Teen Combats COVID Misinformation with ‘Easy Explanations’

Athens Drive Magnet High School 10th-grader Erika Chan creates infographics for social media called ‘Easy Explanations’ to answer basic questions about COVID.

The threat of COVID-19 to public health makes the availability of reliable information — and debunking misinformation — crucial to slowing the spread of the virus.

As the world learns more about the pandemic, Athens Drive Magnet High School 10th-grader Erika Chan is creating digestible infographics for social media called ‘Easy Explanations’ to answer basic questions about the virus.

The goal of ‘Easy Explanations’ is to help others her age better understand the virus and combat what some researchers are calling an ‘info-demic,’ which has amplified conspiracy theories and other bad information.

“Any type of misinformation could cause harm, like people not wearing their mask,” Chan said. “That is what is partly causing this pandemic to not come to an end.”

With an interest in becoming a scientific or medical researcher, Chan, along with help from her father, came up with the idea over the summer to research basic questions about COVID-19. Chan started turning this research into infographics, which were initially posted only on Instagram. Then she expanded the project onto Twitter, a website and published in the Athens Drive student newspaper.

Though the information can be found on a variety of platforms, Chan prioritizes the Instragram account, which has more than 200 followers.

“The goal for the Instagram is to reach people because it wouldn’t be of any use if I just kept them to myself,” Chan said. “The infographics, the drawings and all of it is supposed to help educate. My target audience would be younger people, like teenagers, so I added pictures and comics and stuff to grab their attention.”

So far, Chan has covered topics like why it’s important to wear a mask over your nose, information about the COVID-19 vaccines and other topics. For each post, she researches the topic from reliable scientific sources and writes down her findings. Then, over a process of revisions, she hones down the most important information into a five sentence or less concise summary.

As long as the pandemic goes on, Chan has plenty of material for COVID-themed posts. Eventually, though, she would also like to tackle other basic scientific misconceptions, too.

At Athens Drive, Chan is also a member of the National Art Honor Society, Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and she’s a member of the swim team.

Find her infographics @Easy_Explanations on Instagram, @Easy_Explanations_1 on Twitter and at sites.google.com/view/easy-explanations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *