Catfished

New technology is introduced to society every day. Online dating is something that is on the rise in society. People every day are logging onto sites to find out how many matches they have or how many people looked at their profile. For mature adults these dating websites are okay to use. But sometimes these websites are used by teenagers looking to talk to someone. This is appealing for teenagers because they can feel older while they are talking to someone without their parents knowing.

The recent MTV show “Catfish” is a reality television show based off of people who lie online about their identity and develop a relationship with another person. The directors of the show reach out to both the people in the relationships and help them to finally meet. Most of the time the person is not who they really say they are. This happens too often for teenagers. I believe it’s because they are spending too much time on the internet.

While I was researching the outcomes of teenage online relationships, I found a study that shows how prevalent they are. This study showed that they were not as frequent as the show described them to be.  The sample of children that were studied was 1501 kids, 790 boys and 708 girls. The mean of the children’s ages was 14.14 years old. These children all used the computer frequently which meant more than once a month for the past 6 months. The children went through phone interviews for the scientists to collect the data about their online relationships. Only 14% of the children reported close online friendships and only 2% reported romantic relationships. Girls were more likely to have these relationships than boys.

Faults in the experiment

The study group could have been more controlled. The children should have been slightly older because you do not find 14 year old’s on the internet as much as 17 year old’s. Also the children used in the experiment should have used the internet more than just once a month. A teenager that is in a relationship online would have to use the internet daily to talk to the person.

I think that the show accurately depicts online relationships for people in the early adulthood rather than their teenage years. I was shocked to find an article that claimed that the number of “catfishing” in the united states had jumped from 11% to 42% in recent times. Some articles claim that it is prevalent while others do not. I think it is safe to keep kids away from using the internet for online relationships. Another article that shocked me was a story from a person who pretended to be someone else as they were in an online relationship in her late teenage years. She went on to make 20 fake accounts and was in multiple online relationships. Technology is allowing people to disguise themselves online and form relationships that are completely fake based on a false reality. A lot of people have psychological damage and you can see this when watching the show Catfish.

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Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140197102001148

Shocking Statistics Reveal Just How Common ‘Catfishing’ Might Be

http://www.vice.com/read/confessions-of-a-teenage-catfishing-addict-456

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1 thought on “Catfished

  1. Lucille Laubenstein

    This blog seems to be more an analysis of a paradigm shift than on a scientific question. The last sentence in your blog begins to speak to the psychological impacts of online relationships and catfishing. This is what I would look into to further your blog. Because of the growing amount of catfishing in our culture, as you stated, the damages are too becoming more common. It would be beneficial to look into what those damages might be, and their physiological, and perhaps physical effects.

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