This video showed lesson for teenagers about the dangers of interacting with strangers through an actual enactment of the real scenario of what might have happened.
We know for a fact that social media is a great tool for connecting with friends and staying in touch with family. However, when you look at someone’s friend list, it’s a common sight to see people on the list that they have never met before. Mostly, young people are guilty of this social media infraction. They often accept friend requests from people they have never met without thinking of the consequences. These days, it’s important to talk to your kids about the dangers of social media—especially the dangers of connecting with a stranger.
That person might be who they claim to be, but they could also be a predator. It seems like young females hear this message quite frequently, but it’s important for young males to practice social media safety as well.
There is probably nothing that freaks out a parent more than the fear of their child being lured away by a stranger, which is why we, as parents, constantly talk about stranger-danger with our little ones.
According to a new and controversial video that has gone viral, with more than 33 million views on YouTube, it shows that keeping in touch with your kids through conversation may not be enough these days when the virtual world replaces the playground for social contact.
In the video, YouTube star Coby Persin sets out to show how easy it is to pick up a minor using social media. He makes a fake profile on Facebook and went undercover as a teenage girl and contacted three teenage boys with the permission of their parents. Only 24 hours after connecting with the boys, Coby invited them to hang out, and surprisingly, they accepted. These boys had no idea that the person waiting for them would not be “Amanda” the teenage girl, but Coby and their parents.
This is not the first time Coby has gone undercover to give young teens and their parents an important lesson about the dangers of social media. In the first video, Coby pretended to be a teenage boy and lured young girls he had met online (with the consent of their parents). It’s incredibly infuriating to watch these videos and see these teens making such bad decisions. Their parents have talked to them about the dangers of social media, but still, they agree to meet up with a total stranger only 24 hours after connecting with them online.
But what exactly are the parenting lessons from this so-called “Child Predator Social Experiment” modeled after the “To Catch a Predator” television series, which caught everyday Americans from all walks of life in the act as they planned to meet underage children they met online?
In conversations with parents and digital safety experts around the country, I found mixed opinions.
“I guess that if baiting young girls and sharing their embarrassment via a frightening YouTube video is the best we can do when it comes to ‘educating’ our kids, it’s better than nothing,” said Diana Graber, co-founder of CyberWise.org, a digital literacy site for parents, tweens and teens, and educators. “But frankly, this is a complex topic that deserves to be addressed more thoroughly.”
Graber, who teaches “cyber civics” to middle schoolers, said the video points to the need for more teaching of digital literacy and citizenship in schools, which would mean more ongoing conversations not just about predators, but about topics such as online privacy, reputation management, sexting, cyberbullying and more.