Check out the video linked below, in which a local FOX affiliate films parents and an Internet prankster teaching adolescent girls about online predators.
I’m going to go ahead and express what I am certain is the minority opinion here. Of COURSE I agree with the goal of protecting children from Internet predators. But is this the best way to do it? Just think about it. What we have here is an elaborate, staged situation that could traumatize a child, which is THEN BROADCAST and is PERMANENTLY ACCESSIBLE via the Internet. I don’t care if the girls’ faces are blurred — I’m willing to bet that their classmates, neighbors and extended family members know exactly who they are. And now there is a documented public spectacle that could follow them throughout their lives. (And any other Internet user could easily blog it, tag it, or link to it with the girl’s name.)
This is at least a bizarre manner of teaching children, and at most potentially harmful. I can’t imagine that something like this could be condoned by any child psychologist, or very many professional educators. Who comes up with these ideas? The Internet prankster, Coby Persin, whose modus operandi is impersonating adolescent boys? The parents? Parents can be idiots. It’s why so many children can be idiots. (I have schoolteacher friends.)
[EDIT: I should not have named Persin as a “professional” prankster or “consultant” in an earlier draft of this blog post — it implied that he is paid for his services. Persin’s Youtube account is set up to receive donations and has paid advertising, but I don’t see any evidence that he was paid by the girls’ parents.]
I generally think it is a very bad idea for parents to broadcast footage of them disciplining their children. It just seems … simple-minded, and maybe even (consciously or unconsciously) a bid for attention by the parents.
But, hey — I’m no expert. Correct me if I’m wrong.
I actually DO know exactly how to protect oneself from the movies’ “Predator.” You cover yourself with mud so that he cannot see you via his infra-red vision; then attack with with non-metal weapons, as Arnold Schwarzenegger did in 1987. I don’t have kids, but if I were raising adolescent girl, we probably WOULD re-enact that film. Any girl of mine would be raised to be the next Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor.