Letters To The Editor

"To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift." – Franklin Roosevelt

Covid-19 vaccines and conspiracy theories

As covid-19 spread around the world, conspiracy theories about its origin, severity and prevention followed closely behind. Now attention has turned to vaccines. False claims circulated among anti-vaxxer groups include the theory that covid vaccines are being used to implant microchips in people and that they will alter a person’s DNA. Some people are saying that there is alcohol in it, or pork or other things forbidden in Islam. Some say these vaccines may affect certain parts of the brain. During the initial days of the coronavirus outbreak, an incomprehensible theory about 5G – the next-generation wireless network technology – causing the health crisis made its way to social media platforms. The conspiracy theorists pointed to the installation of 5G towers in Wuhan, China, before the virus outbreak. This theory attempted to link 5G cell phone technologies as being one of the causes of the coronavirus. Another theory asserted that face masks activates a person’s own virus and vaccines are a money-making enterprise that causes medical harm. It also suggested that powerful elites were complicit in the virus outbreak and stands to profit from it. While other conspiracy theorists do not believe in the machinery of the government, and suggest that the vaccine may be used for population control by making people impotent. But the most believed conspiracy theory has been the one about Bill Gates and microchip. The theory suggested that Bill Gates, the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation, had planned to use a potential covid-19 vaccine to implant microchips to monitor the movement of billions of people. But all these theories are totally baseless claims. People should turn a blind eye to them and continue getting their vaccines as such views are being spread in an attempt to discourage people from being vaccinated.

Muhammad Ibad,

Oversharing on social media and mental health

We all know ‘those’ people. They may be in our family. They may be in our circle of friends. I’m talking about the ones who overshare on social media. You know, give you the minute-by-minute detail of their lives and those who post endless selfies. Social media is a place to engage with each other and have fun – share memories, share good times and bad, share experiences. Not share everything short of when you use the restroom. Oversharing on social media has become a problem. People are using platforms as their online diaries, broadcasting their personal grievances and details of their children’s lives for the entire world to see. This oversharing has negative effects on our mental health. FOMO (fear of missing out) has a big effect on oversharing and often a bigger detrimental effect on mental health, it can often lead to extreme dissatisfaction. If you don’t receive the ‘appropriate’ amount of likes and comments users may internalise the belief that they are unpopular or unliked by their peers. The need for validation by others can cause you to share unfavourable or ‘attention-seeking’ posts to gain the attention you aren’t receiving otherwise. Many mental health conditions such as bipolar, depression, or anxiety can also cause oversharing. It can be a way to self gratify when you get attention from like-minded people who encourage you to relish in unhealthy behaviours. If you aren’t receiving validation from those around you about your mental health, you can often turn to the internet to supplement this. But how can one stop oversharing? Figuring out the time and place to overshare, and understanding its effects on your mental health can be a useful activity, but the first step is learning when you overshare and how you can reel it in.

Javeria Zia,