Clickbait: Harmful to Mental Health?
Posted on 16th February 2022
Clickbait is a deceptive advertising strategy used online in order to get more clicks and views on videos or articles. Usually the headlines will be shocking and sometimes misleading in order to 'bait' click throughs.
We've all had the experience of clicking on to an online video and it not being what the title or thumbnail suggested. This is clickbait.
Clickbait is a possibly misleading headline or a thumbnail link that is designed to attract attention and to entice users to follow that link and read, view, or listen to content.
The headline is too good to be true and sensationalist
You don't recognise the author of the content - check the source of the link
Overused dramatic phrases e.g. "What Happens Next Will Shock You" or "You Will Not Believe"
Outrageous images used for thumbnails
The Dangers of Clickbait
Whilst you may think that clickbait is relatively harmless, in that it causes just seconds of minor frustration, you would be wrong. Clicking on the wrong link can leave our devices vulnerable to viruses and malware. Clickbait can also spread misinformation. When it is used along with the creation of fake news, the outrageous fake headlines stoke the emotions of readers, who then spread the content on social media.
In terms of mental health, clickbait can be harmful in a number of ways, including:
Titles which claim their article or video will 'cure' mental health problems
Use of the words "Crazy' , 'Gone Mad' or "Psycho" contribute and drive stigma and negative stereotypes about mental illness
Constantly clicking on clickbait can be a good indication that you are looking for distraction from something that needs dealing with
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