Times have changed and so have the parental woes. Gone are the days when parents would worry if a teenager started keeping the bedroom door locked! And thanks to the social media outburst, parents have an ever-expanding list of worries up their sleeves. Parents today have to worry about i-Dosing, cyberbullying, Phishing and catfishing. Yes, catfishing. Now, what the heck is that?
Catfishing – what exactly is that?
Did you ever catch your son trying to fool a friend over phone pretending to be a girl? Well, you tweak it a little and imagine your child doing the same online – that’s catfishing, alright! So yeah, catfishing is faking one’s identity online for any bizarre reason, whatsoever.
Catfishing is easy because who’s there to know?
Remember that comic about a dog telling another dog, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog”? If you don’t here is the comic:
This comic that later became an adage, raises a serious question: is the Internet to be trusted? Not really! With online dating in rage these days and a lot of online dating apps, sites and forums, your teens could easily fall in the trap, or worse, try to fool someone else! Either way, it’s something good.
Catfishing has types!
And yes, catfishing comes in all types and shades. When teens won’t unplug and go outside; they’d be left to do all types of crazy stuff online! Here are some of the most common types of catfish:
These are just a bunch of lazy people, having nothing to do with their lives so instead, they create fake online profiles and start fooling others online. This, apparently, is something that interests them, nevertheless.
Now that’s deadly! If your teen turned down a request to go on a date, or end up in a messy breakup, some people would actually go as far as avenging them online and in an ugly way. They might simply create another social profile and try t get in touch with your teen, tapping on all the right spots and then when the right time comes up, they’d sting! They could hurt your child emotionally and physically.
There might be a shy girl or a guy, all smitten over your child but lacking the courage to come up and ask out. So, instead, they could create a fake persona and be everything that they’re not. There are chances that your teen could be wasting his/her time, energy and emotions on an online relationship that has no basis!
Talk, discuss and educate!
The only thing teens get wrong is that they’re big enough to know what’s wrong and they can handle stuff. The issue is, they can’t! So much is changing for them and the raging hormones can easily make them fall for it! It can start with, “Hey, there’s a beautiful/handsome chic/hunk! What’s possibly wrong with just flirting?” and then one thing leads to another and teens realize, to their horror, that it had been a trap and all their sensitive pictures have been leaked and their social profiles compromised. So before they come to you say, “Ma/Dad, I’m in trouble”, it’s better that you talk it out.
As soon as you feel that your child is old enough to go out on dates, talk to them about dating red flags, not to forget about the online dating! Sharing their pictures with someone they haven’t met and don’t know well, should be strictly over-board! And if you think your child is too young to date and have romantic flings, keep an eye on their online history and what apps they use. If you come across any dating websites or dating apps, you could either talk about it to them or simply block them for good! How can you do that? Parental control apps are there to help you out! These apps can let you know which apps your child has on his/her phone and you can block the age-inappropriate apps, too. You can even track their web history.
It all comes back to active discussing with your child and smart parenting! Keep yourself up-to-date on these new and growing teen issues and know how to tackle them smartly. And don’t forget to take your teens in the loop, too because if you try to sneak on them, it might just get a little messy! So good luck with your parenting and be on the lookout for your teen catfishing others or falling victim to it!