Tragic incidents take place every single day, whether it's a case of bullying, sexual harassment in a public space, or an unfortunate car accident.
In an era where mobile phone cameras have given people the ability to connect and communicate with the world in a way that was never possible before, many are making the choice to film incidents they witness, in order to share them online.
Once shared, images and videos of those tragedies are often viewed by millions. It goes without saying that by watching those hardships online, many individuals are contributing to the suffering of the victims.
However, not everyone reacts to these situations in the same way.
We asked a few people in the UAE what they would do if they were to ever witness a tragic incident and how ethical they think it is when people watch footage of the pain of others online. Here's what they told us:
1. "If I find that I can do anything to help out, I will"
When asked what she would do if she were to witness a tragic incident unfold right before her eyes, Shaima, a 22-year-old Emirati student, said:
"I've thankfully never witnessed anything of the sort, but I honestly think that if I ever was to face something like that I would want to take positive action."
"To be honest, I'll first evaluate the situation just to make sure it's safe to get involved and if I find that I can do anything to help out, I will."
2. "I am not so sure what I'd do, it depends on the situation"
Ahmad, a UAE-based banker, said he isn't sure how he'd react if he was ever to witness an accident or unfortunate event take place.
"I am not so sure what I'd do, it depends on the situation. If it's someone being beaten or attacked, I probably wouldn't get involved. I'd rather call authorities or report the incident. If it's a car accident and I can actually help save someone, or help them in one way or another, I think I would."
When asked if he would use his mobile phone camera to film an incident he comes to witness, he explained:
"I would never even consider doing that and I think it's a horrible thing to do. I truly don't get people who would film someone when they're going through a horrible situation, I mean if you can't help or don't want to get involved, just walk away."
3. "I wouldn't get involved"
Reema, a Dubai-based entrepreneur, said she would prefer not to get involved in an incident if she were to witness it happen.
"I don't think it's my place to get involved, there are people trained to deal with such situations. Whether it's a car accident, or any other incident, I wouldn't even stand there to watch, I would just walk away," she explained.
"The maximum I would do is call authorities to report the incident. After that I would get out of the way," she added.
4. "I would film it to provide evidence to authorities"
Abu Dhabi based engineer, Omar, explained that if he were to witness a tragic incident take place in front of him, he would act depending on the situation.
"I know I would take action, no matter what it is, I'll try to do what I think is best," he said.
"If it's an accident and someone is injured, I would help them out, I'd also call emergency services. If it's a fight or incident where someone is violating the law, I would film it to provide evidence to authorities."
When asked if he would upload footage of similar incidents to social media, Omar said he would not.
"I respect people's privacy, even if they're doing something wrong or against the law, it's not my place to share their actions with the public, but rather with authorities who can actually do something about it."
5. "If it doesn't involve anyone's death, I'd film and share it"
Khaled, a Dubai-based teenager, said if he witnessed a tragic incident that doesn't involve death, he would film and post it online.
"If it doesn't involve anyone's death, I'd film and share it, I don't see anything wrong with that. It could end up going viral and actually help people in some way," he explained.
When asked why he would choose to film instead of taking other more positive forms of action, the teen said:
"I think filming a tragic event can be a positive thing, it's not always negative. If we're going to be honest, sometimes when you witness these things, you're too scared to get involved and the only thing you can do is try to document them and share in the hope that it makes a difference."
"The most important thing is to be sensitive towards people's privacy and to think before you share footage online, if it's not going to affect a victim negatively, then why not share it."
6. "I think it's simply wrong and unethical to watch other people suffer"
Amna, an Abu Dhabi-based mother of two, said she tries her hardest to prevent her children from watching harmful content on the internet.
"I try to educate my children on how to responsibly use social media. Our internet provider also set up a parental lock for us, which means that we can monitor which type of content our children watch and share online."
"I think it's simply wrong and unethical to watch other people suffer. God forbid, but if something like this was to ever happen to my family, I wouldn't want to see the faces of my friends and family plastered all over social media."
Always remember to #PostWisely
The time we live in now is a strange one. A time governed by social media. A time where people are consumed by getting likes, shares, and fans in pursuit of making their social media profiles more interesting.
Unfortunately, this has led to a trend and a pattern of behavior that is irresponsible and shocking. In order to boost their online presence, people have started posting videos and photos of accidents, fights, and other unfortunate incidents, online.
We therefore urge you, the next time you chance upon someone who is in an unfortunate situation, however big or small, ask yourself first, if it was your pain, would you share it? #PostWisely