I Catfished My Kid

posted 5 months ago in Relationships
Post # 46
717 posts
Busy bee

sassy411 :  I’m a tad confused about that story…it sounds like that teen had quite a bit of limits until that one day her mom stepped out, and I highly doubt that was suddenly the first time she ever gave away personal info to a stranger. That girl was likely being groomed for a long time, even with her mom’s restrictions. 

Which brings me to something PP have already touched on as well: The type of parent who would catfish their child, are probably the types of parents that drive their children to hide things from them in the first place. I do agree that children want direction and limits, however that doesn’t mean you should go overboard,  because kids also want a chance to think for themselves, and will always find a way to do that even if it means sneaking around…and that’s when their freedom can become dangerous. 

I was raised by the internet….and I’m not talking about AOL and Myspace in my teens, I’m talking about obscure communities starting when I was a mere 8 year old. It started with kid-specific places (sorta like Club Penguin) with my siblings always looking over my shoulder or even browsing with me. As the years went on I gained more independence, and more desire to think for myself. Yet my parents kept me secluded (“overprotected”)…I hardly ever left the house, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I was able to meet up with my friends outside of school (where socializing was at a minimum). I desired close friendships but was denied the chance to let them flourish. The internet was my only window to the outside world, to intimate conversations with like-minded individuals. I quickly adapted to sneaking around my parent’s strict regulations just to have basic socialization. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I could have vented to my parents about the drama I experienced from some of my online friendships/experiences, but I was so terrified of them taking the whole internet away if they knew that I talk to strangers online, so I kept *everything* hidden. I feel my relationship with my parents had been stunted because I could never open up to them without repercussions. 

Regardless, even without my parents knowing everything I did online, and having been online for so long, I *never* ever tried to meet up with someone, or gave personal info such as my address or phone number to anyone (heck, I hardly ever gave my real name or age). Their stern talk about internet stranger danger was enough for me, and I wanted no part of that.  Even looking back, I can’t recall anyone I met trying to get my info…I don’t believe I’ve ever met (or was targeted by) an internet predator. 

But that’s just me…kids are individuals, and while there’s some degree of prediction of their behavior, I don’t think it’s really fair to assume all kids will (or won’t) sell their souls away if given the chance. Sure, I did some bad things on the internet, but frankly it’s probably better that I made mistakes virtually rather than risk my physical safety. It’s just one of those really difficult things about parenting…being responsible for your child’s safety but also accepting that you literally can’t protect them from everything, and those mistakes your kid will make is really important to their development. The best we can do is try to minimize the risks so that the mistakes they do make aren’t life-threatening ones. You can’t read every message your child sends online, but if you can have an open, understanding relationship with them, they (theoretically) wouldn’t have a reason to hide anything from you. I had an online friend who would invite her mom to come over and meet us while we’re skyping…I envied being able to have that kind of relationship with my mom, lol. 

Post # 47
1007 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

No one here is saying that you shouldn’t ever set limits on your child, be authoritarian, or feel like they can’t be mad at you. But catfishing is cruel and wrong and also it is NOT the most effective way to teach children safety. As many PPs have pointed out, it will more than anything teach your children not to trust you and also teach them to be much better at hiding what they’re really up to.

Post # 48
4287 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

There was the mom of a teenage girl who thought she had it completely locked down concerning her daughter’s internet useage. The family shared one computer, parked in a conspicuous place and password protected. When the girl wanted to go online, mom would log her in and back out later. 

One day, mom had to dash out of the house in a hurry, something to do with the girl’s brother. So, she neglected to log her daughter out.

That would be the last time mom would see her daughter alive.



I’m also not sure I get the point of this scare story or what you want to take away message to be? 

That you can be as strict as you want and set lots of boundaries but the second you turn your back your child will be speaking to a peadophile and will be murdered?  Are you trying to say that if this woman had actually catfished her daughter then maybe she would still be alive? Or are we to learn that older children should never be left alone, even for a second?

All I am getting from that story is that sometimes awful things just happen. It sounds like this women had strict rules in place and tried her best to protect her child but sometimes that just isn’t enough, it isn’t her fault and it isn’t her daughter’s fault.  But I don’t see the relevance of the story or how it justifies this weird catfishing situation? 

Parents should enforce reasonable rules and boundaries, but there should be mutual respect and punishment or discipline should never resort to cruel tactics of humiliation. 

Post # 48
4287 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018


Double post. 

Post # 50
1111 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Girl, you need help. Considering this post and your background…. something is off. Literally every single person here has told you this is not “good parenting” and yet here you are, still advocating for this ridiculous way to “teach” a kid. This isn’t the first post you’ve made that I’ve seriously side-eyed. 

