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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Daily Lessons from Life 10 November 2015 - Naming and shaming online: Civic duty, or cyber bullying?

"Naming and shaming online: Civic duty, or cyber bullying? - CNA 10 Nov 2015

SINGAPORE: Experts are seeing more cases of netizens posting on social media when they encounter unacceptable behaviour.

In October, a photo of a man who refused to give up his priority seat on the train was shared thousands of times. But is naming and shaming online a civic duty or cyber bullying, and can it help us build a more gracious society?
Acts of kindness have gone viral with smartphones, social media accounts and a sense of justice - but so has behaviour that seemingly falls short.
Members of the public have mixed views when it comes to such online content.

"Sometimes, the photos they post don't present the whole picture ... So no, I don't think they should do it," said a lady Channel NewsAsia approached.

Conversely, Mr Mohamed Faisal, a money changer, said there should be freedom in posting photos on social media. "It's their views. Nothing wrong with that. Let them think that they think, let them talk what they talk."

Mr Henry Tan, CEO of a financial training and systems company, said the approach matters. "When you post on social media, (it's as if) you immediately accuse people of wrongdoing," he said.

Ms Hetty Astika, a sales manager, echoed his thoughts. "If it's to educate people, then I guess it's all right. But if (the intention) is to humiliate, then I think - what's your point? If you're being put in that position, how would you feel?"

Such humiliation - or cyber-shaming - could have a part to play in Singapore's increasingly connected society, giving the public an avenue to debate and decide the kind of behaviour that is and is not acceptable.

But it is not always clear when public reaction goes overboard and cyber-shaming slides into cyber-bullying.

The Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) said such actions could be unfair to the target, especially if not all facts have been taken into consideration.

"We need to keep telling people the consequences of cyberbullying. We don't have the statistics in Singapore, but American statistics show that many people who have been cyberbullied contemplate suicide," said Dr William Wan, General Secretary of SKM.
"In fact, one in 10 cyberbullied persons contemplated suicide and actually attempted suicide. Now that is quite a serious problem. And then there is a problem of causing depression in people, loss of self-esteem, powerlessness, fear, all kinds of psychological consequences. Do you really want to do that?"
Dr Wan added that what is needed is not more legislation and regulation, but courage by the public to put down their phones, and step forward to do the right thing.

"If we really care for the good in society, then you also need to be fair. And to be fair, I think it is best if you can take up courage and step up to help somebody do the right thing, rather than to do the easier thing (by) taking a picture and posting it.""

Interesting topic to ponder over.

1. most of the time, a picture tells an incomplete story. Even a video may not tell ALL the stories when only part of them were viewed. So, RULE NO. 1 for the 'audience' is: Stop jumping to conclusion as you may knock your head and end up with a CONCUSSION!;

2. to intervene or not in a 'bad behaviour' situation has been dealt with many many times before. For me, the rules are fairly simple: a. are you SURE you can handle the 'badly behaving person or persons'? Proceed ONLY if the answer if 'Yes'!;  b. If the answer is: 'No', proceed to ask for the 'proper authority' to intervene. Be around to provide evidence if needed;

3. as for those trigger happy netizen journalists, asked a few more questions before posting would be nice. Or post without been so sure that you are absolutely right. It can be embarrassing if YOUR ACCUSATION is WRONG! Of course, it WILL eat you for the rest of your life IF your wrongful accusation and shaming pushed the 'victims' to the road of no return - suicide! A HEAVY burden to carry for the rest of YOUR life right?

Oh, for those 'victims', such things would last long as people are constantly looking for the next 'badly behaving persons'. So, if you are just 'out-of-character' and basically a WELL behaved person, your family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours will KNOW!

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