We should first define the scare tactic. I think that a scare tactic is the use of a lie or deception with the intent to provoke fear of a negative outcome in order to motivate or manipulate behavior.
Many diabetes “scare tactics” aren’t scare tactics, at all.
If one shares a truth, however vague and incomplete, the negative feelings felt by a recipient is not the sharer’s responsibility. If we share a lie, we’re complicit but still not entirely responsible. The burden of responsibility to fall for a lie should still lay at the feet of adult individuals. You can be lied to but you don’t have to accept a lie.
A scare tactic is, in my opinion, something that works best on those who are still mentally developing (children) as well as the naive and gullible who don’t do their own research or lack confidence, and the mentally compromised (whether by retardation or mental illness).
What happens to most people is the information they know of or fear may be true is prodded at and they become emotionally stimulated. Many people lack agency. This includes the ability to take full responsibility for what one chooses to believe and how one reacts to incoming information. If you think you lack agency I suggest taking steps to increase that very adult quality. (I’ve had to do this as an adult so if this is you, you’re not alone).
Just because something is shared with a representative image that lacks context doesn’t mean it is saying what people interpret it to say. That’s one of those logical fallacies people commit all the time. Don’t read further into an image and assign it more meaning than it can possibly provide. You can guess, but how can you be sure if something is too vague? Your interpretation is only giving all of us a window into your perspective. It may be an oversimplification or a symbolic message that leads to more exploration into a topic or idea. Because an image lacks so much context and explanation as opposed to an essay, many interpretations can come out and I think responsible adults need to not make assumptions but instead educate themselves and their children on what is real and true. Simple images can help spur awareness that leads to important discussions and revelations on a topic, that’s why they’re used. You don’t have to like them but saying they’re inherently harmful is totally false.
Every time I see something that scares me, I try to take responsibility for my reaction to it and find out if there is any truth to it and if fear is warranted. This is the only way to really protect ourselves. If I find that fear is a reasonable response, then I figure out what changes I need to consider to benefit myself and my family. I teach my vulnerable young children that they’re not to take anything as truth until they have properly looked into it and spoken to a trustworthy adult about it, first. And I try to act like a trustworthy person so that they’ll always come to me. I also don’t let them run wild on the internet by themselves so that they’re not exposed to words and images they cannot fully comprehend, yet. It’s not your job to take care of my kids or me, it’s my job.
As for those suffering from “scare tactics”, make yourself less vulnerable by educating yourself, toughening up, and then doing what you know you should do to serve yourself well. It seems to me that images that provoke fear due to some underlying truth are most frightening and upsetting to those who know deep down that their actions are not serving them. There is such a thing as well-deserved guilt. It doesn’t have to be detrimental if you use it as a guiding light. I’ve felt guilty plenty of times and used that feeling to guide me towards wiser behavior that improved my health, relationships, and life overall.
Protect those who are truly vulnerable from these images you think are potentially harmful by communicating with them and being someone worth trusting. Protect yourself by owning all that is yours: your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You’re in control and only you decide if you’re a victim or not.