent of adults reporting on social media use and many parents using social media and other internet sources to stay updated on injury prevention strategies, social media is a great opportunity to get the news Send Safety and Injury Prevention, “said the study author Lara McKenzie, a senior investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

“As health organizations and public health authorities continue to use social media to share health information with the public, the results of our study underscore the need to ensure that the images and text in social media posts are aligned,” added McKenzie.

Klein said she understands that those who manage social media accounts may be drawn to images that get the most attention. However, when it comes to health and safety, this study suggests that it is more important to make sure that the image and text are sending the same message.

“If you want people to keep their medication out of the reach of children, kids wear their bicycle helmets, or new parents remind them that babies should always sleep on their backs, alone and in a crib – this is where the match comes in Maybe Store They do the flashy stuff and the humorous posts for different purposes, “said Klein.

Klein said the results of this study likely go beyond child safety and extend to any number of health and safety campaigns. However, he added that more work needs to be done to understand how best to harness the power of social media for different types of public health communication.

“We need to be more careful about how we communicate with the people we want to influence with health and safety policies. We can all think better about how we use our social media accounts to contribute to better public health ,” She said.

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