Rumours- these are mostly a currently circulating story or a report of uncertain or doubtful truth. They are often spread for fun or to create anticipation among the people in the society and sometimes spread to create hate on a person or a group of people. Accordingly, rumours are of four different types:
- Wish rumours
- Fear rumours
- Aggressive rumours
- Anticipatory rumours
Wish rumours are the type of rumours that are often spread for fun according to one person’s wish. Fear rumours are rumours that are spread out of fear of a single person or a society. Aggressive rumours are the ones that are most harmful because they are created by a person or group of people called the rumour monger(s) due to their anger on a particular person or group of people. These rumours can cause various issues, and they will be discussed later in this article. The last type of rumours is anticipatory rumours. These are concocted to create anticipation among people. All these types of rumours will affect someone in some way. Even if we create a rumour for fun, due to its characteristics, it will spread quickly among a large number of people.
The three main characteristics of rumours are, they spread fast via word of mouth, they usually provide wrong or irrelevant information about a particular, and they express or gratify the emotional needs of society.
Let us move on to the way rumours are spread. A well-known thing to the present society is COVID-19. How is this coronavirus spread? When a person with the infection meets a healthy person, the virus is spread to the healthy person, and they become an infected patient. Not only will they become a patient, the person they meet and interact with next is also infected. This process keeps on moving like a chain. Rumours are spread within the society in the same way. A monger who creates a rumour talks about it to a person, and then that person speaks about the same thing to another, and this process too goes on. In the twenty-first century, we are all connected not only physically but also through the internet and social media. This is a major advantage for mongers, who can transmit rumours lightning-fast through a vast population.
Next, let us talk about the effects and disadvantages of rumours. Once rumours are spread about a particular person and a set of people are created against that person, it may destroy their self-confidence and self-esteem. According to the Medicinal Journal of Physiology, rumours create anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and even suicidal thoughts as they affect some people in a very harsh manner. A person may create a rumour for fun, but it may spread quickly and even be a reason for a life to end. These rumours can also create social problems by spreading false information about ethnic groups or certain societies.
Rumours are harmful, and they can cause major conflicts among people, religions, ethnic groups, and societies. Therefore, the spreading of rumours should be prevented for the well-being of both the people and the society.
Written by: Rtr. Atchaya Sethuramu
Edited by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi