Online impersonation affecting the lives of millions

Catfishing- What is it?

Catfishing is when someone creates a fictitious or fraudulent profile, most often for the purpose of pursuing a deceptive internet relationship.
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Why do people "catfish?"

  • To raise self-esteem
  • To seek revenge on a specific person
  • To pursue online romances
  • To scam (usually for financial purposes)

Dangers of catfishing

  • Emotional damage it can cause.
  • Involves all the raw emotions associated with love and relationships (once the victim becomes emotionally or romantically attached, it can be devastating to learn that the person they fell in love with is not who they say they are)
  • Public and personal embarrassment (causing them to be ridiculed by peers)
  • Depression and suicide

Jennifer's Story

Jennifer was a shy, formerly bullied 18-year-old girl from Iowa who took refuge in making friends on the Internet when making them in real life was too difficult. She looked for connection in an online male model named Skylar. She never called him her boyfriend and just wanted to know the truth just as much as she wanted to be happy with him. She had fallen into the same trap a number of others had as well. Her Catfisher had limited photos, always had a reason to not meet or video chat, and was essentially off the grid. When the MTV team, including Jennifer, arrived in California, they showed up at the door of a guy named Brian. He had not only been catfishing Jennifer, but a series of other girls who he claimed to have no feelings for. The next day, they gave Brian the chance to tell his side of his story. He told them it was a reaction for someone doing something to him. He then was told to never contact Jennifer again.

Keyonnah's Story

Keyonnah thought she was in a relationship with Bow wow. After messaging her childhood crush on Facebook, she was shocked when he responded right away. Soon, they were texting daily, talking on the phone late at night and planning to visit him in North Carolina. However, suspicions began to arise. Bow wow was always too busy filming his show to visit her and, although they've tried several times to video chat, his internet connection never worked. Her doubts were put at ease when the Bow wow she was talking to sent her $10,000 to pay her family bills. When confronted, the catfisher pretending to be Bow wow was actually a lesbian rapper.

Potential Solutions

•Reduce bullying and harassment

-this reduces low self esteem and the need to take anger out online

•Reduce over-inflated egos and rejection

-this reduces the need to seek romantic relationships online

Thank you for listening!