How far would you go to keep your child safe online? Three sets of New Jersey parents worked with Coby Persin as part of a social experiment to see whether their teen daughters would meet a stranger they'd only interacted with online.
In the viral YouTube video, The Dangers Of Social Media, three girls between 12 and 14 years-old fell prey to the experiment in which Persin pretends to be the fictitious 15 year-old Jason Biazzo on Facebook.
In all cases, the girls wait till their parents are gone before either giving their home address to Biazzo (Persin) or heading off to meet him on their own.
In all cases, the girls are surprised to meet their outraged parents - in one situation, hiding in the back of a van wearing ski masks - and Persin.
“What would have happened if you came out and it wasn’t us sitting back here, and there were really crazy people sitting back here,” asks the girl's mother.
Though Persin means well, the footage feels painful and disarming to watch, as the teens are clearly traumatized by the ordeal.
Does the end justify the means in this case? Maybe.
Maybe such scare tactics are needed to get the message through to kids once and for all that internet dangers are real. They are not just the stylized plots of CSI and movies starring Liam Neeson.
Predators pose as young people online all the time. The world is different than the one we grew up in. You can't take what you see on Facebook at face value.
Image Source: YouTube/Coby Persin