Catching Catfish: Real and Unreal Life for Jewish Teens
Just when you think you can keep pace with the bizarre events of the everyday, you find yourself having a discussion with Jewish teens that blows the dust off your brain just a bit.
This is necessary.
It keeps the distance between the generations and confirms for teens why they’re glad they’re not as old as you are.
Last week I sat with a group of teens taking a Current Events class.
After chatting about the Israeli Knesset and the elections, the conversation veered way weird when they got to talking about the Manti Te’o business.
That was not news. What was news to me was the term Catfish, the MTV show “Catfish” and the verb “catfishing.” I was fascinated, but in a sad way. Just listening to these teens talk about the real, the fake, and the in-between relationships they have to negotiate between real life and online personas, I was overwhelmed with the amount of distrust they experience on a daily basis.
How do they begin to navigate through these murky waters? When shows like “Catfish” keep their interest (most watch the show), how do we counter the values of the day with Jewish values that build character, strong identities, and a commitment to honesty?
There is now, more than ever, a compelling reason for instilling in our teens a strong sense of self. A way to know who they are and what they stand for.
Plus, we have to always be current. Always on the look-out for the next challenge.–so we aren’t caught acting like a catfish, slinking along on the bottom of the river.