In a new online child predator social experiment that showcases the perceived naivety and innocence of children, contrasted with human tendencies, hopeful parents, and possible lurking dangers of the world, YouTube veteran and “prankster,” Coby Persin, demonstrates the ease with which some children are lured into potential danger.
The YouTube program, titled “The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment),” features the 21-year-old Coby Persin posing as a 15-year-old boy, simulating known tactics of pedophiles and child predators by using Craigslist and social media to spark relationships with some young girls and ultimately getting them to agree to meet with him face to face, reports The Daily Mail.
The parents of the young teen and tween subjects agreed to Persin’s contacting their daughters for the child predator social experiment, while at the same time hoping their daughters wouldn’t agree to meet Coby Persin and prove the dangers of child predators and social media to be true.
“How easy is it for a pedophile to pick up an underage child using social media?” asks Persin. The answer to that, says Persin, “is shocking and something everyone should see.”
“The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment),” which was just posted August 10, has already received well-over 14 million views and is also garnering criticism, reports Yahoo Parenting.
Among those critics is Free-Range Kids author, Lenore Skenazy, who thinks the video’s heavy focus on the dangers children face from strangers is overblown.
“(The Dangers of Social Media) reinforces the idea that every child is in constant danger from strangers, and that’s not the case. I think it’s worthwhile to have a conversation with your kids and tell them that they can talk to anyone, but they cannot go off with anyone. I’m not saying that this never happens, but what disturbs me about our culture is that we are encouraged to think in terms of the worst-case scenario in every situation.”
For Kenazy, the parent participants featured in “The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment)” raised more concerns for her than their daughters meeting with a stranger.
“I can’t imagine traumatizing my child that way and breaking any kind of trust that might have existed beforehand,” Kenazy told Yahoo Parenting. “To me, they are completely humiliating their kids in a misguided effort to keep them safe from a very unlikely danger.”
But for Coby Persin, the parent feedback he has received for “The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment)” has been positive, so much so that he’s currently producing another version aimed at potentially vulnerable young male teens and tweens.
“(Parents) say things like ‘I did this when I was young and almost put myself in real danger,’ or ‘I’m so glad I can show this to my daughter,'” said Persin.
And with studies showing that as much as 30 percent of teen girls have met with online strangers, social experiments such as “The Dangers of Social Media (Child Predator Social Experiment)” may have a role to play in protecting children against online threats.
[Image via YouTube/Coby Persin]