Post # 51
7373 posts
Busy Beekeeper

For someone so quick to cry ABUSE on any post about a man behaving even slightly questionably, advocating that parents straight up deceive and manipulate their children has got to be the height of irony. 

Post # 52
678 posts
Busy bee

Using anecdotal evidence of a  childmurder to justify catfishing all children is lame reasoning and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

For someone so quick to cry ABUSE on any post about a man behaving even slightly questionably, advocating that parents straight up deceive and manipulate their children has got to be the height of irony.  +1 to tiffany

Your experience as a counselor? I’m not sure exactly what your job was, but that was working with presumably children that had predetermined diagnoses that required certain interventions. Those techniques are not applicable to just any and every child. And a patient-counselor relationship is EXTREMELY different from the parent-child relationship and has different boundaries, rules, etc.

And even if I can get past catfishing your own child, what justification is there for FILIMING IT AND PUTTING IT ON TV FOR THE WORLD TO SEE? That’s disturbing.

Post # 53
2137 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

sassy411 :  I’m a mean mommy. Just ask my daughter.

We have an ongoing joke about how, when she gets lippy, I ask her how long it has been since her last child abuse, and does she need some more to remember her place. 

I was always strict, I had high expectations, and I was NOT shy about using all the methods at my disposal to make a point; including humiliation, which I think can be a powerful social corrective. Once, when she was throwing an EPIC fit about bedtime, a neighbor actually called the police, thinking she was being abused. When the officers arrived, I was DELIGHTED to show them into her room and tell her that they were there because of her tantrum. She was MORTIFIED and I was laughing my ASS off. 

All that being said, I think this particular approach doesn’t have merit. Not just because it’s mean-spirited, but because it wouldn’t accompllish its intended result. Most adolescents don’t have the intellectual or emotional intelligence to extrapolate how their parents deceiving them in this way means that anyone could. It would just impress upon them that their parents are assholes. Which, they probably already know. 

I get where you’re coming from; I think most parents are too lax. I think they fail to both set appropriate boundaries AND to insist their children go out and do things on their own behalf. INCLUDING encounter people who do not have their best interests at heart – both in real life and online. Because like any other skill, it takes practice. 

But, I think parents should be a refuge from a world that is ultimately indifferent to them. They will encounter plenty of people who don’t care about them, or actively want to harm them. Parents don’t need to manufacture a situation where they are embarassed or hurt; they should be there to instruct and support them when they run into that for real. If they have alienated their kids by manipulating them in this cruel way, the LAST thing they will want to do is confide in them if it happens with someone else. 

I’m all for boundaries; this just crosses one.

Post # 54
2813 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

sassy411 :  The story you chose to try to justify this only further validates what the rest of us here are saying…. Basically, instead of teaching her daughter to be cautious and to be wary of any strangers on the internet asking her personal information, she gave her daughter no freedom and privacy to develop those skills. Then, one day, she wasn’t able to look over her shoulder for 10 minutes and it cost her daughter her life.

Your suggestion that catfishing kids like this teaches them to be more careful is ridiculous! All this does is teach them that A) their parents don’t trust them and B) stranger danger is overblown, since the one time they thought they were in danger it turned out to actualy just be their parenst pulling a fast one on them.

My internet usage was pretty limited as a teenager, as we had dial up using the same phone line my parents used for my Dad’s small business, and our computer was in the shared office. Anyone could walk in any time while you were on the computer and look as what you were doing, but my parents didn’t stand over your shoulder and watch what you were doing. They knew we used ICQ and MSN Messenger to talk to our friends, and they knew that we probably played around on chatrooms too. Instead of trying to stop us from doing that or looking over our shoulder, they taught us to be careful with the information we told strangers about ourselves, and they raised us to trust them and be able to talk to them when we needed to. Not once did I give out personal information online, because I knew better. Had my parents simply told me “don’t ever go in chatrooms or talk to strangers” I highly doubt it would have worked out the same way. And if my parents tried to trick me into thinking I was meeting up with a stranger but it was actually them? Well, there goes any ounce of trust I had in them…. I’d just become more secretive about everything I did.

Post # 55
282 posts
Helper bee

kiram :  +1 @ Everything you just said!

My dad bought my sister and I a computer when I was 8, and yes, it stayed in our bedroom (the horror!). When I was 14 I got my own laptop for my birthday (because I wanted a computer that I could bring back and forth between my mom’s house and dad’s house). I played Surf Swell Island on Disney.com, and my mom watched a lot of mystery and kidnapping shows, so I knew all about internet safety and what kind of weirdos are out there. 

It’s why when I did meet my online friends, I always made sure I brought a friend with me, and we met in a very populated place(such as a mall or anime convention). 100% of the time the person online was the person they said they were, but I was still smart about how I was meeting them.

