KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 – A new report indicates that a new social media trend called sadfishing poses a threat to children’s mental health and allows them to be easily targeted by online groomers.
“DAUK (Digital Awareness UK) is concerned about the number of students who are bullied for sadfishing through comments on social media, on messaging apps or face-to-face, thus exacerbating what could be a serious mental health problem,” said the report commissioned by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference said, as reported by The Telegraph.
“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.”
Sadfishing is a trend where someone posts their emotional problems on their social media accounts in an attempt to create sympathy or drive audience traffic to their site.
DAUK’s new study discovered that young people with genuine mental health issues who look for online support to share their problems are facing unfair and distressing criticism that they are jumping onto the same publicity bandwagon.
The report, which was based on face-to-face interviews with more than 50,000 children aged 11 to 16, further explains that sometimes this can cause damage to their already fragile self-esteem and even result in them becoming more vulnerable to sexual “grooming” online.