Insensitivity on Social Media – The Annapurna Express

Losing a loved one is traumatic enough. It’s something you will never forget. You don’t need reminders about it. But social media often pulls you back to the day you would erase it from your mind if you could. People are taking photos and videos of funerals — zooming in on the dead, the tear-stained faces of families, and the lighting of the funeral pyre — and posting them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, among other online platforms.

Given how we document every aspect of our lives on social media, from our vacations to our lunches, it’s no surprise that funerals are now making their way into this mix. However, most people ApEx spoke to shuddered at the thought of funeral photos. They said it was disrespectful and terrifying. Some asked why anyone would want to remember such a sad moment.

Madalasha Karki, the granddaughter of Nepalese songwriter and filmmaker Chetan Karki, says taking photos or videos of a private moment without permission should be a crime punishable by law. Aside from being a blatant violation of human rights, it has far-reaching implications. Almost two years after her grandfather died from Covid, Karki breaks down while discussing how a relative posted live video of the funeral.

Her grandfather, she says, was a proud man. He wouldn’t even tell his wife, Karki’s grandmother, if he felt uncomfortable. He would not have wanted everyone to see him in the state he was in – wrapped in plastic and looking so shriveled – when he was taken to the Pashupati Aryaghat. Madalasha says the man who took the video gave her grandfather the dignified farewell he deserved.

She only found out about the video on day eight of the 13-day ritual. When she confronted him and asked him to take it off, his wife started arguing, calling their ugly names. The couple would not accept their mistake. They didn’t think there was anything wrong with what they were doing. Worse, they didn’t delete the post even when Madalasha’s grandmother asked them to.

READ :  Police seize firearms from Tower-in-the-Park apartment; Teens blackmailed on social media: Berea police desk pad

“This man just wanted to state that he knew my grandfather and went to the funeral,” says Madalasha, adding that the relative did not post anything on social media when his father died. So why was her grandfather given “special treatment”? she asks in a trembling voice. “If it happens to you, it’s a delicate matter. But if it happens to someone else, it’s content,” she says.

Sociologist Chaitanya Mishra says our society has traditionally been a relatively open society, where everyone knows everything about everyone else. People are curious about others. The line between private and public is blurring. The company is currently in a transition phase. It’s about learning new ways of life (using social media is an example of this) without abandoning outdated customs. Mishra says there is no knowledge of the concept of privacy either.

“People used to talk to each other or gossip. News spread slowly and slowly faded from people’s memories. Now they post things on social media. It travels fast and is there forever,” he says. People, he adds, are also unaware of social media etiquette. “Forget social media, a lot of people don’t even know that you should ask permission before taking a picture of someone,” he says.

Mishra believes that it is primarily ignorance that drives insensitive behavior. Humans, flawed as they are, do not intentionally try to be malicious. They just don’t think about what they’re doing, he says. Everyone has a smartphone and clicks on pictures without hesitation.

The internet has actually changed what grief looks like. It’s common to offer condolences on Facebook or tweet about the death of your favorite celebrity. But if you take photos at a funeral (regardless of whether you post them online or not), you run the risk of ruining the celebration of the occasion, especially for the grieving family. Also, capturing people in their most vulnerable moments can lead to long-term stress.

READ :  Ofcom UK / Digital Information World

Dristy Moktan, mental health counselor at Happy Minds, an online mental health and wellbeing platform, says posting funeral pictures on social media is an insensitive thing. It will only traumatize the grieving family and prolong their healing. It’s no use unless you want attention for yourself.

“The problem is that people don’t reflect on their actions. They do what they want without thinking about how it might affect others,” says Moktan. Unless the deceased’s family specifically requests it, it’s best to avoid photos altogether, she adds.

A software engineer who lost his mother when he was 13 says he never wants to remember her final moments at the cremation site. But a boorish relative took photos and videos and over the years kept asking him if he wanted to see them. He wonders why anyone would even want to see something that is indescribably painful and how anyone can be so insensitive as to suggest it.

He agrees with Madalasha when she says that those who love you would never do it to you. It’s the extras who never cared, even though they acted like they were behaving so inappropriately. Madalasha adds that some people feel the need to post every little detail of their lives on social media, from who they met to what they saw. They just don’t care if it hurts others or violates their privacy.

There is nothing inherently wrong with photography. It’s the intention with which you do it that makes it disrespectful. Many just want to show that they have gone to pay their respects, or consider the Aryaghat as a place to meet up with friends and relatives. People also take group photos and post them on Facebook and other social media.

READ :  The Ultimate Flex' - Social media reacts after Kurt Kitayama marks tap-in winning putt

When Mukunda K Khadka, Nepal’s first rock singer with the stage name Mike Khadka, died recently, his friends posed for photos at the funeral and uploaded them to Facebook. The caption read that they were all there for Mike Khadka that morning. Another tribute with photos of Khadka singing ends with a close-up of his body at the stake. If the last photo hadn’t been there, it would have made a nice tribute.

Everything has its place, and the cemetery is not a place for photos, says sociologist Mishra. Part of the reason everyone else seems to be doing it is that no one speaks up or confronts them. They don’t want to ruin the sanctity of the event by doing something that will inevitably lead to a fight. Filled with sadness, people don’t even realize their photos are being taken. When they find out about it later, they are often shocked. It feels like a mockery of her grief.

“Would you spit in the kitchen? Do you have food in the bathroom? The Aryaghat is not a picnic area or a place to pose for photos,” says Madalasha.