Again, kids are a lot more intelligent than they lead on. 

Post # 56
2576 posts
Sugar bee

sassy411 :  I typed out a whole thing and WB ate it.

Suffice to say. I am incredibly disappointed with your response. 

It is condescending in the extreme. You employ fear-mongering and defensiveness in doubling down into a position that every single response here has vehemently disagreed with.

You don’t have the market cornered on “was abused growing up, researched abuse extensively, and now feel very educated on the subject of abuse.” 

I’m appalled that YOU of all people can be so blind in this area. 

Invasion of a child’s privacy is ABUSE. 

Invalidating a child during their precious fromative years by essentially telling them YOUR need to protect them is MORE IMPORTANT than THEIR need to grow and evolve into their adult selves privately is ABUSE.  

Yes, children need limits and rules and strict enforcement with effective consequences.

But they also need room to breath and to develop into who THEY want to be, not who you APPROVE they CAN be. 

This is COVERT ABUSE masqerading as protective parenting. 

I mean, seriously. YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

You should know that what we learn in our formative years provides the templates with which we go through the entire rest of our lives.

What do you think happens to a child whose template is damaged by the variety of ABUSE that tells them they can’t trust the people closest to them?

Whose template is damaged by the variety of ABUSE that tells them their need for privacy and autonomy is threatened by the people closest to them?

I  just cannot get over how blind you are on this subject.

Post # 57
9347 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2016

I grew up in the age of dial up and AOL chat rooms. As a preteen/teen I joined lots of role playing groups and now as  a 30 year old woman I still have relationships with those people I used to role play with millions of years ago. Not only did I make some lasting friendships, I also developed a lot of invaluable skills such as creative writing and learning how to do coding and HTML – things that have given me an edge in my career. 

I have a daughter. She’s a baby still do I do think about how I will approach topics like internet safety and stranger danger, because frankly, the world is an ugly place. However, I want to strive to have the kind of relationship with my daughter where she feels comfortable coming to me about ANYTHING without fear. I feel if you and your child have a good, open, honest and trusting relationship then your child wont be afraid to talk to you about things like “hey, I made a new friend online!” or whatever. Maybe it’s naive of me, but I don’t want my kids to ever be afraid to talk to me for fear of getting in trouble over something or feel the need to hide things from me. 

I find when a child fears a parent or the reaction of a parent, that’s when they go underground and start hiding things. Once they have that fear then that’s it, it’s not ever going to go away and you’ll never be able to get them to fully open up to you again. That’s not the kind of relationship I want with my kids and I really don’t care what anyone thinks of my parenting.

Post # 58
2813 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

slomotion :  Exactly! Being afraid of what your parents will say/think/do only causes kids to get themselves into much more dangerous situations.

A good example is drinking and driving when I was in high school. It was very common in the rural area I grew up in and many people did it in high school. My parents, however, promised us that they would NOT ever get us in trouble or be mad if we phoned them at any ungodly hour to pick us up because the person who was supposed to drive had been drinking. I took them up on it a few times and they kept their word. Meanwhile, I had other friends who would get in vehicles with drunk drivers or even get rides home with people who they didn’t know because their driver had been drinking… those are pretty precarious situations where they could have (and some of them were) badly hurt.. and they got into those situations precisely because had they called up their parents and told them they needed to be picked up from a party where there had been drinking they’d have been grounded for two months.

Post # 59
12065 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

I have a psych degree and agree with @drdeebee, this is not at all healthy.

I can’t understand what university you are attending where they are teaching you that authoritarian (*not to be confused with authoritative parenting, which is quite healthy) parenting is good for kids. You’re against permissive parenting? Great. Use loving boundaries (authoritative), not shame. 

Most psychologists know from studies that authoritarian parenting doesn’t work, and actually teaches children not to believe in an internal locus of control. It teaches them to blame outside forces for their problems.

and this shouldn’t be a surprise because people drawn to this kind of parenting feel they have to control everything around them because they feel they have no control and they believe people will do bad things unless they’re frightened out of it, what’s described as projection, because they too were raised this way.

 it teaches kids to do what they can get away with instead of teaching them to make good choices when no one is looking. Science shows shame based parenting (authoritarian) creates children prone to low self-esteem, having difficulty in social situations, and misbehaving when outside of parental influence.

as for this show, I hope they get sued. They have no right humiliating under age children who can’t consent and these parents need to grow up. How selfish and self centered can a person be to want to be in TV so badly that they’d do this to their kid. 

Thats a big fat NO, no one should be cat fishing their own child and they sure shouldn’t be doing it on TV. 

Post # 60
3119 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

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