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Health

These 7 Influencers Are Teaming Up to Teach Canadian Teens About COVID-19


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, including Goal 3 for the health and well-being of all. To achieve this goal, it is crucial that we raise awareness about the world’s most pressing health issues — including COVID-19. You can take action and encourage all Canadians to keep safe from the pandemic here.

As the number of COVID-19 infections continues to climb in Quebec and across Canada, authorities are taking decisive action to educate one of the hardest-to-reach audiences — teens.

Working with a team of seven popular Canadian influencers, the Quebec government has crafted a one-of-a-kind awareness-raising campaign harnessing the power of social media to encourage teens to wear masks, Radio-Canada reported.

With a joint Instagram follower count totalling 720,000 people, Emma Verde, Alice Morel-Michaud, Alex L'Abée, Kimberly Denis, Sarah-Maude Beauchesne, Emile Roy, and Marianne Plaisance are using their platforms to share messages and ensure teens do their part in keeping safe from COVID-19.

While most Canadians trust health-related information from official sources, people aged from 13 to 17 typically consume news in a vastly different way. According to a recent survey, Canadian teens heavily rely on YouTube and social media platforms as means of staying abreast of current events. 

“It's a problem that everyone — business and government alike — faces: that of reaching out to young people," UQAM communications professor Bernard Motulsky said. “They’re not as glued to their TVs, and they don't necessarily read news media — even online.”

This means that influencers potentially have the power to shape perceptions for a good cause.

YouTuber Verde agrees, telling Radio-Canada: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, I've felt a sense of responsibility to follow guidelines like everybody else and to lead by example for those who follow me.”

On her Instagram account, the Montrealer shared a picture of herself wearing a mask while encouraging others to do the same.

Others, like Beauchesne, have opted for short captions reminding the need to stay 6-feet apart from others, as per Health Canada’s guidelines.

🔺Allô la gang !🔺 Peut-être que comme moi, tu fais de l’anxiété depuis l’alerte rouge. C’est facile de rester dans sa tête et de se faire de grands scénarios de films épeurants, surtout quand on est confiné comme on l’est. On ne peut pas se donner de câlins. On ne peut pas se réconforter en se flattant le dos. En se partageant un nachos au four. En se faisant des partys pyjama dans le salon. En regardant un film d’amour (genre The Notebook, classique) en sardines sur le divan. Moi, je m’ennuie déjà de mes chums de filles, de leurs rires, de leur parfum, de leur tendresse, je m’ennuie de les coller quand ça feel pas (souvent, je suis hypersensible), de leur faire des queues de poisson, de leur emprunter du linge pour les occasions spéciales. Mais il faut tenir le coup, faire des FaceTimes, s'envoyer des photos de notre chat qui dort, s’écrire des lettres, même ! Garder contact sans se rassembler, surtout. Mais on se prive de toute cette chaleur humaine pour de vraies bonnes raisons. Pour ta santé, celle de ta famille, de tes amis. Pour ton éducation, ton diplôme, tes rêves, ton avenir. Aimons-nous de loin ou à deux mètres. On se serrera dans nos bras de notre plus fort quand le virus sera derrière nous. #pub #maisçavientducoeuraussi

Une publication partagée par Sarah-Maude Beauchesne ✍🏻🍴🦕 (@lesfourchettes) le

This isn’t the first time that the provincial government has partnered with influencers in the fight against COVID-19.

In August, health authorities in British Columbia enlisted several social media personalities following a surge of COVID-19 cases among young people. Athletes and musicians, such as singer-songwriter Coeur de Pirate, also lent a hand to the Legault government to encourage young people to stay home in March.

And while the new campaign has been met with some degree of criticism and that its reach is hard to measure, Verde and others hope that it will at least help lessen the impact of the pandemic on Canadians.

“Honestly, I don't know if it works,” Verde told Radio-Canada. “I'm doing it because I want to make a difference.”

For more information on how teens and young people can contribute to slowing the spread of COVID-19, check out these resources listed on the Government of Canada website. You can also take action here to help keep Canadians healthy and spread the word about the importance of wearing masks.