Spare a thought for victims before posting videos on social media

I read with sadness about the recent viral video of a man with autism who was filmed performing an obscene act on an MRT train and the heartbreak it caused his mother.

It sparks calls once again for more empathy from the public and reservation over unregulated online vigilantism.

Shaming a person in the court of public opinion is already bad enough. It becomes worse when we are dealing with those with disabilities as they may not understand the consequences of their actions.

We must not forget that in the eyes of outsiders, how we treat our own compatriots becomes a mirror that reflects how we are as a society.

Therefore, as a First World nation, there is nothing for us to be proud of when it becomes the norm for us to post indiscriminate pictures or videos of others on social media for all to see and judge, especially when it involves the less fortunate among us.

In their zealousness to post their prized "capture" for the world to see, perhaps those who do so should spare a thought for the victims as well as their families as it will stigmatise the victims for life and inadvertently lead to them being further ostracised by society.

Those who think there is nothing wrong in doing so should try putting themselves in the shoes of the mother of the man with autism and they will understand the profound embarrassment and excruciating pain that such a video has caused the family.

The correct action would have been to alert the relevant authorities instead of sacrificing him at the altar of social media and leaving him to the merciless flaming of Internet trolls.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2018, with the headline 'Spare a thought for victims before posting videos on social media'. Print Edition | Subscribe