Have you ever seen content featuring people dancing according to the number of gifts received or showing someone bathing in mud while saying, “Thank you, kind people?” Such content is widespread on social media and has been discussed in the media.
According to research conducted by a team of UGM students on cyber begging, the most common reason people give gifts to online beggars is that the givers care and empathize with what the beggars are going through, considering their well-being.
“They also feel uncomfortable witnessing the negative experiences of online beggars. As a result, they desire to alleviate online beggars’ physical or psychological burden,” said team leader Safa Nur’aini Yunisa Wijayanti on Thursday (November 16).
Although there is nothing wrong with helping each other, the impact of the gifts given only partially alleviates the problems of online beggars. The team found patterns of behavior involving coercion, seeking profit, and repetition that occur between online beggars and gift-givers.
“In other words, by giving gifts, we may not necessarily be helping those we sympathize with. Instead, we may create a cycle of poverty that will be increasingly difficult to break. Therefore, let’s be wise in social media. Actions that we think are good may not necessarily be good for others,” she said.
According to Wijayanti, her team also found a boomerang effect from the acts of helping each other on social media, which is touted as something always positive. Yet, the given impact is the opposite, encouraging beggars and gift-givers to do the same repeatedly.
“In the context of begging online, this helping behavior is not always good; it can stimulate online beggars to do the same thing repeatedly,” she said.
“If allowed to continue, these patterns will cause many negative impacts, one of which is the emergence of a cycle of poverty. Therefore, helping behavior towards online beggars must be addressed with solutions and a way out.”
Currently, the Cyber Begging team, supervised by Dr. Aprilia Firmonasari, with members Safa Nur’aini Yunisa Wijayanti, Carissa Andis Wiyatno Putri, Aqilurrachman Abdul Charitz, Dyahayu Sekar Anggraini, and R. A. Haru Veda Gautama, has compiled a policy brief to be proposed to the Ministry of Communication and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
According to Wijayanti, the input from the policy brief they offer is expected to provide considerations for policies to address the issue of the recent proliferation of online begging on social media.
Author: Gusti Grehenson