While to any naive person out there, Catfishing may seem like a term that deals with hunting for a catfish using a cod or something like that if they are as unfamiliar with fishing terminologies as we are. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it ain’t so at all.
According to Wikipedia, Catfishing is the term reserved for the act of creating a fake social media account in order to deceive someone out of purely nefarious intentions. It may be used to exploit a person by pretending to be their friend in order to unearth their deepest, darkest secrets and to use it against them. Or, to defame somebody by creating a social media account in their name without their knowledge.
While the act is as long as the invention of social media platforms like MySpace, yet the entire ailment of sorts didn’t have a name until very recently, since it wasn’t considered that big of a problem. But, after a 2010 American Documentary, the term quickly gained popularity in the social media since people started to identify with it. This prompted some of the most prestigious newspapers in the world like The Boston Globe to discuss the origin of the term and sight it a most probably etymology of the scenario at hand.
While most social media platform like Twitter thrives on bringing people with similar interests closer together, the same cannot be said for the likes of Instagram and Facebook, because of the personal nature of those platforms. Yet, to most people, privacy related issues do not seem to be that big of a concern, since they usually do not interact with strangers often and when they do, the conversations are usually clipped and short. But, on the other hand, since the affiliation of catfishing tends to usually affect the younger users of social media platforms, this take this whole deal to a whole new level.
When children as young as 8 or 9 are using Facebook today by disguising themselves as 13 and 18 year olds, it has never been more critical to keep an eye on them and guide them about this dark part of social media and how a seemingly innocent conversation with a seemingly kind person can have disastrous consequences in the grand scheme of things, consequences like grooming and impersonation.
What Parents Can Do To Help?
As mentioned earlier, children in their late teens do not usually make conversations with unknown people, which make it absolutely essential for parents to train a close, digital eye on the younger ones where there is a possibility of such occurrences. Therefore what parents can do in situation like this is.
Talk To Your Kids
Kids are young and to their parents they will always be their babies they need to protect from the big bad world. But, what parents usually forget that children are human beings too, capable of taking care of themselves and understanding even the hardest things if explained in just the right way. Thus, what parents can do is talk to their kids and explain the negative consequences catfishing may have on their life and their goals and how it should be avoided at any cost to protect oneself.
Keep an Eye on Them
No matter how busy parents are, to them their children and their needs should always come first. Therefore, it is essential for any parent to keep a very close eye on their children. From the kind of extracurricular activities they participate in at school to the kind of friends they have to the things they do online. While a keen look in to their lives is mandatory in order to collect information like that but things like parental monitoring apps can also help in this aspect. Not only will you be able to get detailed information about their friends and their everyday activities but their online activities as well.
The Bottom Line
Catfishing may not seem like a big problem on the surface and compared to things like grooming, it isn’t. Still, its negative impacts are far and wide and are capable of imparting long term negative effects on individuals that have had gone through it. Therefore, making sure that it does not come close to affecting the young ones is important for any parent out there.