“The Dangers of Social Media: Child Predator Social Experiment” — I.e., Boogeyman Out To Get Your Kids!

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Here’s the latest “Parents, Please Commence Freaking Out” video.

It tneiisskty
reminds me of the Joey Salads video, obviously, but also of the parents who had their 6 year old  snatched, blindfolded and led down into a basement where the “kidnapper” threatened to nail him to the wall — all to teach him not to talk to strangers. That boy’s mom and grandma wanted to keep their child safe, but I would not be surprised if any natural “gut instincts” of his have been shattered for life. (Not to mention his trust in his loved ones.)

The same goes for the young ladies here. The video shows an admitted prankster, Coby Persin, who looks to be about 30, pretending to be a teen as he chats with some girls online. They agree to meet, whereupon he films each girl’s shock and near collapse when it turns out to be him and his terrifying “safety” message. Worst of all (to me), is that the girls’ parents are alongside Coby, heaping guilt and rage upon their daughter.

The terror of a kidnapping mixed with the horror and soul-melting shame of being tricked and trapped by your own parents is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

And what is the message? That young people shouldn’t trust anyone online? That’s like telling them not to trust anyone they meet in the off line world, too. As I wrote of the Joey Salads piece, a video that “tests” whether kids can be conned by an evil stranger makes it seem as if this is a situation kids are faced with every day. What is so hard to understand is that, first of all, our kids today are NOT in constant danger. Also: The vast majority of crimes against children are committed NOT by sneaky strangers, but by people they truly know.

Of course it makes sense to teach our kids about Internet safety. That all is not always as it seems.  That they shouldn’t share  too much information, or assume that what they post will ever disappear. But it is bizarre to act as if Facebook is teaming with stranger danger.

This video most reminds me of the scary hitchhiker warnings of the deep, dark 1960s: “Never pick up a stranger.” (Which also became the slogan for an anti-freeze, but I digress.)  Unfortunately, it’s  kind of scary, misleading message that everyone loves to share, as if it’s a public service.

As if parents just aren’t worried enough yet.

On another note, the mention of “750,000 Registered Child Predators” at the end is wrong. There are indeed over 750,000 registered sex offenders, but the majority of people on the registry do not pose a threat to kids.

That’s not just me saying this. Here’s a piece in The Economist quoting a study done by the Georgia Sex Offender Registration Review Board (not a state that’s soft on crime). The study found that of the 17,000 people on Georgia’s state registry, 5% were “clearly dangerous” and just over 100 were “predators” compelled to prey on kids. But, of course, most people will assume if there are 17,000 registered sex offenders in Georgia there are 17,000 “registered child predators.”

Wrong.

So, like the Joey Salads video that showed a man going to the playground and luring children off to see his puppy, it’s not that this cannot be done. It’s that the whole “experiment” is premised on the idea that this is a common scenario. Which, thank god, it is not.

But it sure feels that way, thanks to videos like this. – L

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Remember: Your kids are in constant danger outside AND online!

Remember: Your kids are in constant danger outside AND online!

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133 Responses to “The Dangers of Social Media: Child Predator Social Experiment” — I.e., Boogeyman Out To Get Your Kids!

  1. oncefallendotcom August 11, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    This guy committed an actual crime. Register this chump!

  2. Warren August 11, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    Created a false profile, sought out and contacted these girls, groomed them for a couple of days, and lured them to a remote location alone…………………………..even with the parent’s consent this cannot be legal.

  3. anonymous mom August 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m aware of very few cases of older men pretending to be teens in order to lure girls. In nearly all cases of teen girls and older guys meeting online and then going on to meet in real life, the girl was well aware of the guy’s age and frequently had found him on a site intended for adults (like the Zach Anderson story).

    The “danger” the internet poses is not that some stranger will trick your teen daughter into thinking he’s a peer and then coerce her into sex but that your daughter will seek out sex with an older guy who in many cases is not going to say no. And that isn’t good. But we need to deal with reality, not fantasy.

    Otherwise it’s like imagining that the danger of teen drinking is that some predatory adult will lure your child into a club by telling them it’s really a toy store and then coerce them into drinking. Could that happen? I guess. But, much more likely is that your kid will seek out a fake ID, willingly enter the club, and eagerly start drinking. Yes, it’s fine and good to go after bartenders and club owners who serve drinks without checking IDs or convenience store clerks who sell beer to underage teens, but clearly the primary way to address the problem is to get teen’s to change their own behavior.

    It’s possible that there will be a drug dealer standing outside your kids’ school pretending to be having a bake sale and trick them into eating a pot brownie. But, it’s far more likely that your teen will willingly seek out drugs. Again, that doesn’t let the dealer off the hook, but it’s a different problem with a different solution.

    The problem is not adult predators tricking and coercing teen girls into meetings, but teen girls willingly seeking out hook-ups with older guys (often guys in their 20s). If we don’t like it–and I don’t think we should like it!–we need to not simply condemn the guys but also hold these teens responsible for their own behavior and start talking to girls about why looking for hook-ups online is something they should not do, just like they shouldn’t buy drugs and shouldn’t use a fake ID to get into bars to drink.

  4. Rebecca August 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    This is insane, I just don’t understand the reasoning behind ‘setting’ your child up like this.

    Maybe these parents should be looking at the reason ‘why’ their child is reaching out instead of the ‘what’ could happen.

    smh

  5. bob magee August 11, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    Ok – we have a number of things wrong with this “experiment”

    1) where did he find these three families? How many parents rejected this idea?

    2) are these the only three families in this “experiment”? That is, is he claiming 100% of the subjects went for this ruse? If not, how many did NOT fall for this crap. Excuse me – meant “trap”

    3) if not for the parents, how would this Coby person know how to get in touch with them? He did not present evidence that the girls sought out these encounters. So absent that info this is nothing more than a targeted sting designed to entrap these girls. Why does he not show the 3-4 days of texts? How often did he ask for a face to face and they said no?

    4) the 1st girl went to a public playground during day hours and there were other people present. Not wise regarding not knowing who actually was online, but not like going to an out of the way location in a strange part of town. Since the other 2 were at night, I think this girl was also asked to meet at night and refused.

    the 2nd girl was waiting for her father to fall asleep – what was the time of this encounter since it appears that the meeting was not in middle of night? Does the father regularly go to sleep and leave his daughter up alone? She did say she was lonely, so more to this story than meets the eye.

    the 3rd girl was left home alone as her parents went out. Was this the 1st time left alone? Hard to believe those parents would regularly do this, so this seems like an “opportunity crime” – something she would not do unless presented to her.

    I have daughters so I understand why parents are concerned, but establishing trust is best parental gift. Not so sure these parents have fully succeeded in that area.

    I do hope all three of these families can work past this manipulative and exploitive bit of self aggrandizing video.

    Oh – points to video guy for driving a van with “child abductor white” paint.

  6. Steve August 11, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    I have said this several times before: (and oddly, nobody has ever commented on it)

    Years ago, there was an investigative TV show in which a TV team went to a shopping mall and tricked unsuspecting Adults into walking out of the mall with them and getting into a car before telling them it was a hoax.

    Okay, so Adults – the “smart parents” who are SO SURE they should be with their kids to protect them can be tricked. What does this tell us?

    I suspect almost anybody could be tricked.

    The problem with many parents is they give their kids no credit for having any ability to suspect suspicious behavior. I would like to see a bunch of hoaxing of helicopter parents to demonstrate how clueless THEY are.

  7. That_Susan August 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    My older daughter (15) has had a Facebook account since she was 13, and we’ve never told her that she can’t friend strangers online — just as we never told her “don’t talk to strangers” when she was younger. The danger is not in conversations, but in giving out personal information or going off alone to meet someone you don’t know. Someone in another state said she was planning to drive through our state on vacation, and asked our daughter if they could get together when she came through, and our daughter asked us and I said that we’d take her to meet this person somewhere, but we wouldn’t send her off alone with a stranger. She never heard back so maybe the trip never happened.

    It’s hard to make judgments about parent-child relationships based on just one video, but I find myself hard-put to figure out why these young girls were sneaking around behind their parents’ backs rather than saying, “I’ve been chatting with a cute guy that I’d like to meet in person. Can you take me somewhere to meet him?” It seems like the simplest thing in the world to take your daughter to a park or an inexpensive restaurant, meet the guy with her, and say hi, and then tell your daughter “Let me know when you’re ready to go” or, if time is limited, “We have an hour,” and then go sit at another table (or park bench) and read a book so they can chat a while.

    The fact that one of the girls gave the guy her address and opened the door to him, and another went and got into the guy’s vehicle, makes me wonder if their parents were so adamant about “stranger danger!” while they were growing up that those girls just went to the other extreme and stupidly assumed that everyone (especially a guy who knew how to post a cute picture on the Internet) was safe and their parents were just paranoid morons.

    As to the girl who walked to a public park to meet the guy in broad daylight, this doesn’t seem all that risky, though, as a parent, I’d honestly rather be aware about the situation and also be there — although as I’ve already said, if the guy actually had been close to her age instead of 30, I’d have allowed them plenty of space to chat while I read a book some distance away.

  8. bsolar August 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    @That_Susan “It’s hard to make judgments about parent-child relationships based on just one video, but I find myself hard-put to figure out why these young girls were sneaking around behind their parents’ backs rather than saying, “I’ve been chatting with a cute guy that I’d like to meet in person. Can you take me somewhere to meet him?””

    Typically because the answer often would be “I don’t want you to meet him, so you’re not going to meet him. End of discussion”.

  9. anonymous mom August 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    “The fact that one of the girls gave the guy her address and opened the door to him, and another went and got into the guy’s vehicle, makes me wonder if their parents were so adamant about “stranger danger!” while they were growing up that those girls just went to the other extreme and stupidly assumed that everyone (especially a guy who knew how to post a cute picture on the Internet) was safe and their parents were just paranoid morons.”

    Along with this, I would venture to guess that most forcible sexual assault of young women is perpetrated by guys around their age, not older guys. Just like, most women are raped or assaulted by romantic partners, or ex-partners, than by strangers. By focusing so obsessively on the danger that “strangers” may pose to people, I think we do leave many people thinking the world can be clearly and neatly divided into “dangerous” people and “safe” people, and of course most of us assume that those who know and like are “safe.” (And certainly things like the sex offender registry do nothing to disabuse us of this idea.) But women and children are both in much more likely to have a violent crime perpetrated against them by somebody they know and trust (and, for teens, who is around their age) than by some creepy stranger, and it’s more likely somebody’s daughter will be raped or murdered by the nice-seeming guy she’s dating than by some stranger she meets online.

