In the wake of the Amos Yee video, we observed that many people contributed the following:
– Criticizing his appearance and his character
– Even his parents were criticized for “not bringing him up properly”
– There were many comments that threatened harm and hurled abuse at him
– Others criticized him for his vulgarities, and the timing of his video (disrespectful amidst a major outpouring of grief)
– Some people supported Amos’s right to express his opinion however he wants
Here are a few tips for how we can all show respect and responsibility online.
1. If we have a view or opinion to express, the reality is that we need to say it in a way that would be acceptable to people. How and when we make our point is important.
2. If we disagree with other people, we don’t have to insult and make personal attacks. Being emotional doesn’t solve anything and only makes things worse. We shouldn’t be insulting their family and friends too.
3. We certainly shouldn’t be threatening harm and abuse against people we disagree with, as that is unbecoming of a civilized society (making threats is also against the law).
4. If we disagree, focus on the argument, not the person. We can put across our arguments in a civil and rational way. For eg. we can debate rationally about whether freedom of speech without responsibility is good or bad. Agree to disagree, but respect people.
5. So many people were caught up in their emotions that many did not think critically about the data that Amos used in his video. The data is selective and inaccurate. If we wanted to set Amos straight, we could have pointed this out in a logical argument, not criticize him for expressing his opinion.
6. We should all be aware of our personal biases. Before we conclude whether we want to agree with someone’s views or not, it’s always good practice to think critically about the logic of their arguments, and the credibility of their data, rather than accept anything at face value. Make informed choices by being discerning.
Let’s create a better internet together – whether we are expressing our opinions, commenting on someone else’s view or interacting with another person. Online is just like offline, but the impact and consequences to society and to self are amplified online, whether good or bad. #betterinternetsg