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How People Are Reducing COVID Shaming on Social Media

Survey found most people limit online sharing to avoid judgment from friends.

Source: Pexels

In a digital world where people of all ages typically love to share their meals, activities, and even their relationships on their social networks—we are finally witnessing a time when they realize less is probably safer.

With a rise in pandemic shaming, a new survey shows people are keeping their lives private on social media.

In a recent Evite Poll, results found that 54 percent said they plan to keep their socializing a secret during this time—and refrain from posting on their social platforms at times they normally would.

The cost of COVID shaming

Since the pandemic started, we have seen public shaming take on a new life. Whether you were caught in the grocery store with too much toilet paper, or maybe you weren't social distancing or were tagged for not wearing a mask, the cost of digital disgrace can impact your future.

In a society of aim and shame, people are finally realizing that what they do offline (especially in public) can have an impact on their future. During this stressful time, many are quick to judge and slow to consider before they use their keypads to ruin someone's life online.

Today, during COVID shaming while anxieties are high and tempers fly, your misstep could land you being targeted as a "Karen." Sadly, the name Karen has become associated with people who are rude, entitled, and simply mean—and the worst part is that you will go viral, and not in a positive way.


If you're someone that lost their job and/or will be applying for employment, an online reputation is crucial. Seventy percent of employers use social media to screen a candidate before they consider them as an applicant. The internet can be unforgiving to digital blunders and COVID shaming attacks.


One of the most disheartening effects of the COVID pandemic is when we have seen neighbors policing neighbors.

There are many relationships that are being tried and torn apart due to social shaming and outright cruelty to each other. Your idea of social responsibility might be different than your friend's.

If you see your neighbor posting their travels or attending large gatherings, is it your place to become judge and jury of their choices? Instead, we can make our choice to be mindful not to attend events with them temporarily.

At the end of this pandemic, there will be many fractured friendships and relationships to rebuild; let's try to limit the damage.

Growing up shared

New parents waste no time sharing birth announcements online, while their baby has a digital footprint before they can walk. We live in a culture of sharing status updates and checking in on social platforms regularly.

How can we take it back a few notches to share smarter, especially during a time when people are frustrated, angry, and have become extremely judgmental?

Stacey Steinberg, author of the new book Growing Up Shared (Sourcebooks, 2020), explains what we can do to not only keep ourselves safer in today's digital world from being shamed, but also protect our family in a no-privacy world.

"The power of our voices can be strong in the face of crisis, and sometimes frustration and even anger at individuals who are taking unnecessary risks are appropriate emotions to use when advocating for online."

Steinberg suggests three ways to share smarter:

1. Wait to share. Don't share while the moment is still happening. Don't even think about sharing until the moment has passed, and you've shifted gears entirely.

2. Step away from the feedback loop. Sometimes, it is helpful to consider your motivations for sharing. Is it because you want feedback, or is it for yourself?

3. Know your audience. Parents (especially) should keep in mind that even if they share privately, people can download and re-share information posted online. If you wouldn’t be comfortable with everyone seeing a picture or hearing a story, leave it off social media and text it to a few close family members and friends instead.

Steinberg also reminds us, when we do choose to share or post about people we care about, we consider the potential impact of our actions.


Evite Survey, July 2020

Growing Up Shared, Sourcebooks (2020)

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