According to the The Merriam-Webster online-dictionary, Catfish is defined as “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.”
Teenagers and adults from all ages happen to spend much of their time online socializing with friends and strangers; this can result in a catfish incident where things don’t go as planned.
Dr. Jennie Noll, the director of research for behavioral medicine and clinical psychology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, organized a study of Internet behavior in teenagers.
The study, which appears in the journal of Pediatrics, found that 30 percent of teenage girls met up with a stranger in person after having a connection online, reported Huffington Post.
Social News Daily reported a study that an average of 83 million Facebook accounts are fake. Not only are those accounts fake, but the average catfish will use 136 tags per every four photos. On the other hand, real users choose just 1 tag per 4 photos. The study also found that catfish social accounts have 726 friends on average while real users have just 130.
Catfish incidents occur anywhere. At Helix, several students opened about their own personal catfish .
Gio Gonzalez, a junior at Helix experienced a time in his life where he was catfished, “It was my freshmen year at Helix. This girl that I knew from private school started to text me and I haven’t heard from her since eighth grade. It started off from a good friend of mine that gave me her KIK so I could text her.”
Unfortunately, like many cases, Gonzales had a gut feeling that something was odd.
“Later on I started to feel like something wasn’t right. That it wasn’t her. It just didn’t feel right. Long story short I found out that a girl from my middle school was catfishing. So I texted the girl I thought I was talking to her the entire time on iMessage to say if it was her that was texting me and she said no. So I explained to her what was going on and my heart dropped.”
He said that he wasn’t at peace until he knew who it was behind the screen, “So I was like, I have to find who this person is. So I go on the real girls IG account and I found pics of the fake ‘girl’ that were taken of her from like years past. I started to ask the catfisher more questions and say if it really was her to at least make her confess. She never replied back to me after that.”
Gonzales concluded with a message to those who catfish, “Just cause you don’t look a certain way or be a certain way, doesn’t give you the right to catfish someone.”
Another junior, Adiva Joseph said that she experienced an “odd” catfish.
As she was minding her own business, she got a random message from a friend asking, “Is this you?” She opened someone’s account and it was pictures of herself under the name of “Anabella and 22 years old,” as described in the bio.
She said that it was “Uncomfortable and funny, because who would waste their time doing that.”
One Helix Sophomore, confessed that she was a catfisher.
It all started as a revenge, “Me and my friend lied that we were older than our actual age on instagram.”
However, being the catfish wasn’t the problem. He had a girlfriend and that frustrated her, “We were talking as friends and from then we became more than that, it turned out he had a girlfriend, my friend told me it was wrong so she convinced me to let his girlfriend know. Long story short he got mad for the drama that happened so he threatened to call San Diego Police Department.”
She has a message for those who are catfishing, “Don’t mess with people’s lives. I could have just moved on but I wanted to hold a grudge. You could get in trouble for catfishing and it’s not really worth it in the long run. Once it’s over you move on in life so if you really think about it, it was a waste of 6 months of my life.”
As catfishing normalizes into today’s society, it is important to take into consideration other people’s lives.
For any information on being catfished, visit https://socialcatfish.com/what-to-do-if-youre-being-catfished-a-step-by-step-guide/ for guided help.