The Dangers of Online Dating – What is a ‘Catfish?’ Let’s face it: dating is difficult. The bar scene is crowded, and the blind dates your friends set you up on never go well. What’s a young single to do? There are more than 52 million single adults out there, many of whom many turn to online dating sites for a chance to make a connection with someone. In fact, 59% of Internet users agree that online dating is a good way to meet people. There are many benefits of online dating sites, but there are some dangers as well. When chatting with someone online, you can’t really be sure who’s behind the computer screen. Consequently, a scary phenomenon, known as “catfishing”, has become pervasive throughout online dating websites and social media sites. The term “catfish” was coined by a popular TV show that uncovered the identities of people using fake profiles online. It is defined as a way to lure someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona. These “catfish” lie about who they truly are to win over the affection of another person. The projected persona is often a highly idealized version of the self. Catfishers often use the photo of a model or incredibly good-looking individual to appear more attractive to others. Once this person has created an online profile, they begin engaging with others. Typically, the catfisher is very charming and acts overly confident to win the affection of their “prey.” After a relationship is built, the catfisher often manipulates the feelings of others for their own selfish reasons. The motives behind these catfish vary. Sometimes people do it out of insecurity, boredom, or revenge. In the end, feelings are always hurt when the catfisher either reveals their true identity or disappears forever to avoid having to do so. The other person is left heartbroken, thinking that this individual with whom they made a genuine connection is gone forever. Although you’d like to believe that the people we meet online are real, you can never be too sure. The only way to avoid a situation like this is to go on safe dating sites. The safest dating sites are the ones that background check their members so you know the person you are talking to is who they really say they are. Protect yourself and your heart by investing in the safest dating sites on the web.