YouTuber Coby Persin has put together an important experiment to see just how easy or difficult it would be to lure a teenager to meet with a complete stranger.

Persin created a bogus Facebook account and lured three teenage girls to meet with him, documenting his behaviour and their reactions at ever stage. It’s probably worth pointing out early on that this was done with the permission of the parents, who also took part in the experiment and were close by to witness the reactions of the girls (but obviously the girls weren’t aware that they were being watched).

The scary part of this whole exercise is how easy this was for Persin. During the video he posts screen grabs of the conversations he had with the girls and not once did they ask for confirmation of his identity or anything other than his age.

Will the message that parents really shouldn’t be laissez-faire about social media get through? Hopefully. At the time of writing the video has clocked up over 19m views in two days and, according to YouTube, is the most popular video in South Africa right now. If you haven’t seen it, it’s here.

As an addendum, here in South Africa one of the best organisations to contact if you have any concerns about children being groomed or abused it Childline, whose website is here.

[Image CC – Patrik Nygren]