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Panic spreads fear especially on social media, local doctor says

March 14, 2020
KXAN Austin
Dr. Allison Chase was on an KXAN Austins morning show discussing social media during the coronavirus outbreak, and how to talk to kids about COVID-19.  (Video)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — You’ve probably have seen the long lines at the grocery store with people buying cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

“CDC is not recommending anybody go out there and get toilet paper or some other things,” said Dr. Allison Chase, a psychologist at Insight Behavioral Health in Austin. She says panicking can be contagious and spread faster than the actual virus — especially with social media.

“What happens is we start to take all that information that gets created and thrown out there and start to run with it.” Dr. Chase said.

“That’s why we need to be so careful with social media when it becomes so easy to get looped in to whatever information is out there as opposed to what the facts are. We are going to end up getting ourselves in a bind,” she said.

Dr. Chase also suggests talking to your children to ease their anxiety.

“Our kids are the best indication of how much information they want and what they can handle.”

She recommends keeping the conversation simple and answering their questions.

“You don’t need to give them more information if they don’t ask,” she said. “You don’t need to mitigate our own anxiety by wondering all these things we think they’re wondering about. They’ll tell us. Your six-year-old well probably look at you and say, ‘Thanks can I go play now?’ Your 16-year-old may have some more questions, and you should answer them appropriately.”

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