We may have all heard the term catfishing, but now another trend called "sadfishing" is flooding the social media.
For the uninitiated, sadfishing is when someone posts something sad or emotional on social media to get attention from their friends/followers. Teens nowadays are emulating this trend, which had often been played up by celebrities and influencers.
If you ever find your child, especially teenager, sadfishing, these are some ways to handle the issue.
1) Share the consequences
The reason why teens post about emotional or sad stuff on their social media is because they expect others to understand and symphatize with them. Deprived of attention at home, they turn online to gain reassurance.
Unfortunately, sadfishing often backfires on the poster, when peopke turn against them instead, accusing them of making stuff up and bullying them. This causes mental stress on he poster, and they end up sadder and even more depressed than what they have portrayed to be earlier.
It is up to adults to reassure youngsters that it is alright to feel down, or depressed at times, but it is not alright to turn online to vent out their feelings. Reassure them that it is okay for them to turn to their parents/elders in the family to speak about their feelings when they are feeling down.
2) Point out the dangers of online predators
In today's wired world, they are always predators looking for vulnerable people, especially youngsters online, to manipulate or groom. Often, these predators reach out to teens who have written a sad or emotional post, and pretend to give them attention and try and gain their trust.
It is wise for parents to be on the same mobile apps their kids are using, as that way, they would know what their younger one is doing and talking to.
3) Ascertain if it's reel or real
It is easy to dismiss all emotional or sad posts by teens online as a way to seek attention, but there are times that such posts are a genuine cry for help. Observe your children's behaviour at home, and his/her behaviour matches that of the online persona, then it may be a reason for concern. Sit down with your child and try to talk out what their actual problem is. Assure him/her that it is alright for them to speak to you regarding their issue. Do not be judgmental and do not scold them off the bat. If your child feels uncomfortable communicating with you, consider seeking help from a school counselor or therapist.
4) Be in the know
Parents should consistently monitor their children's online habits, as well as in real life. Forsake the punishing mentality and reach out to your child, as how a friend would, if you sense a change in their behaviour.
Children should know, and be constantly reminded that they can always reach out to their parents, rather than to strangers online, if they are feeling down or are undergoing certain issues. Parents should warn their children about the dangers of online predators, oversharing online, and assure that they are the ones the youngster to turn to at any eventuality.
Photos source: The New Indian Express, news.sky.uk, istockphoto.com
Wed May 18 2022
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