Is that REALLY your Bourne Identity?

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Ciao! My name is Lorenzo! I am originally from Florence, Italy, and I work as an international male model. I am 6’5”, and enjoy a refreshing run every morning to stay in shape. With my job I am able to meet many famous celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, the Kardashian’s, and Beyoncé herself. My dream would be to move on from my modeling days, and become a movie star on the big screens. With my busy lifestyle it is hard for me to start a romantic relationship. I am always moving from one country to the next for modeling opportunities. I am looking for a female who is down to earth, likes long walks on the beach, Netflix and chilling, and taking adventures. Message me if you are interested!

Would you believe something like this online? I didn’t think so. According to Huffington Post, fifty-three percent of American people surveyed said they lied in their online dating profiles. Okay, so lying on your profile isn’t that big of a deal right? Everyone is allowed to fib a little on his or her height or weight, but when does this become a problem? The issues arise when this person starts an online relationship based on false pretenses. This is called “Catfishing”. This is the act of luring a person into a relationship by means of a fictional online person. Now that we know a little more about what catfishing is, let’s find out how this all started in our society!

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This phenomenon began when a man named Nev Shulman started a romantic relationship with a girl, Megan, he met online through Facebook. The relationship began to grow with the constant messages, and phone calls. Nev and Megan had never met in person, or even video-chatted online. Nev began to find this suspicious and took it upon himself to find out the truth. He drove to Michigan with his brother and film crew to get it all on tape. It turned out that Megan never even existed, while a woman named Angela did. Angela was much older and decided to create “Megan” in order to form a relationship. Nev asked Angela’s husband about his thoughts on what happened, and his response would change the face of online identity theft for good…

The story starts here

To learn more about Nev and his adventures, check out this link!
http://www.nevschulman.com/catfish/

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Are you talking to a potential partner online? Do you want to know if they are real, or a catfish? Don’t ignore the signs. SocialCatfish.com shows the top 12 signs you may be getting catfished. These include: Getting serious really fast, having problems with Skype or other video-chats, an occupation that requires them to travel a lot, if they ask for money, if they look like a model, or if something feels “off” about them. Do any of these signs sound familiar? Take another look at our friend Lorenzo at the top of my post. It may be a more obvious example of someone who is Catfishing you, but it is still important to know a true relationship from someone who is just in it to hurt you. The article The Ugly Truth of Online Dating shows us the top 10 things men, and women lie about online, just like Lorenzo did.

Why would anyone want to Catfish someone? According to LoveIsRespect.org there are many reasons a person may feel the need to Catfish another, such as revenge on an ex-lover, they might be bored and or lonely, or feel like making your life a living Hell. But the top reason for Catfishing is that a person may have such a low self esteem that they feel the need to lie about who they really are. Fibbing about a few things online may give them the courage they need to proceed with this relationship. Before they can come clean about the situation, many may have already fallen for their online sweetheart.

In a poll done by ReadWrite of around 500 people, 55% of them said they fake their identities online, while only 12% of people said they used their real identity all the time. I wonder how many people fake their identities on a larger scale… Let’s look at a social media site that most people can relate to. Facebook. According to the Tech Journal, there are 845 million monthly active users. But how many of these people fake their accounts? Around 50 million! So next time you are thinking of starting a relationship online, make sure you find out who you are truly dealing with.

What is so bad about lying online? Some may think it is best to hide their true identities online in order to protect themselves. But what happens when we don’t tell the truth about some of the important things? Just this last year a young man named Zach Anderson began using a dating app. Zach, 19, met a girl online and they seemed to hit it off. The girl told Zach that she was 17 years old. While she may have looked more like 17, the girl was really only 14 years old. Zach, not knowing this, drove to Michigan and slept with this girl. Zach is now charged with criminal sexual conduct, and will be on the sex offender list for the 25 years. The girl admits now that she lied about her age, but it is too late. If you are online dating, it is important to put your real age. If you are not, maybe it’s okay to fib a bit. Just make sure you know when it is appropriate or not, otherwise you, or those around you could get hurt.

To read more about Zach and updates on his case, click here.

If you are a parent reading this, or have a teenager in your life you might be wondering how a 14 year old could have wound up in a situation like that. Not a lot of parents can watch their children (let alone teenagers) every second of the day. However, you can still give your children the knowledge on how to stay away from catfishers and potential predators. UKnowKids gives us the 10 best ways to protect your children from catfishing. They suggest not having any type of screen name with your actual name in it, don’t agree to meet anyone online in person, don’t talk about sexual content online, and more. Please consider talking to your children about the dangers that come with being online, even if you don’t think they would do anything wrong.

After I found out about Nev and his story it got me wondering, how many other people have gone through a Catfish situation? This must happen all the time if you can make four hit seasons on MTV. Catfishing is becoming more popular online, and we must protect ourselves from those who lie to us. If you are someone who thinks they are being Catfished, or know someone who is, please seek help.

Here is a link to what an online counseling cite suggests for those who have been catfished. They can walk you through the steps, and show you your options after such a harmful event.

1 (800) 273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

Catfishing is a form of cyber bullying, and needs to be put to rest. Take a peek at Courtney’s last post to see how dangerous cyber bullying can truly be.

Hope you enjoyed my latest post,

(If you have any topics you want discussed please comment below!)

By Sarah

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