How easily can today's young girls fall prey to child predators?
Videographer Coby Persin decided to put that question to the test by simulating child predator situations (but in a safe environment, of course).
Persin created a fake Facebook profile posing as a 15-year-old boy and added three girls ages 12 to 14 as a friend on Facebook. Don't worry - the parents were in on all of it.
All three sets of parents were doubtful their daughters would let the obviously alarming situation go far, but as it turns out, the girls knew little about protecting themselves from these types of situations.
All three girls carried on lengthy conversations with Persin - a person they had obviously never met in real life as his profile was a fake. After messaging for three days, all three girls agreed to meet up with Persin in person.
The first girl, Mikayla (last name withheld), is a 13-year-old who believed Persin when he messaged her that he a teenager who was new in town and looking for friends. She agreed to meet with him at a park once her parents left the house so she could sneak away.
"My parents just left. I can be at the park in 10 minutes," Mikayla messaged Persin.
Persin (whose appearance is obviously older and different than the fake profile's picture), called Mikayla over when she approached him the park.
And she walked up to him within arm's-length before Mikayla's father jumped out at her.
"He could have been a rapist! He could have been a pedophile!" the worried father scolded her.
The next girl, Julianna, is a 12-year-old who also fell for Persin's fake profile.
Juliana invited Persin over to her house at night, telling him he could come over once her father fell asleep.
Julianna's father watched with Persin that night to see how his daughter chose to handle the situation. He said he didn't think his daughter would text him her address or open the door for him, but right after Persin asked for her address she replied.
"Come outside. Come to the front door," Persin messaged.
Despite her father's doubts, the young girl opened the door to see Persin and her father standing on the other side.
"What would I do if anything happened to you?" Julianna's father said. "I love you. Don't you ever do this again."
The third girl, 14-year-old Jenna, believed her parents were going out one night, and that Persin and his older brother would pick her up after they left. In reality, Persin was driving a van with Jenna's parents hiding in the back.
This video experiment has two huge lessons: first, young teens aren't educated enough on protecting themselves from child predators. And second, many parents believe their children would never fall for a child predator's schemes. But as the video revealed, all three girls went along unquestioningly the whole time.
It's vital to teach our children to never talk to strangers online and especially to never agree online to meet up with someone in person. Parents need to not assume their children already know what they need to to protect themselves against child predators.