    (Just like we never talk about how a huge amount of sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by other, slightly older children, but instead assume that when we talk about rates of sexual abuse we are always talking about abuse perpetrated by an adult.)

  10. wahoofive August 11, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    In a bizarre way, maybe this experiment actually taught something constructive. Since most violations of minors are perpetrated by trusted family members, having the parents involved in this ruse sends the message “don’t trust your family members.”

    Probably not the best way to send this message, but hey, if it keeps even one girl from being molested by her dad, then (sorry I can’t continue this sentence with a straight face).

  11. That_Susan August 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    @bsolar: “Typically because the answer often would be ‘I don’t want you to meet him, so you’re not going to meet him. End of discussion’.”

    That’s kind of what I was thinking. While I understand that some sneaking around may be motivated solely by the thrill of trying to get away with something without getting caught (like those shoplifters who really have plenty of money to buy what they’re stealing), it seems to me like the sneaky behavior of these three girls — especially the really stupid behavior of the one who let the guy into her house and the one who got into the car with him — was motivated by a sense that their parents really didn’t care if their lives were boring and their social needs weren’t being met.

    And here, I’m not talking about the “I’m bored — entertain me” mentality, but simply about the fact that as kids grow, many of them start craving an ever-widening social canvas. For us middle-aged parents, it can be challenging to remember when we were that energetic. We’re in a different phase of life: we’ve (hopefully) branched out from our families of origin and established families of our own; we may still really enjoy meeting new people and making new friends, but our energy is now a lot more focused on those in our immediate families and on the work that we’re doing to increase our financial security and provide the best opportunities we can to our kids.

    Our kids, of course, are in that branching-out phase that we went through so long ago. Home and the immediate family are their reference-points, and a place to find rest and refuge when they get burned out in the great big world, but their energy and interest is still almost solely focused on that great big world. It’s as it should be — but it can feel exhausting to those of us who spent many years helicoptering. It’s just so much easier to helicopter a little one who always wants you around anyway. 🙂

  12. E August 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Ok, the first Dad and the third’s parents gave ME a heart attack! Holy crap, did they think that frightening them in a physical manner was necessary on top of the whole “gotcha” plan!?

    The girls did make some stupid mistakes (perhaps not the first girl, that was at least daylight and not alone). As a parent, even if you understand that the internet is part of the social fabric today, you would hope they’d meet “boys” at a mall or the movies, not by jumping in the white van (which actually made me chuckle since it was so on the nose) or opening their front door.

    Ugh though.

  13. That_Susan August 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    @anonymous mom: “By focusing so obsessively on the danger that ‘strangers’ may pose to people, I think we do leave many people thinking the world can be clearly and neatly divided into ‘dangerous’ people and ‘safe’ people, and of course most of us assume that those who know and like are ‘safe.'”

    That’s very true. That’s why I hate the extreme stance of “Never talk to or interact with a stranger.” Rather than labeling certain people as “dangerous,” why not think in terms of having different levels of trust for different people, based on factors like how long we’ve known them and how trustworthy their behavior has been thus far?

    A stranger is not a “danger” to talk with — we just take our time getting to know people before thinking of them as trusted friends.

  14. That_Susan August 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    @wahoofive: “In a bizarre way, maybe this experiment actually taught something constructive. Since most violations of minors are perpetrated by trusted family members, having the parents involved in this ruse sends the message ‘don’t trust your family members.’

    Probably not the best way to send this message, but hey, if it keeps even one girl from being molested by her dad, then (sorry I can’t continue this sentence with a straight face).”

    Spot on! I enjoyed this so much I just had to repeat it.

  15. elizabeth August 11, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Ive had my facebook since i was sixteen. It wouldnt let me create a fake name. I had to use my real one. The fact that i can use my real name without fear means that the internet is quite safe. I have international friends via tumblr, and theyre all very nice and understanding when i need advice. So to heck with the paranoia of today’s society.

  16. Papilio August 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    It reminds me the most of… the actual news of the last few days:

    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/07/man-faces-sexual-abuse-charges-in-online-grooming-case/

    Sooooo… As much as I hate scaremongering, this guy does have a point.

  17. Tx gal August 11, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    I think this taught these girls a lesson. 1) do not believe everything you read online and 2) your parents just may be watching you at any time.

    While this guy may be scaremongoring, you may also be blissfully naive. We live in an upscale area in Northern TX. For the past two school years, there have been several attempted abductions of kids in route to and from school. Stranger danger is real, and your children need to 1) be attended and 2) be taught to be aware. This video shows how the lack of either can result in a tragedy. These kids being left unattended, with opportunity, is part of the problem.

  18. E August 11, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    @Papilio, I don’t think most adults would meet strangers on the internet and that quickly meet them face to face and that alone (presuming there isn’t a mutual friend involved). I guess I don’t know the first thing about on-line dating personally, but I do know that most people I’ve known that do it, wouldn’t invite them to their home (address and all) or get into the vehicle as their first action in meeting. Seems very unwise for 12/13/14 year olds.

    Yes, the internet can be a safe place for the majority of people, but there are a lot of things to consider and it’s easy to be duped. My Mom was duped on some quality looking spam and I consider her pretty savvy for her age (sets up her own modem/router). Just this morning I got a really good email concerning google drive that had me click (once) before I realized it was sketchy. And I’m an IT person.

    There are people that use the internet to deceive.

    These kids are at the age where parents begin to realize that no matter what you do, say, suggest, or model as behavior, they are old enough to be left alone (or go with friends) and nothing you can do about their decision making while they are gone. It’s a frustrating and sometimes scary phase of parenting.

  19. lollipoplover August 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    I can’t watch this video. Not without wine.

    The perceived and real risks of *online* predators is just another opportunity to make money for companies with tracking software and keep parents up all night cyberstalking their own children.
    But kids will always outsmart parents and find other ways to take risks. Just look at Snapchat.

    I am not a fan of most forms of social media. Between oversharing personal information, duckface young girls, and those who have Facebook balls (see the comments on the viral FB video Lenore posted a few days ago) and say things they would never say to someone in person, I DO think there are many real dangers. Couple that with hormones and poor judgement, and young teens who don’t get regular social opportunities to meet with kids their own age because of parents who think they are keeping them safe are going to find risks (like posing suggestive photos) and look for attention online.

    “The problem is not adult predators tricking and coercing teen girls into meetings, but teen girls willingly seeking out hook-ups with older guys (often guys in their 20s).”

    These teens are WILLINGLY seeking attention online. We, as parents, need to figure out WHY. Painting teens as victims, not responsible for their poor choices does not help.

  20. John August 11, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    I’m afraid if I watch this video, I’ll just get soooooo pissed off!

  21. anonymous mom August 11, 2015 at 4:49 pm #

    @Papilio, that kind of situation is exceedingly rare. The Zach Anderson type situation–guy is seeking out an adult to hook up with on a site/app where adults meet other adults, and ends up meeting an interested underage person–is much more common. And, every “predator” sting they run involves not going into places where kids go and trying to find somebody attempting to lure them into meeting for sex but going into places where adults go to seek out sex and pretending to be a sexually-experienced, horny teen knowing full well what they are getting into.

    I think there needs to be a good balance of common sense and wariness. Because, even if the guy telling your daughter he is 15 actually *is* 15, that doesn’t mean he’s a safe person to meet. I mean, just a week or so ago we were talking about the 15 year old who murdered his neighbor. Going to meet a person you only know online in person by yourself is probably a bad idea in most cases, and parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of that, no matter what the age of the person. If you portray it as, “Well, there might be some creepy 50 year old guy out there trying to trick you into thinking he’s 14 and he’d be really dangerous,” your kid is going to 1) assume that a guy who really is 14 is NOT dangerous and 2) assume that if a guy she’s talking to doesn’t seem creepy or dangerous, he must actually be 14. It becomes this weird tautology where we decide that people cannot be dangerous because they do not fit our stereotype of what a dangerous person looks like.

    People, including teens, are going to be dating and meeting people via the internet more and more. We should be teaching how them to do it safely. Even if somebody is definitely absolutely your age and seems super nice, you need to take basic precautions: meet in a public place, bring somebody else with you, etc. If one of my kids wanted to meet up with a person they’d met online, I’d most likely suggest they came over to our house, and if they were unwilling to do so, I’d be a bit wary of that person. But there is nothing unique here to older guys pretending to be teens (which is a really uncommon scenario because, again, there’s plenty of teen girls fully willing and eager to hook up with older guys, so even if a guy were really, really hoping to get with a teen, he really doesn’t have much incentive to lie), and an actual 15 year old could pose just as much danger to your child as somebody 30.

  22. M August 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    “The “danger” the internet poses is not that some stranger will trick your teen daughter into thinking he’s a peer and then coerce her into sex but that your daughter will seek out sex with an older guy who in many cases is not going to say no.”

    THIS.

    Teens do things they know are wrong and potentially dangerous. They drink, have unprotected sex, do drugs, drive recklessly, lie, and stay out past curfew. They make these choices willingly, if stupidly.

    Assuming all the risk comes from the outside means you aren’t looking at what your teen is actually doing of their own volition.

  23. momoffourgirls August 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    I’m stunned by all the negative remarks you folks are leaving. Have you raised a teenage girl? (Or boy, for that matter, let’s not be sexist..). God love the little poops, but they have NO brains!! Maybe the girls shown here have been relentlessly disobedient, and this is the drastic measure the parents have stooped to to get the girls’ attention. I don’t think it’s necessary to delve into the possibilities and “what if’s” in the parent/daughter dynamic; the girls made these horrible decisions, to me, that says it all. Who cares how many other parents said “no” to the idea, or how many other kids didn’t fall for it. These girls did and it scares the shit outta me.
    Remember the tv series, “Scared Straight”? That’s all this is- parents resorting to dire circumstances to get their kids’ attention.

  24. momoffourgirls August 11, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    Also, what’s up with the idea that these are neglectful (my word, not yours) parents for leaving their girls alone? For cryin’ out loud, the girls shown here are 15 and 12, if I’m not mistaken. The one girl leaves her house in the middle of the day; another one is “alone” while her dad sleeps….so……..your point is???? Don’t take a nap even if, let’s say, you’ve worked a late shift or two? Follow your kid to the park in the middle of the day? I agree with Tx gal, that some posters here seem to be “blissfully naive”. I would reword that to “willfully ignorant”.

  25. Warren August 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    “Teens do things they know are wrong and potentially dangerous. They drink, have unprotected sex, do drugs, drive recklessly, lie, and stay out past curfew. They make these choices willingly, if stupidly.

    These are not teen specific actions. And I would bet that the number of adults doing these exact things far outnumber the number of teens doing them. But doesn’t everyone seem to think that it is only kids that don’t know better.

