In 2019, when Kendall Jenner spoke of her “debilitating” fight with acne, he received a lot of sympathy and attention from his millions of followers. However, it was short-lived, as everyone soon realized that Instagram posting was a paid guarantee for a skin care brand. This prompted journalist Rebecca Reid to coined the term “sad fishing,” an act of making exaggerated emotional statements online to get the attention, likes, followers, or understanding.
While sad fishing is a much more recent term, the online behavior of sympathy and attention fishing is not new, and most people are familiar with the act, whether they have seen others or have done so. themselves. Remember those who cry selfies, cryptic quotes and emotional stories? Yes, you have it right!
But, every post is made vulnerable Social media an attempt to capture sympathy and attention? The issue is much more complicated! We delve into sad fishing to find out exactly what it means and how to deal with these posts.
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What is sad fishing?
Simply put, sad fishing is a behavioral trend where people share deeply emotional and personal content on social media, to generate sympathy or attention. “It is imperative that we look behind the nomenclature here. Sad fishing carries a connotation of deliberate exaggeration, manipulation of opinion and fabrication of a story that is ultimately detrimental to those who actually publish outside. anguish and wanting to connect with others, ”said therapist Shoma Chakrawarty.
The expert stressed that it is important to recognize that “for every sad fishing post that is a publicity stunt, there may be many more people posting about their very real distress and waiting to be noticed and supported.”
Why do people engage in sad fishing?
People make sad fishing posts on social media, according to Dr. Sugami Ramesh, clinical psychologist and senior consultant, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, because of the easy access of these platforms, unlike the old days. In the digital age, where social media has become an extension of oneself, people tend to express their emotions that otherwise they would not.
Explaining the same, Mimansa Singh Tanwar, clinical psychologist and head of the Fortis school mental health program, Fortis healthcare Ltd, noted: “Little sa Forms of emotional expression have always prevailed and can be seen in some individuals with low self-esteem or lack of skills to cope with deregulation and emotional difficulties. Social media is another means of expressing emotions where one tends to seek validation and to commit oneself to conformity. “
To understand why people engage in sad fishing on social media, it is crucial to determine the age group that is most susceptible. Mental health Experts argue that teens and young adults are more likely to enjoy this behavior online. According to HMC and Digital Awareness UK’s Annual Tech Control Report, troubled young people aged 11-16 seek emotional support online and feel worse when others call them for help. It’s because they belong to the age group that suffers the most loneliness.
Explaining the reason for this, Chakrawarty said, “Teenagers and young adults are going through an intense journey to become themselves. They can often feel that their struggles are incredibly unique and deeply misunderstood by others. Their own stories. of life, along with their pain and loss, can have the proportion of a personal myth that they need to share with the world and receive support.Important mental health challenges such as a difficult family relationshipsreaching an agreement with one’s own identity and finding one’s feet in universities and in the first jobs are also exhausting experiences. “
Is it a mere search for attention?
Maybe not. While many tend to dismiss these posts as “seeking attention” and “capturing sympathy,” there is a possibility that a larger psychological problem is at stake. “To say it’s done to get attention or sympathy would be to stereotype and label behavior in a critical way,” Tanwar said.
He accepted Chakrwarty and said, “What we most often call attention-seeking is nothing more than the response of a struggling human being. We live in an age marked by unprecedented levels of mental agony, social unrest, and a almost collapse of the world as we knew it, in the pandemic. These moments are bound to be reflected in our moods, emotions and life experiences, parts of which are represented on social media as the canvas. ”
As such, it is crucial to look beyond the place and explore the biggest issues: widespread loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, or the overwhelm of relentless and demanding lives that people lead today. “Other challenges, such as problems articulating emotions or finding it difficult to navigate conflict through dialogue, may also appear on raw screens or overly personal content being posted. These cases can often highlight gaps in skills. which still develop in terms of emotions, intimacy, communication, and conflict resolution. Persistent over-sharing is not a test of vulnerability or authenticity. There is, of course, the possibility for people to use social media to validate their struggles and then make a guarantee of a product or a payment association, ”the expert explained.
The risks associated with sad fishing
For attention or help, for whatever reason, the results of sad fishing may not always be favorable. “The disadvantages of sad fishing on social media platforms are the problem of cyberbullying, especially when your posts are real and authentic. For example, teasing or naming people to feel depressed or anxious can make that a previously vulnerable child sinks deeper into depressionthey experience more anxiety or begin to believe that they don’t really count, ”said Dr Pallavi Joshi, a consultant psychologist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi.
Describing it as “counterproductive,” Chakrawarty added, “It’s supposedly a way of asking for support that ultimately leads to questioning the need for the same support. In addition, it’s possible that the support received through sad fishing posts not as robust as real person-to-person benefits. conversations of anguish they have. The neurological benefits of social support are based on its integrity, which can be difficult to establish on social media. ”
He stressed that the addictive nature of the likes on social media is another drawback of sad fishing. “We know enough about the research to predictably link validation with negative publications and more time spent on social media with a greater propensity to depressive symptoms. Part of that has to do with the potential social networks that trigger a cycle of posts seeking validation and that validation that remains empty or transient. “
Tanwar asked people to develop healthy ways to deal with distressing situations: talking to friends and family, participating in activities that bring a sense of calm, and positive feelings or contact a mental health professional if you recognize that emotional reactions are out of your control and the intensity of the anxiety continues to persist.
What parents / guardians can do
The role of parents when it comes to their children’s online behavior cannot be ignored. As such, parents need to monitor their activities on social media to understand what is possible mental anguish they could be passing by and offer them a safe space to discuss the same with you. “It would be best to discuss their problems. Show concern and have a healthy conversation with them. Make the children feel comfortable talking and don’t force them to talk too. Give them space,” Dr. Ramesh said.
According to Dr. Joshi, here are some things you should do as a parent.
* Examine and limit your child’s use of social media.
* Discuss reinforcement issues with yours boy.
* Teach them to take breaks on social media.
* Teach your child that social media is not a real reflection of people’s lives.
* Stimulate physical activity and external interests.
How should you respond to sad fishing messages?
We all come across sad fishing quite regularly on our social media. The question is: should we ignore them or contact the person concerned? Experts clarify.
“A good starting point would be to get in touch directly with the person and ask them how they are after registering with our own ability to listen,” Chakrawarty said. In addition, it is suggested to respond to these posts in an empathic, non-critical manner.
Here are some things you can do.
* If you see a sad post, contact the person via private message, phone call, or in-person discussion.
* Check with your friends and offer them encouraging words.
* Report yours friend that you are watching over them and not the judges.
* Encourage a friend to seek solace if they feel vulnerable.
* Being able to contact online can be empowering for some people. It can help them validate their passions and listen to their voices.
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