The May 16 article “Understanding the need to shame someone on social media” was an interesting topic for me.

I understand that some netizens called the “self-restraint police” feel stressed and irritated with confined daily life during the COVID-19 crisis. It is natural that their frustrations can sometimes focus on others, those who don’t follow the recommendations by the government. However, no legal restrictions are specified in the official suggestions, as shown in the article. Actually, it is rather difficult for everyone to exhibit model behavior at all times.

Why then do these amateur police point out others’ wrongdoings online, under anonymity? Online activities are well-suited for introverted, shy Japanese users. Maybe they’re addicted to the digital world, and maybe they’re becoming addicted to shaming others, which might bring them more self-satisfaction. However, they are not so influential, because most of us are satisfied with the information provided by the mass media.

As another reason, the self-restraint police might suffer from anxiety or other mental disorders, consciously or unconsciously, which would trigger their blasts against others. To ease these negative feelings, they will need expert advice. Fortunately, there are counseling opportunities via phone or the internet, so they need to make the best use of them.

It’s now time to think about how to live with the coronavirus, a formidable, lethal enemy, so we don’t have any leeway to argue among each other. What we need is to share our situations, not shame each other, since everyone would like to survive in a much better society.

Mieko Okabe

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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