  26. lollipoplover August 11, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    @momoffourgirls-

    Tx gal said:

    “Stranger danger is real, and your children need to 1) be attended and 2) be taught to be aware. This video shows how the lack of either can result in a tragedy. These kids being left unattended, with opportunity, is part of the problem.”

    She blames the parents for leaving their packages, er, kids unattended. I really don’t see your point.

    I have a teenager. They do have brains and are capable of demonstrating good judgement if that is what the expectation is. We have rules and consequences for breaking them. I don’t expect to have to resort to such drastic tactics but won’t judge other parents if that’s what they need to do to help their teen. Personally, I don’t want to ever have to teach my kids a *lesson*, I prefer an ongoing discussion and sage advise given from experience. So far, so good.

  27. BL August 11, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    @momoffourgirls
    “God love the little poops, but they have NO brains!!”

    In your case, I suspect it’s hereditary.

  28. Crystal August 11, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

    Hi have a 13year old daughter who thinks that every boy on Facebook are her age and she adds them to to her Facebook and how do I get her to understand that there are perditars on Facebook because nothing I say to her she will not listen to me can you help

  29. JJ August 11, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    My kids are about this age and a major part of my parenting job is building trust both ways. I can’t imagine that any trust that existing between this girl and her parents has not been shattered by this event. Devastating.

  30. Dhewco August 11, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    Let’s don’t devolve into insulting each other, please. Everybody has a their own opinion and you can disagree without being insulting.

  31. Kimberly August 11, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    The biggest asset a parent can have in keeping their children safe is building a system of trust between the parent and child(ren). Parents need to be able to TRUST their children to make sound decisions. Children need to TRUST that if they make a mistake, or if something happens, their parents will be there for them.

    Tricking your child and then punishing them for falling for the trickery, publicly shaming your child through releasing a video, etc., does not build TRUST. What it does build is wariness.

    If I tricked my child into doing something wrong, then punished her for it, do you really think she’ll call me up for a ride home from a party she wasn’t supposed to attend? No. It’s more likely that she’ll get into a car with a person who has been drinking and hope that she makes it home without me finding out.

    If my child is attacked or raped while drinking at a club, will she come to me for help or support? No. It’s more likely she’ll hide it from me out of fear of getting a lecture.

    If my child finds herself in an abusive relationship with someone I don’t particularly care for, would she come to me for help? Probably not because I’ve already demonstrated that my first inclination is to punish.

    Thankfully, so far, my teens and I have relationships built on trust and dialogue. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been shy in discussing my own transgressions as a teen/young adult, I don’t know. What I DO know is that even though she rolls her eyes and poo-poo’s my advice, she still comes to me with her teenage problems.

  32. James Pollock August 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    “I’m stunned by all the negative remarks you folks are leaving. Have you raised a teenage girl? (Or boy, for that matter, let’s not be sexist..). God love the little poops, but they have NO brains!!”

    I have, and she does.

  33. James Pollock August 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Honesty and trust.

    “There’s no trouble you can be in that you can’t make it worse by lying about it.”

    My daughter was independent by nature, and didn’t need much monitoring when she reached her teen years… although she did get some unsolicited guidance from time to time. By the time they’re teenagers, you’ve already had nearly all of the chances you have to imprint your moral and philosophical views on them, and they’ve either taken or they haven’t.

    We disagreed on some things… the literary value of Stephanie Meyer’s oevre, the relative musical talent of Taylor Swift and John, Paul, George, and Ringo (individually and as a group), whether teenagers should complete their required reading assignments. I believe that if she’d thought she’d needed to, my daughter would have sought my aid. She didn’t make all the same decisions the way I would have. She didn’t make all right decisions (by virtue of hindsight). But… she is a smart, capable young woman. My work was done well.

  34. Grammy August 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    These parents had taught their children all they needed to know about internet safety. They didn’t think THEIR daughter would do this, but she did! Perhaps it will be real to these girls now. Perhaps it will help them not to be a victim. Kids always think it happens to someone else. Well, these girls learned it happened to them. It may save their life someday.

  35. K August 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    “but I find myself hard-put to figure out why these young girls were sneaking around behind their parents’ backs rather than saying, ‘I’ve been chatting with a cute guy that I’d like to meet in person. Can you take me somewhere to meet him?'”

    When I was a teenager, I became part of a close-knit online community populated by a mix of teenage girls and (mostly young) adult women. While the message board was interest-based, we ended talking about anything and everything, e-mailing each other, chatting in other forums, etc. I never told my parents ANY of it. They would have been pretty freaked out by the thought of me “talking to strangers” online. (They never went overboard on in-person stranger danger warnings, but the internet was a scary and relatively new place that they weren’t familiar with.) In retrospect, I don’t know how they didn’t ask more questions about all the time I spent on the computer. I think they thought I had a LOT of homework. Some of the other girls/women became particularly close, met frequently in person, etc. Certainly, with enough research, all of them could have figured out how to track me down, if they’d been so inclined. There were absolutely cases where people turned out not to be who they said they were, and at least one case that I recall where someone took advantage of another community member in real life, but there was no physical danger involved – just a bunch of half truths that I think led to some moderate financial support.

    But overall, what I got out of that group was a lot of support during the turbulent adolescent years. I wasn’t particularly popular, and there were plenty of Friday nights where my options were sitting at home watching TV or sitting at home chatting with friends I’d never met. I much preferred the latter, and do think it was the healthier choice, though I’m not sure my parents would have agreed.

    The one thing that I did do that was kind of stupid in retrospect was to meet another member, alone, without telling anyone where I was going or who I was meeting. She was exactly who she was supposed to be, we had a lovely dinner, and it was nice to finally “meet” a long-time friend. But I don’t think it was a particularly smart way to go about it. But we stayed in public and I think the risk was fairly small either way.

    Those AOL boards were disbanded and we mostly lost touch. A few years ago, some of them started tracking down the other members on facebook, and many of us have reconnected, which is really nice. They’re a really diverse group, and have been great resources in many, varied fields. I would gladly meet many of them in person if given the opportunity (these days, I’d tell my husband where I was going!)

    I think some of the issue is a generational one – digital natives have a really different perspective on things happening on the internet than their parents, and today’s teens, perhaps rightly, feel like their parents don’t understand the internet as a natural extension of “real life.”

    Having had such a positive experience connecting with “strangers” on the internet, I really can’t stand the alarmism of these internet danger messages.

  36. Warren August 11, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    Watching the video, as stomach churning as it is, things become very apparent. The parents, the parents, the parents.

    I am willing to bet for the sake of this experiment, the parents for the first time were not looking over their kids shoulder constantly. Therefore when their daughters had the chance to do something sneaky, they took it.

    Any parent willing to use scare tactics as a way to drive home a point, needs to look inward at what they are doing more than looking at their kids actions.

  37. Donald August 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    Compulsive child protection is the same as compulsive hand washing except for one key difference. If you wash your hands 50 times but still think they have germs on them then YOU are the one with the painful/raw hands. However if you are a compulsive child protector, your child is the one with painful/raw childhood. (trust issues)

  38. CrazyCatLady August 11, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    My neice is 13. This year a classmate decided to pose as older on an online site, got on a train and went to meet the guy in another state. He raped her. My niece thinks this former classmate is a twit and was really stupid. She is sorry for what happened, but those are not choices that she would make.

    My daughter (15) agrees with me. Friend only your friends, that is…people whom you have actually met. I have very few friends on FB, comparitively, and it is fine. My daughter thinks so too.

    And why only girls? The boys wouldn’t go? Or, it isn’t so bad when it happens to your sons?

  39. Donald August 11, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    “MAKALA ARE YOU CRAZY? HE COULD HAVE BEEN A RAPIST??!!!!???!!!!”

    What does a rapist need Facebook for? Rape has been a problem centuries before Facebook. I think the more likely outcome is that this adds resentment that she may already feel. Any safety this lesson added to their daughter’s life is GREATLY overshadowed by her added desire to get away from her controlling parents.

    Instead of making her safer, it’s more likely to chase her into something dangerous.

    More can be read on this page
    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/tough-decision

  40. Kimberly August 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

    @ K

    I remember those AOL boards. I, too, spent a lot of time chatting in the various rooms with people. There was one time, (we’d call them a troll now), managed to get my private information and posted just enough of it in the chat room that I knew they had everything they needed to find me. The moderator immediately banned the person and I never really thought of it after that.

    Twice I made “dates” to meet people that I’d gotten to know through the chat room. I never told my parents, because I knew they would freak the *f* out, but I gave my best friend all the information (meeting place, expected return time, etc.) just in case the person turned out to be a Ted Bundy type.

    Both guys were extremely nice, we had a great time hanging out, and both were exactly as they said they were. Neither meeting was romantic in nature.

    I’ve made a lot of decisions that a worst-case thinker would automatically assume would get me killed and a few that I’m lucky didn’t kill me. Meeting strangers? Yup. Hitchhiking? Yup. Hanging out and getting drunk with a bunch of (male) soldiers? Oh, yeah.

    Strangely, I came away unscathed and just fine.

  41. Donald August 11, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

    The 12 year old that gave her Facebook ‘friend’ made a bad decision. However this method of ‘scarring them straight’ will backfire. She won’t fall for a Facebook sting again. However there is an infinite number of other possible bad choices that she could make.

    Unfortunately this con will make her less likely to seek advice from her parents in the future and will giver her a bigger desire to get away from them.

  42. Uly August 11, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    Have you seen this article? Apparently, it’s not enough to disallow sex offenders access to kids (which is sometimes a reasonable proposition and sometimes not), but now they can’t be trusted to have a pet cat.

  43. Alex August 12, 2015 at 12:46 am #

    It’s important for parents to be aware of how easily children can be conned into things online — of course, some adults can be conned into things online too, especially those aged 60+ who don’t understand much about the Internet.

    Do I agree with everything said and done in the video? No, not really, but I find this one more reasonable than the toddler abduction one at least. I believe there more kids who meet up with adults from the Internet (with some proportion of those being bad) than toddler park abductions.

    I guess what I’m saying is I agree with this video being used as awareness that children can be duped more easily than their parents may realize, but I don’t agree with this video being used as a reason to lock our kids up and send them in a time machine back to the Stone Age.

  44. Alex August 12, 2015 at 12:55 am #

    To clarify, I don’t think yelling at the kids like that is okay. It’s much better to just rationally explain what could go wrong and tell them to be careful and let mom&dad know before meeting someone.

    So the video *could’ve* had a good message but didn’t really get used in that way, since the YouTubers wanted theater and views.

