Speaking to the Star, Persin said he posted an ad on Craigslist looking for parents willing to participate in his social experiment. With parental permission, he chatted with six different girls, but only three agreed to meet with him in real life.
According to digital literacy organization Media Smarts, online predators are a rare, but real threat. But the organization cautions against scaremongering, and emphasizes that predators who “trick” kids are far less common than more flagrant pedophiles.
“Research shows they rarely lie about their age or their motives. Their tactic is not one of deception but of seduction: they will shower a youth with attention, sympathy, affection and kindness, in order to persuade him or her that they love and understand them,” the organization cautions on their website.
“Parents should talk with their children and be involved in every aspect of a child’s use of the Internet,” said Harold Pfleiderer, a spokesperson for RCMP, in a written statement.
About six per cent of all cybercrime reported to the police involved internet child luring, or just about 86 cases, according to 2012 Statistics Canada data. In about 55 per cent of cases, the accused was a stranger.
Posing as a teen, Persin chatted with teenage girls he friended online, before suggesting they meet in person. In the video, three girls between the ages of 12 to14 agreed to meet with him in person, only to be surprised by their furious parents.
“What’s the matter with you!!?” he demands.
Persin, whose other videos include him posing as a homeless man, says he was inspired by news accounts of teens being lured by predators. He hopes his videos teach parents to talk to their kids about internet safety.