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Not all things should be Googled

Written by 'Sola Fagorusi
~PUNCH Nigeria. Tuesday, July 19, 2016

'Sola Fagorusi
Fatima dislocated her left shoulder while getting dressed. She was in excruciating pain, but not enough pain to make her forget her state of undress, which would be extremely embarrassing if she were to raise the alarm. She glimpsed her phone, which was lying on her bed and quickly used her right hand to quickly type "how to fix a dislocated shoulder" on her Google search bar, and followed the instructions.

She was able to solve her problem without any embarrassment. She went for a check-up after getting dressed to ensure that every part of her body was in good position.

Google has become a part of our lives, and has seen us through minute-to-minute aspects of our daily living. People solve many of their problems with Google. People have improved their cooking, housekeeping, grooming skills and a million other skills with Google. It defines words as well as explains things. It gives detailed examples, numerous views and puts things in contexts. Many arguments these days end as soon as they begin because people automatically turn to Google. "Let's Google it" is one of the most popular statements all over the world.

Google maps are in use not only to find locations, but also to find distances and decide whether certain trips are worth it or not. Not just location or every aspect, we can use Google to research an entire trip.

Google translate has saved a lot of businesses and relationships. It has contributed in making the world even smaller. Language is no longer a barrier; we have Google translate.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to cheat in business because we can always check things on Google, even the prospective business partner's past. With Google converter, everybody has the exact and relevant details at any time.

Of course, with all great things that help people immensely, the possibility of great harm to people is also great.

Linda, a tailoring apprentice, was not feeling well. She had many ailments like fever, fatigue, swollen feet, and diarrhoea. She was also losing a lot of weight. Linda did not go to the hospital for a check-up. Instead, she turned to Google and discovered that she was most likely HIV-positive. She was devastated as one can well imagine.

She lived with this dread for a few weeks, losing even more weight until she confided in a friend about her HIV status. The friend was sympathetic and started to counsel her. During the counselling, he discovered that Linda never even got herself tested. He took her to a lab and she got a proper blood test. The result came back negative for HIV. So, he insisted that she visited a hospital for proper check-up and diagnoses. She was so happy and relieved that she agreed. After a thorough check-up, the result showed that she was fine except that her body was simply trying to adjust to her new vigorous lifestyle as a tailor where she uses the foot peddle of a sewing machine all day.

Matters of the health should never be left to Google to decide. One can research symptoms on the Internet (even though doctors hate it when we do) but you should always discuss your findings with your doctor. These are people, who went through years of medical training, and should be trusted with issues of health, at least, more that the Internet. Many people have died due to wrong diagnoses on Google. The dangers of self-diagnoses are still alive. An article on Daily Mail online, says that one in four women have misdiagnosed themselves on the Internet. This is alarming. Think of all the destruction to health and possibly even death that the Internet diagnosis has caused. Linda was lucky to have confided in a friend, who helped her out. But think about millions of others, who weren't so lucky.

Another area where people constantly turn to Google for help, which can be dangerous, not as dangerous as health problems, is in relationships. When one types "how to" in Google space bar most of the recommendations have to do with relationships like how to know if he/she loves you, among others. People take this seriously forgetting that Google and the people who write these articles do not know who you are talking about in the piece. All these articles can give are tips and pieces of advice. However, one can try to relate such to their situation without necessarily taking the advice blindly.

As much as we want an easy tool to use in solving all of our problems, we should realise that such a tool does not exist.

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