  45. Kimberly August 12, 2015 at 1:58 am #

    So, the video has made it into an article on Yahoo! Parenting:

    https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/parents-and-video-prankster-lure-teens-on-facebook-126444614327.html

    Interesting article with a lot of insight from Ms. Skenazy herself including:

    ““To me, they are completely humiliating their kids in a misguided effort to keep them safe from a very unlikely danger.”

    The journalist then goes on to quote a 2013 study that was published in the Journal of Pediatrics:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/01/08/peds.2012-1281.abstract

    and uses that study to prove that “…these kinds of encounters aren’t all that rare. According to that research, about 30 percent of teen girls surveyed admitted to meeting someone in real life who they had previously only spoken to online, without fully confirming the person’s identity beforehand.”

    According to the actual study:

    Only 251 adolescent girls between the ages of 14 and 17 were studied. Of these, 130 were considered by the researchers to have “experienced substantiated maltreatment”. The other 121 test subjects were “demographically matched comparison girls”.

    That means that of the 251 test subjects, only 75.3 reported having offline meetings. Of these 75 girls, “maltreatment, adolescent behavioral problems, and low cognitive ability were uniquely associated with high-risk Internet behaviors.”

    So basically, this study has really helped to support what a lot of people have been saying in response to the video in regards to the home lives of the girls videotaped for this “experiment”. Of course, as is par for the course, the facts have been twisted to make it seem like our children are in need of constant supervision.

  46. hineata August 12, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    Can’t watch the video, just know I will up chuck.

    Have been worried this past few months because my 14 year old seems to have given up on life outside of school and activities , which are many. Seems I should be happy she prefers hanging out at home on the couch, or baking, or whatever her latest craft gig is.

    A bit OT, but reflects kids DO have good brains. Last night she was about halfway through her paper run and it was pitch dark. …only 6pm but wintertime. A ‘nice drunk’ (her words) woman decided she would be her ‘friend’ and follow her around. No particular bad vibes, but this made her uncomfortable. She asked the woman to watch the papers and ducked into a friend’s grandfather’s place to call me. Koro (grandad) and I were pleased she used common sense. As I say, probably no harm would have come to her but good to use one’s intuition.

  47. tammy August 12, 2015 at 3:08 am #

    this happens all the time,i have known a few girls who have done this,its just stupid,this is not a joke,kids need to get it threw there heads,just because they act nice to you,doesnt mean everyone is friendly,and wont hurt you,they think it wont happen to them,i bet all the girls that this did happen to thought they where invisible that this would never happen to them,and look where there at now?

  48. anonymous mom August 12, 2015 at 7:14 am #

    I think that warning teens and parents about the dangers of engaging in high-risk behaviors on the internet–creating sexually-provocative profiles, pretending to be older than you are, going to sites where adults go to meet other adults for sex–is wise. I really do. Because these are behaviors that are not healthy for teens, and, as I already said, there are plenty of men–way more than 750K!–out there who would not say no to a teen girl ready and willing and eager for sex. Most of these men are in their 20s, and they are not predators but guys thinking with something other than their brain. Engaging in high-risk behaviors online poses a danger both to the girls–who may very well end up in situations that they are not nearly as prepared for as they had imagined–and the guys–many of whom, like Zach Anderson, are not that much older than the girls and have no idea of the legal trouble they can get into. We should absolutely discourage high-risk behaviors online.

    The problem with videos like this is that they create the impression that teens engaging in low-risk behaviors online are at significant risk, that “child predators” are seeking out innocent teens just going about their normal, teenage, low-risk, non-sexual business online and “luring” them into meetings. Does this happen? I’m sure it happens, very rarely, just like I’m sure sometimes a person is tricked into eating a pot brownie when all they wanted was a regular brownie. But is it at all common? No. Teens who are engaging in non-sexual, low-risk internet activities are incredibly unlikely to come across anybody seeking to pressure them into meeting for sex.

    The reality is that the teens who are being “solicited” for sex are teens engaging in the high-risk behaviors of posting sexually-explicit material online, having sexually-provocative profiles, and going to sexually-oriented sites, and having interactions with guys who are not hiding either their ages or their intentions. Of course they should not be doing these things! Of course they are not good ideas! But, we need to be honest about the fact that the danger the internet poses is to teens engaged in these high-risk behaviors, not that there are almost a million predators out there targeting teens engaged in low-risk behavior, or else we will mishandle the situation badly.

  49. Donna August 12, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    So much of this freak out is about the parental generation not really using the internet as a social tool so their only view of this aspect comes from Law & Order SVU. To them it is dark, scary place.

    I have both met friends and mates online. It really isn’t all that scary of a place. The friends I made were in interest group chat rooms. Some of us ultimately met in person and for a few years, until career and family got in the way, a small subgroup of us had an annual get together. Thanks to this group, I’ve been on a hot air balloon ride, toured a TV set, ate lunch with the cast and met Chuck Norris. I’ve been to some of their homes; know their spouses and children. 15 years later, I am still in touch with a handful. We are too busy to get together regularly anymore, but we keep up with each other online and arrange get-togethers if we happen to be in the same place at the same time.

    Back in my younger days, I also did some online dating. Just like the real world of dating, some people were bizarre and some great. I dated one guy I met online for over a year and another for 5 years. I have a few friends who are married to people they met online. If I had time to date now, I would go online again. It was mostly a positive experience. I met some duds, but nobody scary.

    Parents need to accept the social aspect of the internet. Teach kids how to navigate it safely, rather than treating it as a total no-no. Stunts like this don’t make most teens less inclined to use it to meet people, it just forces them underground. And, like everything else we try to ban, holding out meeting people online as a prohibited practice just makes it more desirable to many teens.

  50. lollipoplover August 12, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    “i bet all the girls that this did happen to thought they where invisible that this would never happen to them,and look where there at now?”

    I bet it’s very hard to look for them, especially if you can’t actually see them, being invisible and all.

  51. BL August 12, 2015 at 8:54 am #

    “I bet it’s very hard to look for them, especially if you can’t actually see them, being invisible and all.”

    Yeah, I hope they’re not counting on motorists seeing them in designated pedestrian crossings.

  52. lollipoplover August 12, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    @BL-
    I think you may be making some assumptions about their method of travel. Maybe they travel by Invisible Jet like Wonder Woman (though her plane is on loan to the Smithsonian).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig4aJey9QZM

  53. GoogleMaster August 12, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    @E, “I don’t think most adults would meet strangers on the internet and that quickly meet them face to face and that alone (presuming there isn’t a mutual friend involved). I guess I don’t know the first thing about on-line dating personally, but I do know that most people I’ve known that do it, wouldn’t invite them to their home (address and all) or get into the vehicle as their first action in meeting.”

    Read this article in the September Vanity Fair and prepare to have your eyes opened wrt the “hit it and forget it” culture of today’s 19-to-29-year-olds:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating

  54. v.v August 12, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    I have read many of the comments left here and I see valid points in them all. I would like to point out that this was a social experiment, and to answer @bob magee’s questions craigslist ads were used to recruit the parents and there were many families involved and there were teens that did not take the bait so he moved on with the ones that did bite and these are the ones that are seen in the video. Sometimes as parents you have to watch your kids fall and be there to pick them up. Or in this case show them the error that they made. I say power the parents in this video for putting their kids in check. THE BOOGEYMAN IS NOT OUT TO GET YOUR KIDS BUT DIRTY DAN IN THE WHITE VAN IS. It always breaks my heart to see these kinds of stories on the news but maybe this was meant to get parents talking to kids again. I say this is a useful tool to watch with your kids if you think you might not be getting your message across. Its always the confident parents that are caught by surprise.

  55. God_is_Family August 12, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Yes. The children on these videos are feeling shamed in public but I bet they don’t make the same mistake again! It is a good video showing how easy it could be for someone who wants to hurt a child to get to them. Point well made Coby Persin. As for people criticizing Coby and the parents…you missed the point. Better to overdo the lesson then for your son or daughter to wind up a victim.

  56. thomas August 12, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    Lenore, you are pathetic and brain dead.

  57. Janet August 12, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    What worries me about stuff like this is it shows the wrong kind of folk how easy it is! Because we’ve all been there as young teens we’ve all lied to our parents some how or other to go out meet a boy or go somewhere we shouldn’t etc, raging hormones are to blame and some kids are gullible even tho’ we tell them all the stories of what might happen sometimes they just don’t listen because they want to do what they want! Sadly there are these evil predators out there ready to pounce! You can’t look at your child thro’ rose coloured specs thinking they wouldn’t do that because as proved they will, just as those kids shocked their parents in this video! All you can do is arm them with the facts and hope and pray it doesn’t happen to your child and be vigilant as to what they’re up to!

  58. Joan August 12, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    I didn’t watch all the way through, but it seems to me like the first girl should be held up as an example of how one should behave when making friends online. She met someone who appeared to be a peer online, spent a few days getting to know him digitally, and then decided to meet IRL. This is not anything unusual for this generation of teens, who conduct so much of their lives online. For the IRL meeting, she chose a public space, with lots of people around – a nice safe area that she presumably knows well, since she walked over. That’s a great choice. For all we know, as soon as she realized the guy she was meeting wasn’t the teen she thought but a creepy older man, she would have told him to get lost, or called the police. If he’d tried anything, she could have screamed, and in the busy park full of families, someone would have helped her. But sadly her dad didn’t wait to see if she could handle herself, and instead chose to scare and shame her for behaving as a normal teen.

  59. E August 12, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    @Google-Master, I’ll read the article, but one night stands were not created with the internet. Going to a bar and finding someone to sleep with is not new (for those that go for that). Perhaps tinder can make that easier, sure. I’ve talked to my 20 somethings about tinder. One of my son’s has a roommate that uses it (my kid has a long-term gf, so he doesn’t). It can be used for everything from sending “joke” obnoxious messages (to see if the girls would respond in kind) as a type of entertainment (which I find ridiculous/offensive) to hookups, to meeting people who are friends of your friends.

    My point is that people/adults who are actually interested in meeting friends/mates via the internet like these young girls were (can we give them at least enough credit to believe they thought they were meeting a cute new-to-town boy, and not a sexual hookup? They were 12/13/14), would not proceed to meet them in a van or open their front door within DAYS of learning of their online presence?

    Of course people have one night stands, would never suggest otherwise.

  60. The Ranting Monkey August 12, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    So, if someone’s child is abducted and killed, would you console them by simply saying, “hey, no big deal about little Susie, it’s rare”?

    You’re so concerned with being a friend to your child you don’t care at all about their safety. The purpose of these videos is to educate. You can educate and care for your child. In fact, you should. Ignoring dangers, even if they’re rare, doesn’t make them go away.

