Digital Dating And The Catfish Phenomenon

HandsA Catfish “is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances” according to UrbanDictionary.com.  About two months ago, most Millennials, and certainly most adults, didn’t know what the term meant despite the release of a 2010 documentary of the same name. Now, it’s become a common catchphrase in culture, is the subject of a hit reality show on MTV, and is national news following Manti Te’o’s scandal. Millennials are redefining dating in the digital age, and unfortunately that sometimes means being misled online. We recently surveyed 989 13-34-year-olds about the concept of being Catfished and how they feel about online-only relationships.

Having a relationship that solely exists on the Web is more common among Millennials than one might think. Two in ten (22%) say they’ve been in an online relationship before, and nearly this same percentage (19%) believes that an online relationship is just as meaningful as an in-person relationship. This generation has grown up forming friendships and relationships on the Internet, so it’s no surprise that they feel close to others through a screen. One Millennial even wrote an article for us earlier this year about how the Internet enables friendships that might not otherwise be possible. Yes, online friendships and romances often lead to physical meetups, but Millennials still view this way of getting to know someone as socially acceptable. Texting, tweeting, IMing, and video chatting are normal ways for them to build or further a connection. Moreover, Millennials value being constantly connected through technology; they appreciate knowing that their friends or significant other is just a click away.

A recent article in Jezebel

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My dream for the future is to become an entrepreneur so I can become my own boss. I also want to become successful to help other people who are in need.” – Female, 23, CA

Seven years after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsHarry Potter is the best-selling book series in history; but it also shaped a generation of children who read it. Millennials—known for their technology reliance—fell in love with these books “about love conquering hate,” waited for their release, grew up with the characters, and found within the books a unifying culture that has lasted far beyond the publishing of the last book. As we’ve said previously, the optimistic story about a unique, special boy destined for great things resonated with Millennials in a time when they too believed they were special and had great expectations for their futures. (BoingBoing)

Millennials are not rushing to tee off, and golf is “suffering from a generation gap.” Over the last five years, participation in the sport has fallen steadily, and the participation rates of 18-34-year-olds dropped 13% from 2009 to 2013, while their rates in other sports has risen significantly. The slow rate of games, the expense, and likely the pretense surrounding golf, could all be contributing to the gap. (WSJ)

An anonymous, adult, toy reviewer is one of YouTube’s biggest stars. DisneyCollectorBR posts videos of toy “unboxings,” watched by millions. Her most watched video is an unwrapping of “egg surprise” trinkets to show what is inside—it has over 90 million views. Apparently, the simple videos of a toy being opened and played with by adult hands are “entrancing” kids, who watch one after another. There is close to no information about the person behind the account online. (BuzzFeed)

Millennial parents continue to be given tools that facilitate their kids’ hyper-monitered childhoods. MamaBear is an “all-in-one worry-free” parenting/monitoring app that recently raised $1.4 million. Through the app, parents can be alerted to where children are, what they’re saying on social media, what photos they’re being tagged in, and even monitors when teen users are speeding. (TechCrunch)

The obesity epidemic has been blamed on many things, from fast food to technology replacing outside play. But one result of the health problem could also be making it tough to conquer: a lot of children who are obese or overweight don’t know it. A recent study found that 76% of kids ages 8-15 who are designated by the CDC as overweight thought they were “about right.” Boys and children from poorer families were more likely to “misperceive” their weight. (NPR)

Quote of the Day: “I unplugged from Facebook and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is such a time suck. I have other online sites that I can browse to relieve stress or take a break from work without having to see what some random kid in high school is eating for breakfast.” —Female, 23, PA

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