Dear Blake,

My mom has succumbed to fake news. She frequently shares outlandish information with me that she is passing off as fact.

Sure enough, when I look it up, it is usually related to some sort of internet hoax or misinformation. I think she’s spending way too much time on social media, and I feel concerned for her.

How can I politely handle this? I have tried letting some pieces of “data” pass by, and actually challenging only a fraction of the claims she makes, or by selecting only the most serious or concerning (e.g., those related to inaccurate reasons not to get the coronavirus vaccine).

In these instances, I will verbally note confusion about the statement she made, then send her a link to a reliable website that debunks the theory. But I also imagine that could get annoying for her. Any recommendations?

Signed, Mario
From Miami, Florida

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Dear Mario,

It appears that your mother is very gullible. I suggest you use that vulnerability against her, even if you have to push her to the bring of madness. This what I advise. Start acting like you’re following the news, and then relay any one the following “stories” to her. If she ever needs you to come over house to help her do anything, tell her you don’t want to come in that area, because you saw on the internet, that several unicorns have stabbed people to death in her neighborhood. Or you can allege you saw on the internet that the oceans are rising 50 feet per day, America is going to be underwater soon, and then badger her nonstop to sell her house, or trade it in for a canoe. Or this one. Tell her you learned on the internet how to communicate with dead people, and then ramble on how much your mother’s deceased friends and relatives regularly tell you how much they can’t stand her. Lastly, tell her you learned from the internet on how to build a time machine, and you went three years into the future. Then inform her you learned that if she doesn’t stop getting on the internet, your dad is going to leave for another woman. And when your mother asks, how she responded when she found out, tell her the judge said she would be up for parole in 2062. I hope this helps.

Blake

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