    Children are not miniadults. As a parent, your job is to guide them, protect them, care for them. It’s not to be the cool mom. Your children may be doing well but it is in spite of your asinine theory, not because of it.

  61. Linda Renfro August 12, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    The parents need to be parents. If this gets the CHILDREN attention, use it. I would rather traumatize the child and still be able to love on them and teach them more at home then to be calling the police because my child has been abducted by a stranger they met online. That’s the reality of today’s society.

  62. Buffy P August 12, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    I would much rather keep my children safe from strangers and scare them then be there friend and have to report a missing child. It’s time for all of these new age parents to take a step back and see what is happening to out society because of all this craziness. You cannot reason with a 2 year old and sometimes you have to let teenagers know that all of the missing kids thought that it would not happen to them.

  63. Jacqueline August 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m a 22 year old female and I grew up with social media. I experienced plenty of strage guys requesting to be my friend on Facebook, especially when I was around the age of 13. I never friended anyone that I didn’t know, but I had a few friends that did. One of my friends met up with the “cute boy” she had never met at the movies. She told her parents to drop her off to meet friends but she was really meeting this guy. Turns out he was 17 and for some reason very interested in my 13 year old friend. He asked her a lot of personal questions and ended up convincing her to go back to his car with him. As she got closer to the car, she felt uncomfortable. He kept telling her to get in and started getting mad. Luckily, she ran back into the theater and called her parents to come get her.
    It is definitely not uncommon for someone to try to add you on social media that doesn’t know you. And it’s not uncommon for them to start messaging you or ask to meet in person. A lot of times people can find these young girls through groups that kids are a part of, including a group of their school or pages that they like. For parents who didn’t grow up with Facebook, they typically don’t realize how easy it is for a young woman to be convinced to meet up with a boy they think is cute. I would say every few months a girl receives requests from guys they don’t know. So it may not happen “every day” but it happens often enough that girls need to be more educated on what could happen if they talk to these people. I think having them see videos like this will help them realize how scary of a situation it could turn into if they decide to meet a stranger. Every young girl should see the video.

  64. Cedric August 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    When cops do this isnt it entrapment? Even if he did it with permission that act itself is illegal otherwise. You can’t authorize an illegal act just because YOU think its okay.

  65. MichelleB August 12, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    The rule at our house is that if my kids want to meet up with one of their online friends, I’ll drive them to a public place. (The theory, which I heard from another parent years ago, is that “Great, my mom will drive me!” is going to weed out anyone who isn’t exactly who they say they are.) Lots of my daughter’s online friendships have developed into face-to-face ones. Nothing remotely scary has ever happened.

    What bugs me most about that video is that they blur the faces, but show the houses the girls are walking out of. How many people are watching who know exactly who they are? (I would be so happy if the whole thing was fake and it turned out that the girls were in on it.)

  66. Cedric August 12, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    TX Girl- Were they actually attempted abductions or were they like this (similar to emails/notes I have gotten from our kids’ elem. school here in Nebraska) “Police were called today because ‘someone’ was outside the school that no one knew talking to kids. This might have been an attempted abduction though kids said the person was looking for their dog. STRANGER DANGER OMGWTF WHarGARBLE lock up your kids!!!”

    Your friendly neighborhood school administrator

  67. Warren August 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    I propose a new social experiment. One that shows parents the dangers of people approaching them to do and experiment on how easy their kids will fall into the hands of a predator.

    1. Approach parents and convince them you want to record their child being lured online to meet.
    2. Lure and arrange a meeting with the child.
    3. Tell the parent to meet you at a location.
    4. Tell the child to meet you a different location.
    5. After a couple of hours show up at the parents location in a white panel van, with their hooded child.
    6. Berate the parents for not protecting their children. And for trusting complete strangers.

  68. John August 12, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    @Buffy P……Buffy, I take it that you have not spent much time, if any, on this site.

  69. That_Susan August 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    @momoffourgirls — I’m in the midst of raising two girls who are currently 15 and 10, so I can’t of course say that I’ve successfully raised a teenager yet. However, my experience thus far has been that they still talk with me or their dad when they want to go meet a new person (well, so far this has just come up with our eldest) rather than feeling a need to sneak off and do so.

    I think K and Kimberly have both shared good insights about this. In spite of being 51 and not even learning to navigate the Internet until I was over 40, I’ve had similarly positive experiences with connecting with people through online discussions. Because of where I’m at in life, I’ve really felt no need to turn my online friends into face-to-face friends, although I did go to a picnic in a public park once when it was casually planned as a means of connecting a group of us who’d been communicating on a blog written by someone in our city, and it was fun.

    So when my older daughter started connecting with people online, my feelings were not at all similar to the feelings of K’s parents, as quoted here: “I never told my parents ANY of it. They would have been pretty freaked out by the thought of me ‘talking to strangers’ online.”

    As I’ve already mentioned, I see absolutely no risk to engaging in conversations with people I’ve never met before — I just don’t get into cars with them, follow them into dark alleys, and so on. And this is the attitude that I’ve always endeavored to convey to my children: there’s nothing wrong with “talking to” strangers — we just have different levels of trust with different people, based on our experience with them.

    So, based on my own very limited experience thus far, I’m inclined to believe that when children trust their parents not to “freak out” over the idea of them having conversations with strangers online, they’re a lot more inclined to talk with their parents about the best way to meet someone they’ve been chatting with. Whereas children who expect their parents to go ballistic over the online conversation, are a lot more likely to assume that their parents are not the best ones to turn to when organizing the meeting.

    And when it comes to the girl who went and got into the white van, and the girl who gave her address and opened her door to the guy, it’s just extremely hard for me to imagine my own 15-year-old doing something so stupid (even when she was as young as these girls). It made me think that either they were severely mentally-challenged, OR, more likely, their parents had always been so quick to label EVERYTHING as dangerous that when the poor girls finally realized that MOST of what their parents were forbidding was perfectly safe, they just went to the other extreme and assumed that in all actuality, NOTHING was dangerous and they didn’t need to be cautious at all.

  70. That_Susan August 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    @Joan: “I didn’t watch all the way through, but it seems to me like the first girl should be held up as an example of how one should behave when making friends online. She met someone who appeared to be a peer online, spent a few days getting to know him digitally, and then decided to meet IRL. This is not anything unusual for this generation of teens, who conduct so much of their lives online. For the IRL meeting, she chose a public space, with lots of people around – a nice safe area that she presumably knows well, since she walked over. That’s a great choice. For all we know, as soon as she realized the guy she was meeting wasn’t the teen she thought but a creepy older man, she would have told him to get lost, or called the police. If he’d tried anything, she could have screamed, and in the busy park full of families, someone would have helped her. But sadly her dad didn’t wait to see if she could handle herself, and instead chose to scare and shame her for behaving as a normal teen.”

    I agree that the first girl was pretty smart about how she handled things. My only concern was that she felt like she had to wait till her parents were gone before she could leave the house. The dad’s crazy and overbearing reaction may actually offer a clue as to why she felt the need to be so devious and didn’t just say, “I’d like to meet a cute guy I’ve been chatting with at the park.”

  71. Liz August 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    I thought there were parents who were arrested for fake-kidnapping their son to teach him “stranger danger”?
    Any parent who thinks this is a good idea probably liked the schools that sent in armed police acting like mass murderers to “teach them how to handle the situation.”

  72. anonymous M August 12, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    All you fucking retards that have been commenting on this are just as ignorant as the girls whom he actually got to meet him. People open your eyes and see that it does not matter how much you speak to a child on strangers every one is curious in nature and if a GIRL meets a GUY she likes THEY WILL GO..you fking idiots.. this guy had consent from the girls parents and guess what each girl got a wake up call.. Maybe next time they should talk to their parents about the meeting. Or maybe go in a group of friends to meet the person. It goes both ways for male and females but since females now a day are more prone to open their vagina to any poking stick, I am glad they got scared for being stupid. No you cannot trust everyone you meet the first day not even through social media because everyone lies. So as far as this video I think it was perfect.

  73. Christopher Byrne August 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    We have such a corrupt view of what “research” is in our current environment. Sometimes it leaves me speechless. “Research,” “test” and “experiment” are trigger words that are being used to terrify parents, generate publicity for people behind this and give fodder to a news media that thrives on sensationalism. Thanks, Lenore, for constantly calling this irresponsible stuff out for what it is.

  74. Papilio August 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Guys, I never said this happens often, I justed linked to a news article that pretty much describes this exact situation in the real world. It happens. It’s news, so it doesn’t happen often, but still.

    “I’m inclined to believe that when children trust their parents not to “freak out” over the idea of them having conversations with strangers online, they’re a lot more inclined to talk with their parents about the best way to meet someone they’ve been chatting with. Whereas children who expect their parents to go ballistic over the online conversation, are a lot more likely to assume that their parents are not the best ones to turn to when organizing the meeting”

    I think That_Susan is right.
    It kind of comes down to the same principles as sex ed, doesn’t it? Teaching them not to do it at all won’t help, teaching them how to do it safely IF they’re going to do it, will (usually…).
    IF you’re going to meet someone you met online, do it during daytime in a public place, check first if they look like their picture (possible from a distance), stuff like that.

  75. Papilio August 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    @thomas: You do know there’s something like doctor-patient confidentiality, certainly, I imagine, when the diagnose is as grave as that? (Not sure how much use there is in telling the patient herself instead of the family, given the nature of the condition…)

  76. EricS August 12, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    The ONLY thing I agreed about this video, is the “scare tactic” of it. Sometimes you need to put things into perspective with kids who just never realize until it’s too late. Like many kids before them (including us), they think they are “invisible”. Or that “it will never happen to them”. We can teach them, and guide them, but they will always make the same mistakes we did. And they will learn from them. But in situations like this, if the parents have taught them correctly, is it’s ok to talk to strangers, but it’s not ok to go off with them. This applies to meeting strangers you find on Social Media as well.

    Sometimes “in your face” tactics work pretty well, and very quickly. It also opens a dialogue between the parents and kids. What did the parents fail to teach them, what did the kids not realize before, and how to get passed those things and learn, so it doesn’t happen again. Now granted, I’d like to think most kids have been taught better, and have a good head on their shoulders. That’s why I don’t believe teaching kids “don’t talk to strangers”. They’ll come to an age where they will anyway. Kids do tend to do things they are told not too.

    Growing up, I had a lot of leeway from my parents. As long as I followed certain rules, I was allowed to do many of what my friends were doing. I never had a curfew, I never even had a bedtime, and I got to come and go as I pleased (within reason of course), and because I knew I had less restrictions, I found myself not taking advantage of it, because I knew I could whenever I wanted to. Been there, done that mentality. It also allowed me to pay more attention to my surroundings, and people I came into contact with. Because I wasn’t worried about doing something I “wasn’t suppose to”.

