According to the article, “Online Identity and the Movie “Catfish”, 12-15 year olds have not personally met 25% of the friends that they make on social media outlets. This statistic averages out to about 72 strangers per child. As bizarre as these numbers may sound, many of us fall guilty of friending people online that we may never have met or have known of every day. Why is it though, that after all of the media attention the movie and TV show “Catfish” has received, people all over the world still fall into the trap of someone who is pretending to be someone they are not online?
He had me at ‘Hello’
Since the early days of MySpace and texting, people in our generation have grown accustomed to using their fingers to tap on buttons in order to generate “real conversation”. When people started using MySpace, it was very easy, and still is to befriend people who we have never interacted with other than an online setting before. This seemed to be the quickest way to “meet new people” and it really might have been the beginning to online dating.
Who is to say that the extremely attractive male model who messaged you complimenting your photo, isn’t some older woman who is bored at home looking for some entertainment? Who are the types of people that Catfish and why do they do it? Couldn’t it be that people who feel lonely and insecure with their lives find it easy to create a new life online? The truth of the matter is, we don’t really know who we are talking to when we first receive a message from someone that is unknown to us. People who are master manipulators are also smooth talkers. They might say everything right on Facebook, but as soon as it gets close to them meeting in a very real setting, many times, it falls through.
Why Do We Buy It?
Even though we see things on the news and watch television shows of people who get totally blind sighted by these so called, “Catfish”, it still happens every day. Like in many other walks of life, people fall under the third-person category. People tend to live under the mantra, “it won’t happen to me” in belief that it actually won’t. This makes it easy for people to mentally go through with what they believe is the truth even if they feel a sense of doubt. All too often we see normal people who are trying to make connections online get fooled after weeks, months and even sometimes years of pursuing an online relationship. It is so easy for people to construct false identities in this day in age that it would almost be impossible to detect the real from the fake.
The real issue is that the younger generations have grown so accustomed to social media, texting and chat rooms that it’s almost inevitable that many of these people will be conversing with complete strangers who are lying about who they really are. It could be very possible that the people who are so well versed in using social media and different computer programs are more prone to being catfished as well as catfishing someone else.
We all have to be more intuitive in regards to the behaviors we practice in the online world. By assuming that these types of instances will never happen to us is the very way it does. The third person effect CAN happen to anyone.