With the introduction of smaller group gatherings of less than six, and the ongoing Covid 19 situation, many people in society are turning to online platforms for connections and communications with others.
Our young people and children are no different and constantly seek that interaction with others. As with all social media, there are many benefits and opportunities that can allow young people to communicate with current friends, as well as expanding their social circle, however it is always important to remember the risks associated with conversing online.
'Catfishing' is not new, but a new term that is currently well known amongst young people. Catfishing is basically pretending to be someone else when online. People who use this technique often do so whilst concealing their real intentions, often befriending young people whilst looking to exploit their vulnerabilities.
The potential for children being groomed is always a very real risk and possibility when using any online platform. Conversations should be held with children about who they are talking to online and the importance of not sharing personal information or data.
Children should be encouraged to only connect with people online who they know and completely trust, and taught not to invest in online friendships with unknown people who they have never actually spoken to or met in real life - Catfish will stick to text-based messaging and conceal their real identity.
The internet and new apps can be dangerous if not used with caution. However with the right settings, supervision and conversations with young people and children about how to keep themselves safe online, it can also be pretty awesome too.