    There are people who have used Social Media to lure kids, but those are pretty rare as well. But that doesn’t mean we should be complacent in teaching our kids how to be online. Knowledge IS power.

  77. Beth August 12, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    “You’re so concerned with being a friend to your child you don’t care at all about their safety.”

    Please read a little more, not just on this article but many others as well. I’d venture to guess very few parents who comment on this site care ANYTHING about being a friend to their kid.

    And to those who link from other sites, it’s acceptable to talk to us and make a counter-argument without using the f-word. It really, really is.

  78. EricS August 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    @ Tx gal: “These kids being left unattended, with opportunity, is part of the problem.”

    It’s not about being left unattended. It’s not being AWARE and EDUCATED. Telling your kid “because I said so”, instead of explaining to them WHY “you said so”, does far more harm than good. The parent ends up sounding like the crazy, unreasonable one. Of course kids with parents like these will rebel, or lash out. That is why I think sheltering/helicoptering your kids is so detrimental to them.

    Kids are going to do what they are going to do. Whether we like it or not. Unless we lock them up, literally. So the question is, are they going to do it behind your back, with no experience and no knowledge or what can happen and the things they can do? Or do we teach them everything they need to know, and trust they will keep these in mind when they traverse the world around them. In my own experience growing up, my parents taught me and let me out. I really had nothing to rebel against. So what was always in my head was, “I don’t want to disappoint my parents”. Or “I don’t want my parents thinking I’m stupid for not following what they taught me”. Yes, I made my mistakes as a kid, we all do. But, for major things like going off with strangers, accepting open food from strangers, and even telling strangers where I live, that was a no brainer for me. I just didn’t do it. That mentality has served me well over the years. And that is how I teach my own. I’m definitely far less stressed than most. And my kid is very well adjusted, smart, and observant. I sometimes even get corrected every now and then by him. 😉

    This applies to all forms of teaching. “A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.” Meaning, to cultivate a mind to think for themselves. And is it not every teachers’ dream for their students to surpass them?

  79. lollipoplover August 12, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    “All you fucking retards that have been commenting on this are just as ignorant as the girls whom he actually got to meet him.”

    Generally speaking, persuasive arguments aren’t won when started with “All you f-ing r*tards…”.

    I don’t understand the need to insult others who don’t share your viewpoint. It shows YOUR ignorance. And stop using the “R” word. Go in your bathroom now and stick a bar of soap in your mouth for using degrading and insulting language towards others. I’d be ashamed if my child spoke so rudely on the internet and it’s just as bad if you claim to be an adult or parent.

    How do you emulate responsible internet behavior for your children when using insulting language online to express yourself? To say “… since females now a day are more prone to open their vagina to any poking stick”, as if ALL girls are sluts, how do would your daughter feel about your observation of…her??

  80. Donna August 12, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    “I would rather traumatize the child and still be able to love on them”

    So this is all about you? You don’t care if your child is traumatized for life as long as you have her around to love on? I’m sure she appreciates that … as does the therapist she will pay tens of thousands of dollars to in the hopes of one day being untraumatized.

    My question about this is: did they talk to their daughters about internet safety only to be ignored BEFORE they did this? I could certainly see parents at the end of their rope with a child who was repeatedly acting in an unsafe manner concerning the internet despite their best efforts trying a scared-straight tactic like this. And it might work. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I didn’t see anything in the video to indicate that this was some last ditch attempt to scare straight some kids who were already acting in a dangerous manner. As a basic internet usage lesson, it sucks.

    This has shown up on my Facebook news feed a couple times in the last couple days. Always with the heading of “this man is about to rape a girl he met on the internet.” Well, no he isn’t. No rape was ever going to happen in this situation.

  81. Donald August 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    There is a lot of heated debate on both sides. No one can argue that kidnap, rape, and murder is horrific. This is why it’s so important that these girls should have learned years ago that actions have consequences. This is why you start with small things first. The page, ‘Better safe than sorry’ is an excellent source of why to start off with smaller things. This current page also shows how bad things can get from overprotection. We can see from this page that if the kids don’t learn that they’re actions affect their lives (in good ways as well as bad ones) things can become catastrophic!

    http://www.freerangekids.com/better-safe-than-sorry-is-wrong/

    “So, if someone’s child is abducted and killed, would you console them by simply saying, “hey, no big deal about little Susie, it’s rare”?

    Good point. That’s why we it’s better to start with something smaller first. An example would be, ‘If little Suzzie falls off the slide, it pains me. As a loving parent I hate to see my 6 year old in tears. However I know that she’ll learn to be more careful.’

  82. Liz August 12, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    I see very little difference between this situation and the one in February where the adults involved were arrested:
    http://fox2now.com/2015/02/05/police-family-plots-to-teach-child-a-lesson-with-fake-kidnapping/
    If your lesson leaves your child with PTSD then you’re teaching it wrong.
    If this guy really wanted to “teach a lesson” then he would have met the girls as himself, saying “I made the account, and I’m not what I said there, am I?” Then the parents come out and talk it over with them. Instead, he traumatized these girls and puts the video online. This has nothing to do with “education,” and everything to do with “fame.” He saw how famous Joey Salads got and thought, “how can I do the same kind of thing?” Which is why they took it too far. Because nobody will watch a video of honest discussion, but they will watch a video of a girl being forced into a van and her life being threatened. Part of me didn’t even want to watch the video because I didn’t want to give him views. I find the idea of doing this to teens disgusting and disturbing, and it’s even more disturbing how many parents think it’s a great idea.

  83. Donald August 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    I’m amazed at all the people that feel, ‘The end justifies the means’.

    Actually I might feel that way as well if I was so naive to think that, ‘The girls got the bejesus scared out of them and therefore they won’t do anything stupid ever again’.

    They now have more

    1. Facebook caution
    2. Resentment from their parents which is one of the reasons why kids rebel in the first place and sometimes in dangerous ways ( more of this than caution)

    The video says a lot more about Jena’s parents (behind the ski masks) then the stupidity of Jena

    Then again Jena may think, “Wow mom and dad you really do love me! I’ll start listening to you for
    now on”.

  84. Pauline Silverman August 12, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

    Keep up the good work Joey Saldini! Good job, Great job helping parents become hyper-vigilant!

  85. lollipoplover August 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    hypervigilance [hi″per-vij´ĭ-lans]

    abnormally increased arousal, responsiveness to stimuli, and screening of the environment for threats; it is often associated with delusional or paranoid states.

  86. Alanna August 12, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    And the parents met this guy, Coby, on Craigslist!

  87. Nathan August 12, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    You don’t even know what your talking about…

    Its bad and getting worse.

    http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org/
    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking

  88. James Pollock August 12, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    “Guys, I never said this happens often, I justed linked to a news article that pretty much describes this exact situation in the real world. It happens. It’s news, so it doesn’t happen often, but still.”

    Sometimes kids walking on the sidewalk are run over by cars and killed.
    The lesson isn’t “never walk on the sidewalk”. It’s “learn how to identify the extremely rare situation when walking on the sidewalk isn’t safe”.

  89. Warren August 12, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

    To put it simply, if you need to resort to these scare tactics to teach your kids anything, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself, and figure out where you failed as a parent.

    What’s next, hiring stunt drivers to teach kids the dangers of cars jumping the curb, hiring a thug to fake a mugging? Where will it end and how far are parents willing to go?

  90. Tyemia August 12, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    The “scariest” part of this video was the willingness of the children to deceive their parents by “sneaking” out to meet whoever they thought this person was [stranger no matter how you cut it] violating their parent’s trust & seriously risking their personal safety. And for the 14 yr old who jumped in the windowless van with a total stranger after sneaking out of her house – c’mon, hasn’t she ever watched a horror movie, TV show or movie abduction or the nightly news?? Please!!! Connect the dots – if strangers could lure them so easily, what could a known entity persuade them to do??

    The moral of this story was not about fear. The message was “pay attention”,collect information before making major decisions, truly consider the consequences before doing things you know are patently wrong (or else they would not have hid this person from their parents) and protect personal identifier information like the gold that it is. While I realize that developmentally adolescents are learning these major life skills & most will make many missteps along the way, just as we all did, their behavior should be sanctioned by their parents. And most importantly their value reinforced.

  91. Donald August 12, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    This video highlights that children can make stupid mistakes. That’s all the more reason why they should be allowed to make stupid mistakes when they’re younger. The bad choices won’t be as severe and they’ll learn to make better choices in the future. I hope this video puts to bed the theory that:

    ‘If we love our children then we will never allow them harm in any way. Only free rangers do that because they are too lazy to supervise.’

  92. Vicky August 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

    The only thing this video proves is there’s a huge disconnect between young girls and their parents due to a huge disconnect between parents, common sense and God. Children are not only given the freedom to sin, but the means also. Every one of these girls knowingly went out to meet an internet stranger while willfully hiding it from their parents. What else do they secretly do behind their parents back? They knew what they were doing was wrong or they wouldn’t have made the decision to hide it from their parents. Kids are given access to social media with little means to police who they are talking to or what they see. And if you say otherwise you are fooling yourself. The only 100% safe social media, is NO social media, period. When you give your children access to the world unsupervised, you also give the world access to your children, unsupervised. Clearly they do not yet have the tools to supervise themselves in the dark, everything goes, adult world of the internet. What if it was a 15 year old boy? Do you know how many 15 year old boys have committed rape or murder?

  93. hineata August 13, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    I wonder if anonymous M could explain to us why being either –

    a/ slow to have sex (maybe a virgin, which seems odd on a site where most commenters are parents), or
    b/ someone who has sex slowly

    could possibly have anything to do with the topic at hand? I presume you have a good enough understanding of the English language to perceive that the above is what ‘f***ing retard’ means? Please enlighten us…..

  94. hineata August 13, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    @Papilio – you come from a more enlightened nation than mine, too :-). Maybe you might be able to explain :-). I see that expression all over the Net. Who are these people virgins, and those other millions having sex slowly, and why do the sites you read it on usually have nothing whatever to do with the reproductive process?

  95. James Pollock August 13, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    “The only 100% safe social media, is NO social media, period. When you give your children access to the world unsupervised, you also give the world access to your children, unsupervised.”

    Way back when I was in high school, I knew a girl whose parents were so strict that the only chance she had to be alone with a boy was at school, during lunch times. So that’s when she had sex.

  96. sexhysteria August 13, 2015 at 3:02 am #

    The parents consented to emotional abuse of their children.

