‘Sadfishing’ The New Coping Mechanism For Social Media Users
You ok hun?
‘Sadfishing’ is the new social media phenomenon, where users are sharing their personal feelings (often negative) and frustrations for followers to see. The act is often to gain some form of sympathy from a fellow user or to find comfort in someone who may respond, who’s going through a similar situation. Their performance of upset or distress can often lead into a collection of DM’s from your sometimes closest or furthest gal pals with the slightly awkward yet sincerely caring ‘You ok, hun?’
‘Sadfishing’ sits in the same pool as the phrases ‘body positivity’ or ‘gay pride’ which often act as a support system and community for those who get involved in the same subcultures of their society. But where does the line get drawn on how openly we speak about our issues on social media?
Sharing emotions and personal situations can often expose one’s self to the risk of the wrong reaction. We all know how tempting it is to post relatable, empowering quotes, listening to Lizzo after a breakup… Research from a report from digital wellbeing agency, Digital Awareness UK (DAUK), found that ‘sadfishing’ was a common topic of conversation on social media, with pupils claiming it often has negative effects, leaving the user feeling sad or empty. 50,000 UK pupils were interviewed, between the age of 11 and 15, which resulted in a finding that there is a growing amount of alarming online behavior which remains unnoticed as younger people are more reluctant to confide in adults.
The report found that teens have been bullied as a result of ‘sadfishing’, and DAUK are now concerned that a number of pupils who are bullied as a result of the act could develop serious mental health issues. The trend may not only be damaging to mental health, as safety is an additional concern for users who look vulnerable on social media. “Groomers can also use comments that express a need for emotional support as a platform to connect with young people and gain their trust, only to try and exploit it at a later point.”
From celebs to Gen-z users everyone is guilty of those ‘heart to heart’ posts. Speaking openly on social media about a private issue is often sadly a way to rack up more likes than a good old selfie. However, it seems that a dose of ‘sadfishing’ is becoming our new favourite coping mechanism for the darker days.