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

Kids might still have Frozen fever (bets on how many Elsas we’ll see this Halloween?) but Disney is ready to build buzz for their next princess movie. This week the first artwork for Moana, the story of a Polynesian princess sailing the Pacific, was released, along with news that the film will be out in 2016. Moana will be the fifth non-white Disney princess, which our Instant Poll results today show should align with viewers’ wishes. (Vulture)

High-end designers continue to make children’s clothing to outfit the best dressed generation, and fashion for the pre-teen set is looking more sophisticated than ever: GapKids’ collaboration with kate spade new york and Jake Spade is hitting stores for just two weeks on October 30th, featuring kid versions of some of the labels’ bright and colorful signature pieces. While Gap’s campaign telling adults to “dress normal”missed the mark—and isn’t doing any favors for their sales—we suspect this more whimsical pint sized capsule collection will have parents lining up. (Nitrolicious

How big has The Walking Dead gotten? The post-zompocalyptic gore-fest is so popular that ratings for its first two episodes beat out Sunday Night Football among “the demo that really matters,” viewers 18-49-years-old. Dead’s victory over football could be because this audience thought the games airing weren’t interesting. But if the ratings trend continues, it could be potential evidence that football is losing Millennial fans. (UproxxDeadline)

For teens today, fights in the hallway can lead to much worse than getting detention; students are actually being arrested for misbehavior in schools. Even smaller disciplinary issues like chewing gum, wearing too much perfume, or in one case eating another student’s chicken nuggets, can result in misdemeanor charges. The increased presence of police on campuses, and rise in teachers reporting misbehavior to local authorities, “has turned traditional school discipline…into something that looks more like the adult criminal-justice system.” (WSJ)

Millennial populations in small towns and rural areas might be “ticking slightly upward,” but that growth is no match for the continued trend of urbanization that the generation is spurring. Millennials are also moving en masse to the “fancier suburbs” of big cities, and reportedly Arlington, VA has seen an 82% growth in members of the generation from 2007 to 2013. Small towns feel limiting to these young consumers, who are still flocking to more bustling areas despite the fact that they are more expensive. (NPR)

Our Infographic Snapshots are data visualizations that take our proprietary bi-weekly survey stats and synthesize them to tell a story about this generation’s behaviors and views. From political stances to social media use to spending, we illustrate how many, how much, and how often. These helpful infographics are available to our Gold and Silver subscribers. (Ypulse)

Quote of the Day: “I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because I am creating a punk sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon costume for comic con and I worked really hard on it, so I will wear it any chance I can.” –Female, 21, NY

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