  97. Anon August 13, 2015 at 4:31 am #

    Thank you for giving to that experiment the critic it deserves.

  98. Keriama August 13, 2015 at 7:00 am #

    Still, approximately 700 young children go missing every year in the States and this is not including older children. That would register in the thousands. These videos are very necessary, in my view, to warn our children of pending stranger danger and what can happen if we are not careful or obedient to our parents.

  99. ChicagoDad August 13, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    When I was 17, I sneaked out of the house to meet my girlfriend. I didn’t have a car, so i jogged the 7 miles to see her. I suppose it could be considered romantic 😛

    My mother figured out I was gone and had the most ingenious way of handling it. She waited until 25 minutes after I had climbed back into my window and into bed, then she came in, woke me up at 6:30 am, and told me that she needed my help in the yard that day. She gave me 9 hours of grueling yard projects, like digging out stumps by hand. She didn’t admit that she caught me sneaking out, she didn’t say that the hard labor was punishment. So, I had to do the all work with a smile on my face, or else admit I had broken the rules and been out that night. It was a brilliant and devious bluff. It sent a clear message, “You may be big now, and able to sneak out, but you’ll follow my rules because I’m smarter than you and there will be consequences you won’t even see coming!”

    No public humiliation or fake kidnapping needed.

    In the literature about child abuse and maltreatment, risk factors for the kids are things like social isolation, poor peer networks, a poor relationship with parents. Preventative factors include things like safe, stable and nurturing relationships with parents, strong positive peer networks, & self confidence. Take a look: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/

    What happens if you engage a strange man to scare your kids, and then post a video of it for the world to see? Does that encourage a kid to respect or resent her parents? It’s like taking out a full page ad in the New York Times that says “My kid is a promiscuous idiot”. I don’t think that the kids are going to trust or confide in their parents easily, if at all, after this. Now here’s the kicker: the breakdown of trust and communication actually puts the kids at greater risk for violence and abuse in the future. Mission accomplished, right?

    Better to handle it like my mom did, privately and in a way that instills respect.

  100. BL August 13, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    “The only 100% safe social media, is NO social media, period. When you give your children access to the world unsupervised, you also give the world access to your children, unsupervised.”

    The only safe way to go outside is NO going outside, period.

    The only safe food is NO food, period.

  101. Buffy August 13, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Link to the 700 young children that go missing every year, family/custody abductions not included?

  102. Anne August 13, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    You are insane.

    Even if not everyone/everything is dangerous, why in the world would you ever take that risk?! Especially with your children!

    I’m sorry, but as a mother of 3 I intend to keep them safe. It’s our job to protect our children.

    And even if “just over 100” of registered sex offenders are predators doesn’t make the danger any less there. Why don’t you try telling that to the many parents who lost their children thinking the same way you did? “I worry too much, it’s not likely to happen to me.”

    So yes I’m gonna worry about my children’s safety. Yes, I’m going to worry about all possible dangers. But I’m going to do it in a healthy and love able way

  103. ChicagoDad August 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    @Anne, I bet the Lindberghs wish they had nailed their 2nd story windows shut, but that doesn’t make it sane for everyone to nail their windows shut any deny their kids fresh air on a cool summer’s evening.

  104. Amy August 13, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    I watched this video and I have an option that is similar to some. As a mother of a daughter and son as well as step-mother to two boys and another girl, I found this scenario to be very eye opening and not at all out of line. My husband and I monitored every post on FB and Instagram. If something was inappropriate or a rant about either parent it was removed immediately. If it happened again there were other consequences. Has this kept our children safe? I believe it has helped. We have also instilled in them the dangers of alcohol, drugs, drinking and driving, and posting personal info on social media. We were always open with our kids and they were allowed to sit with us with their concerns. One example is my daughter was 16 and had a homecoming where there would be drinking at an after party. To my surprise, she sat down and told me about the entire plans for the party. She then asked if she could have a couple wine coolers, could we drop her off and pick her up from the party. After speaking with Dad and Stepdad, we agreed and were so impressed that she asked rather than just going on her own and God only knows what could have happened. This was the beginning of how we handled every school dance/parties for her high schooll years and we implemented the same rules with our son who was two years behind her. It may not be ideal for some but it worked and continues to work for us. She is now 20 years old and last weekend asked if we could go to a friends going away party to college at a local club. We as well as three or four other parents were at the club while the kids had a blast. Each one had a safe and sober ride home. My husband said that is so cool that at 20 yrs old our daughter still asks us for a ride if there will be drinking. This not only taught them safety and not drinking and driving but taught them that drinking on special occasions was ok but drinking to drink was not. We live in Louisiana so bars allow 18 yr olds entry, drinking allowed with parent present (not sure if that is still the case)!and 21 to drink. As far as social media, we monitored as much as possible and they had no choice but to allow us to be friends on their accounts. I agree that these girls have some need for attention and after this experience each parent ended it with how much they love their child. This experiment may have just opened the door to some serious communication between these parents and their child. One issue was the girl could not have boys over to her house. This may open dad’s eyes that the safest place for her to have a guy friend is in the safety of their own home. Then there would be no sneaking or deception to see someone. Our children were also allowed to go to movies, we dropped off and picked up. There girl/boyfriends were allowed over to watch movies in the living room while we were in our room with door cracked and a few walk throughs. This philosophy may not work for every family but it has certainly worked for us. We have two wonderful young adults, one is a junior in nursing school and the other starts college next week. The others are a bit older and are all productive young adults in society and we couldn’t be more proud. Long post but to summize, I agree with the experiment. Hopefully, there will be no next time being as they will never know if it is a test from their parents. The door to communication has definitely been opened. Some of the text shared issues the girls were having problems handling between them and their parent which is a great place to start that communication. This is an opinion and not a disortation on how to raise teenagers, just an experience that has been successful for our family. My husband is also a Law enforcement officer with 27 yrs on the job so he has seen quite a bit. Thanks for reading!

  105. Diana Wells August 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    You can believe as you wish. I work with teens. I tell you this is the majority not the minority. Do not let your child’s epitah on their gravestone be, “My Child Would Not Do This.” AND why do you think their is a sex offender registry? Those men or women are predators.

  106. K August 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Where on earth did this post get linked?

  107. ChicagoDad August 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    @K, it was linked from Yahoo Parenting, home to much civil and enlightened discourse on the topic of child rearing:
    https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/parents-and-video-prankster-lure-teens-on-facebook-126444614327.html

    Do yourself a favor and don’t read the comments.

    BTW, love the blog posts! Couldn’t agree more about Little Blue Truck and Goodnight Gorilla!

  108. Papilio August 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    @Hineata: LOL! (I had to read both your comments twice before I got what on earth you were on about though! Hahaha. I take it you saw my reply to thomas 🙂 )
    Unfortunately I have no clue either why none of those sites are about a) people who were (/are to be) deflowered later in life than most people, or b) the Kamasutra 🙂

    “you come from a more enlightened nation than mine, too :-)”

    Indeed: it’s summer over here 😛

  109. Rachael August 13, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    The thing that bugs me about this one, is that the parents jumped in very quickly. Like at the park, he didn’t even give the girl a chance to say, ‘you’re not who I thought you were, bye.’ Same with the girl who answered the door. They just jumped in and yelled and probably drove an even bigger wedge between them where she will never share anything again and probably just create a new profile because she knows her parents are watching this one.
    This kind of thing irritates me.

  110. Diana Green August 13, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    “Hard luck is the fortune of all woman kind.
    “She’s always controlled. She’s always confined.
    “Controlled by her parents until she’s a wife.
    “Then a slave to her husband the rest of her life.”

    Traditional song, hundreds of years old, known on both sides of the Atlantic.

    There are many verses. We could write another. Here’s the first line:

    “I know three young women. Their stories are sad…”

  111. K August 13, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    @ChicagoDad – Thanks! You may be the first person to read them. I haven’t really shared the blog much yet – I can’t figure out if I’m funny 🙂

  112. pete August 13, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    You don’t think the stupid little girls in this video needed this lesson? You think they listened when the parents coached them on the dangers? These children needed this experience to nail it home how irresponsible they are. These girls were prepared to drive off with a total stranger and you don’t think they should have been put through this? These girls just got saved from themselves. You, Miss Skenazy, have completely missed the seriousness of issue highlighted in this film. These parents just witnessed their child put themselves in serious harms way. They have a total right to be shocked and cross with them. Thats three girls who will never again put themselves at the mercy of strangers from the internet!

  113. ChicagoDad August 13, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    @pete, you’re right that those kids needed a lesson, but do you think betrayal and public humiliation will make them safer? A teen with those patents might just well running off into the arms of a no account drifter to get away from her folks! How would you teach a lesson about going off with strange older men in a way that builds trust, respect, honesty, and also the ability to pick up on creepiness and keep herself safe? Not like this, I hope. This is vile and dangerous.

  114. Benjamin chandler August 13, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

    It would be better for my child to be angry and alive, than be dead and wishing I would done something more.

  115. Warren August 14, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    ” Thats three girls who will never again put themselves at the mercy of strangers from the internet!”

    Though this is taken from Pete’s comment, it seems to be the constant feeling among the supporters of the video.

    First, this scare tactic does not guarantee anything. Remember the old Scared Straight program? It only had about a 50% success rate.

    Now considering how these teens were treated, by their parents, I would not be surprised to hear down the line that one or more ran away. I would not be surprised that one or more, once they left home, didn’t go overboard with freedom and had problems with alcohol, drugs or just life excessive. So don’t be hailing these parents as heroes or great parents. Because we will never know what this so called experiment actually did to or for these kids.

  116. bob magee August 14, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    Once again everyone should understand this was NOT any type of social experiment. We have NO knowledge of any of these girls prior behavior. We have no knowledge of any their parents behavior. All we know is that a group of self selected parents allowed this opportunist to engage with their daughters for the express purpose of creating a “shocking” video.

    How do we know that?

    Because, in a true experiment, you let the entire scenario play out.

    Girl one agreed to a local daytime meet in a place populated by many people. When she heard her name called out by this older male she said who are you? Then the father jumped out. Left to her own devices she may have left or screamed or, better yet, called the police. We don’t know because the purpose of this video was to create buzz for the video guy – not perform any social service.

    Girl 2 had a meeting at her house where she believed her father was in another room. Once again this girl could have screamed or shut the door or simply ran to her fathers room. But that would not serve the agenda of this video guy – which was to create a buzz for his own self aggrandizement and purposes.

    Girl 3, on the surface, was the most disturbing because she entered into a place where she had no out. Anyone else wonder why only one girl agreed to meet that way? Could it be the other 2 refused to meet that way or understood that they needed to have a backup plan? Perhaps not, but nobody knows because NONE of the texts were released.

