Familymental healthnews ‘sadfishing’ harming the mental health of children

October 2, 2019by makewellg0

This week The Telegraph posted an article ‘Social media ‘sadfishing’ trend is harming mental health of children and leading to bullying’, HMC report says …

Link to the article – click hereĀ 

What is ‘sadfishing’?

‘Sadfishing’ is when a person posts on social media about an emotional problem or mental health challenge with intent to gain sympathy or attention. This has become popular amongst celebrities who have been accused of doing this to increase the number of likes and shares of followers.

What is the risk for children who follow in the footsteps of these celebrities?

A number of risks have been identified for children:
– a vulnerable child exposing themselves to online criticism can have a negative impact on their already poor self image
– studies have shown that individuals who expose their mental health and emotional challenges are potentially opening themselves to predators/grooming behaviour

Our view

A child may receive positive and encouraging feedback from a ‘sadfishing’ post and perceive this to be a good thing. This is not necessarily so. There is much to be said for vulnerability, especially with the much publicised work of Brene Brown. However, sharing publicly and to people who have not earned the right and trust to hear our inner most thoughts and feelings is not wise. Brene Brown calls this flood lighting. Whereas genuine vulnerability can enhance relationships. Floodlighting can have the opposite impact, creating distrust and disconnection.

In addition, as these posts show, they attract other individuals who are stuck in the same situation, with the same struggles. This may momentarily feel good however, it becomes the blind leading the blind and its a road that leads no-where.

Working through emotional challenges is always best when shared privately with a loving, compassionate and highly skilled professional.

What are your thoughts? leave a comment below ….


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