Having been born in the digital age, we have coined a term called “catfishing”. Catfishing is a term used in online dating where people make fake profiles and socialize with others pretending to be someone they are not. The term was created by a man named Nev Schulman who himself experienced an online relationship scam. He now has a show on MTV called Catfish where he finds people who are in online relationships, does research and sets up the time and space for the two people to meet. Since most fake online relationships can stay online and never in person, the point of this show is to show the harm in creating fake profiles. This show is also teaching others to be careful with what they get into online, and to look out for certain cues that highlight a fake profile.
Online dating is becoming more and more popular as a way to meet people through the Internet. It speeds up the process of finding someone you are interested in, and meeting him or her if and when you choose to. Census statistics show that about 40% of people in the United States use online dating. However, as technology advances we also learn to enhance and edit every picture we take, making it no surprise that people would alter their pictures enough to hide their real features. The new “selfie culture” (taking a picture of yourself) has been put into effect in order to improve self esteem, after it has been brought down by the newest and latest magazine and articles and photos on the web telling you how to look perfect and how to change yourself to do so. (Click here for more information on the evolution of selfie culture). The frequently airbrushed ideals shown in the media create these body image problems in teenagers today, leading to the creation of online fake identities that people are using to create relationships. In the MTV series, Catfish, many of the people that have made fake profiles blame their lies on not being okay with the person that they are and not having confidence to meet people on their own. So is catfishing only done to improve your own self-esteem or is this culture slowly becoming masochistic? Who can really be sure? I definitely know that the Internet makes it especially easy to do these things.