    My question to all the supporters of this video – were you shocked that yone would go and meet this guy? Or did this video simply reenforce a prior held belief??

    Did anyone actually learn anything from this video?

  117. Warren August 14, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    bob magee,

    First, I would like to say that is about the best comment and analysis of this issue, that anyone could write.

    Second, I would love to show this to others with your permission.

  118. Donald August 14, 2015 at 3:22 am #

    “……but do you think betrayal and public humiliation will make them safer? A teen with those patents might just well running off into the arms of a no account drifter to get away from her folks!”

    I’m astounded about how many people don’t understand this and think that using these tactics will make their daughters safer. These parents do more in the way of chasing their child into danger when they’re trying to protect them.

  119. hineata August 14, 2015 at 4:22 am #

    @Papilio – yes, ridiculous summer! In Madrid one day it was 43 degrees. ..life didn’t seem worth living, and I probably would have jumped in a white panel van with a dodgy bloke, provided he kept the air con on :-).

    I just don’t get how the term I was describing above adds to any discussion …except, as you say, of the Kama Sutra :-).

  120. hineata August 14, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    Seriously, I wonder if white panel van girl was actually feeling suicidal. Because unless she has been raised in a closet, white panel vans have to be among the most vivid ‘horror” images of our times.

    In which case, wow, yes, yelling at her and shaming her seems an extremely good idea…..NOT :-/

  121. Diana Green August 14, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    “Shame on you!”

    “For Shame!”

    SHAME.

    As if the monthly curse referred to by the future president of the United States of America in his attempt to shame the debate moderator were not enough off a reminder of her inferior status to a young woman of twelve, or thirteen or fourteen.

    “She has eaten of the tree of knowledge. She is banished forever from the Garden of Paradise. Every 28 days she will be reminded of her guilt. She won’t see forgiveness until she is fifty in the shade. But by then she will have done something worthy of her being burned at the stake.”

    And she loses her cell phone in the bargain.

    What is the world coming to?

    Surely she will be under house arrest until the surrogates of her god arrange a suitable marriage for her. And since she has been publicly disgraced, that won’t be easy.

  122. Bob Magee August 14, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    @Warren

    Thanks for nice words

    Share as you like

  123. Donna August 14, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    “You don’t think the stupid little girls in this video needed this lesson? You think they listened when the parents coached them on the dangers? These children needed this experience to nail it home how irresponsible they are.”

    How do you know this? How do you know that this wasn’t the first time they had even talked to a stranger on the internet? How do you know that the parents ever seriously talked to their children about the dangers of the internet? How do you know that simply talking to the girls about the dangers of the internet wouldn’t have worked for them as it does for the millions of other teens who are never scared to death by their parents and still never go meet strangers from the internet?

    It seems to me that one of the girls absolutely DID NOT need this lesson. She properly met the person in a public place that she knew well and made no attempt to leave this public place with him.

  124. lollipoplover August 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    This article is being shared all over Facebook with the heading:

    “He Is About To Rape A Girl He Met On Facebook.
    Watch What Happens When Her Parents Show Up.”

    I still haven’t watched the video. The level of sensationalism in this title to get likes and shares nauseates me.

  125. Papilio August 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    @Hineata: Hahaha! Who knows, maybe despite your age he would’ve told you you look hot 😛

    Maybe a Kamasutra *parody* site, as I’m pretty sure that kind of language would kill the mood very fast 😀
    (It does actually make me laugh trying to imagine a text that would use the phrase f***ing r*tards in a serious way when discussing the Kamasutra!)

  126. Beth August 14, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    @lollipoplover On general principle I won’t click on or read anything that says “watch what happens next” or “you won’t believe what happened” or “you’ll laugh harder than you ever laughed in your whole life” etc. I’m comfortable with missing whatever I’m missing!!!

  127. vicki August 14, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    Sorry, after 40 years as an educator and many as a school counselor, I believe it is our duty to give our youth these scenarios because they can relate. Many of these may not happen that often, but when they do, it is a media frenzy and any parent’s nightmare. I had to give my own daughter the sad news that one of her friends was found dead in the desert–she had gotten in a car with strangers after mom was asleep. It does happen. Grooming does happen–I have seen it and the results. Most young teens think “it won’t happen to me”. That is normal, so we must continue to remind them how to protect themselves.

  128. ChicagoDad August 14, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    “STRANGER GAMES” a new movie by 21st Century Fox
    In the not so distant future, 12 year olds are routinely subjected to horrific, false, and televised kidnappings by “The Agency”, a secretive group tasked with weeding out the weak and naive from the ranks of citizens. One determined girl and her group of friends uncover a sinister plot to use these kidnappings to imprint tweens so that they will become sleeper agents for The Agency. Can our hero avoid being kidnapped and rescue her friends from danger? Or is she already trapped inside The Agency’s twisted scheme?
    Coming to theaters Christmas Day 2016.

  129. hineata August 15, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    @Diane Green – I know it’s grossly off topic, but you can’t seriously think Donald Trump is going to be President? Pleaseeeee somebody, tell me it couldn’t happen!

    If you really, truly want a terrible president, I have a group of animals who could share the role. Two rabbits and three chickens, collectively possessing the IQ of a shellfish, yet still a viable alternative to Mr Trump…and actually any of the Republican, and half of the Democratic candidates we’ve been subjected to by the media recently. There’s also a goat who was mayor/president of Whangamomona until he passed away recently, and I’m sure he had progeny who could also do a passable job at the White House. Just send a stamped, self-addressed crate our way….. 🙂

  130. Papilio August 15, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    @Hineata: HEY! What have shellfish ever done to you that they deserve an insult like that?!

  131. eClaire August 16, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    While I agree in part with this criticism, I find the jumping on the bandwagon in all of the comments I’ve read thus far really very odd.

    Teenagers engage in irrational behavior, or behavior that shows little appreciation of the consequences (it’s a brain thing), often enough regardless of the relationship they may have with their parents. I worked in a psychiatric hospital where teens were often admitted for being depressed when actually they were experienced another made up illness that insurance would not cover: adolescent adjustment disorder. That’s to say, they’d become teens and were disobeying their parents and the parents were pissed off or very worried (not uncommon given the teenage brain). In my job, I’d watch psychiatrists and social workers turn fairly typical challenges to authority as pathology, usually on the part of kids because they were the ones in “treatment.”

    I’m not so naive to think that parenting behaviors don’t have an impact, but they are also not the be all and end all when it comes to teen behavior. (Studies show that peers become the greatest influencers of most kids lives once they enter their teen years.) I think trying to blame the parents in this video could be a way to insulate one’s self from the idea that this could happen to your child. “This could never happen to me; I have a much better more supportive, open relationship with my child.” That reminds me of how people disbelieved acquaintance rape for so long–had to be the woman’s fault–or discounted the word of people who experienced stranger rape; after all, women wore hat pins and it’s next to impossible to penetrate the hole of a moving donut.

    My parents talked to me about stranger danger, and I think they were wise to do so and I think I likely benefitted from those talks. But they never talked to me about acquaintance rape. Probably because we didn’t even have a term for it back then (the public doubted rape victims even more so perhaps than today), and women were made to feel responsible; so they kept these “embarrassments” to themselves. It would have helped me to know that the friends of my brother would not necessarily regard me as a little sister and therefore be protective of me. It would have been helpful to know about acquaintance rape.

    I don’t think having the opportunity to talk about this particular issue because of a video should be discounted because most rapes, assaults, abductions will be committed by the boys and men she knows or that girls might be more likely to pursue contact themselves.

    My parents also never talked to me about emotional abuse and boundary setting. (Though my mother did talk to me about physical abuse and I had a pretty strong boundary there. Would that boundary have held up if physical abuse started up after the birth of a child? I can’t say. Having conducted survivors groups, volunteered at shelters, and conducted days long workshops mediators about domestic violence, I can’t speak to what if with any certainty… not the what if of me at a younger age.)

    We, the unwashed masses, pretty much didn’t have words for emotional abuse back then. It was more, “Make sure that boy treats you right,” which is precious little instruction, and good parenting doesn’t necessarily prepare one how to think about emotional abuse let alone respond adaptively to it. I have a friend who was raised by fabulous parents, became a professional, and entered a relationship with a physically abusive man. Physical abuse almost always starts with emotional abuse, and it is during that period, that people are hooked in. By the time my friend was being physically abused she was so very embarrassed and ashamed for allowing herself to be in a relationship like that. I think it would have helped her had her parents talked about how anyone can be vulnerable to abuser. Not their fault, but talking might have helped inoculate her to the embarrassment, which became a barrier to her getting help.

    So, yes, the shaming here is disturbing.

    However why must people blame fall on the child or the parent if a child behaves irrationally or without thinking of the consequences?

    Talking with girls and boys about these issues: the importance of taking your time to get to know people and meeting with them in public, social situations until you know them better, the importance of following your gut–acting immediately–when something seems off, and so on can save lives and help prevent trauma. Also important is letting them know they are not to blame for the behavior of others and that you will always be there for them no matter what. It seems to me that doing anything to give your child the edge in a potentially violent situation would be important.

    Knowing that in abductions, whether by strangers or those by people who know you, it’s important to resist while in a public place is important. Would I let the fear that I might damage my child’s gut feelings by informing her of this stop me from providing her with warnings? Not based on my experiences. When I was growing up, violent crime was less than it is currently (though it is approaching those rates).

    We girls were taught to be nice foremost and that others would be nice to us in return. Not only were we made of sugar and spice but so was the world. Early experiences at the hands of people who were not my parents taught me that this was not necessarily true. A focus on being mentally prepared for danger would have helped, and I’d rather not have learned it the hard way. But learn it I did, and it allowed me to better recognise danger and respond in ways that may have saved my life when I went off to college (ways that mostly definitely got me out of objectively bad situations).

    I grew up in a time when nearly all parents were free range and I am thankful for it. That doesn’t mean these sorts of discussions shouldn’t be had. And if videos like this help a parent talk about all of these issues with their children, including letting them know that they will be there for them if a stranger or acquaintance or a lover ever harms them, then you won’t find me picking it apart for fault and blaming the parents or talking about how girls bring things on themselves or how harms are more likely to come from people they know so this is, what, useless?

  132. Buffy August 16, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    You lost me at the wiseness of “stranger danger”. Your parents, and you, likely saw and spoke to strangers nearly every day. Were you really not supposed to exchange pleasantries with the checkout person at the grocery store? Ignore your new principal on the first day of school? Be rude to the library lady?

  133. Ally August 19, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    its good to teach children about the danger of social media but teaching them in such a way is horrible