You may have heard the term ‘sadfishing’ in the media this week and wondered what it was. This concerning trend is not new, but it does serve as an indicator for the state of young people’s wellbeing online and their attempts to cope.
The term ‘sadfishing’ refers to the act of posting about a personal problem online to gain support or understanding from followers in the form of likes and comments. While there will be some cases where young people will persistently share exaggerated posts to gain sympathy, we need to be cautious with dismissing these behaviours as ‘attention seeking’.
For example, Kendall Jenner recently shared a post about how ‘suffering from acne was debilitating’ for her which was met with both sympathy and controversy.
It’s important that young people are able to talk about how they feel, and some will seek support online from close friends. However, oversharing publicly could be counterproductive for some young people and could make them feel even more vulnerable and overexposed.
If a child in your care engages in so-called “sadfishing” it’s an indication that you need to check in with them and offer some support.