Online Shaming: Finding the Middle Ground Between Accountability and Empathy

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The internet indeed gives people the freedom to express themselves. However, on most days, this liberty is often misused. Online shaming has become a major issue in the digital space today. On one hand, it might hold people accountable for their actions and words. Meanwhile, it can also turn into a form of systemic bullying with the potential of ostracizing individuals from the online and even physical community.

Digital shaming is a complex topic sprouting a lot of online discourse. It has become so prevalent and woven between prejudicial talks like hate speech and cancel culture. On the internet today, it’s almost like there’s no room for forgiveness, understanding, or tolerance. Regardless of who you are, the internet has a way of meting judgments on those it deems as “lawbreakers.” Sadly, in this case, public shaming is the go-to method for calling people out on their mistakes and inadequacies.

But here’s the question: Is online shaming the right way to handle these situations? Does it achieve its intended objectives as some might argue?

Many people support the idea of calling out others online. The belief is that it’s necessary to hold people accountable for their actions and make sure they face the consequences. Some may even pitch the claim that it ensures a safer and more responsible virtual society.

On the flip side, online shaming often goes overboard. It can quickly turn into a witch hunt, where people are deliberately attacked and misunderstood. Sometimes even for minor offenses. The aftermath of this translates to severe consequences for victims. Mental health issues, job loss, or even threats to their safety and that of their loved ones are potential downsides.

For unlucky victims, employers may stumble upon past controversies during background checks, and their reputations can be tarnished immeasurably.

Therefore, there is the question of ethical concerns about whether the punishment directly matches the offense. Especially when considering the potential impact of digital shaming on mental health and livelihoods.

Which way to go?

In the pursuit of change, it’s important to consider the impact of online shaming on targeted persons. We should keep in mind that just like we mature physically, people also outgrow their naive thoughts and actions. For this reason, we should be permissible and learn to take things in stride.

The best way to go is to find a middle ground between holding people accountable and being accommodating. Instead of resorting to public shaming, we could focus on educating and engaging in constructive dialogues that prompt growth and change.

One certain thing is that the internet is a powerful tool. As users, it’s up to us to shape its culture. We should aim to create an online community that encourages kindness, empathy, and understanding, rather than piling on and exerting judgment. It’s crucial to remember that behind the harmless screen, there’s a human with real feelings and vulnerabilities.

Do you have any thoughts on online shaming? Or do you think there’s a better way to address issues and hold people accountable virtually?

Share your opinion in the comments.

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