Worst First Thinking Thanks To YouTube Pranksters
Those of you who have read this blog for some time know about my abhorrence to "worst first thinking," or the practice of putting the parental mindset that everything is bad and that the world is a dangerous place that's out to dig its claws in and corrupt our children. The "worst first" thinking is what's led people to call cops for child neglect when parents let their children walk down the street absent armed guards and a drone and found grandparents the subject of child abuse allegations for taking grandchildren to the hospital after accidentally ingesting a toxic substance. It's become the de facto parenting norm for people who want to make sure their children are safe and that nothing bad will ever happen to their special little ones, and that's a sad part of modern life. Now "worst first thinking" has a new champion for the digital age, and he's here to teach us all a Very Important Lesson About Stuff.
Meet Coby Persin. He's a self-described 21 year old "model prankster" whose claims to fame involve such matters as offering homeless people in New York $100 to arm wrestle on camera, staging assaults on New York streets for entertainment, getting women to walk around cities with jeans painted on their naked lower bodies, and looking like Zac Efron. As a result of his looks, camera equipment paid for by either his mommy and daddy or "sponsors" on YouTube, Coby has achieved a level of internet notoriety and decided to start working on "social experiments," ostensibly videos where he tries to impart on his viewing audience some moral lesson that we all need to learn.
As an aside, I can't think of a "moral lesson" I could impart to a single person when I was 21 that any sane, rational human being should have listened to. But I digress. This time, Coby decides to teach the viewing audience the old chestnut that social media is a haven for child molesters and that parents should be worried continually about who their little ones speak with on the interwebs. Video to follow below.
Touching. Three individual girls, all of whom just had an "important lesson" taught them thanks to the good of their parents and the wonderful morals of a young man who makes a living getting women to simulate sex acts with fruit. I wonder how many parents were approached by Coby Persin prior to the filming of this video and were turned away? I wonder how many of the parents Coby Persin spoke with were told "No, we don't allow our pre-teen on social media?" What sort of compensation comes from this sort of video? Were the parents given a portion of Coby Persin's YouTube royalties or sponsor checks for allowing their daughters to be put through a nightmarish scenario like this? How did the child respond in the future after being dragged into a car, held down by a stranger, and accosted by her parents wearing ski masks in an effort to "teach a life lesson?" We don't get to see that. No, what we see is a seven minute edit of a "prank" that is intended to teach us the common sense notion that we need to monitor the contact our children have with people online and offline.
But Coby Persin wanted to do some good for the world. So he turned a "prank" into a "social experiment" and decided to try and scare three stupid kids who did something stupid into a life on the straight and narrow. And now this video will go viral, and it will be touted by State's attorneys and DCS officials in an attempt to tell the world something we knew from the start, that there are bad people out there and we need to protect our children from them.
The video closes with a powerful but misleading statistic--the "fact" that there are over 750,000 registered child offenders in the United States. What Coby Persin fails to mention is that in the mix of those 750,000 plus "registered offenders" are nonviolent individuals who have committed offenses such as public urination, streaking, solicitation, and consensual sex among teenagers. But none of that really matters, because what we need to do is keep our children SAFE according to dear Coby Persin.
I submit that Coby Persin needs to do a strong reality check before he posts tripe like this again. While wrapped in the flag of doing good for good's sake, he's taken his influence and committed a cardinal sin: he's used it to make people dumber and more afraid than they already were. I'll gladly call that out every time I see it done, because when you have the influence of a Coby Persin and you're using it to harm people, you need to have someone to keep you in check.
Yes, there are bad people out there. Yes, kids are dumb and naive. Yes, those dangerous Sex Offenders may be on social media trying to lure your son or daughter into a public encounter. Yes, you need to keep an eye on your children for their sake and monitor their activities. That's called parenting, and it's called "doing what's right by your children." You don't need to live in fear that a Bad Man is living right next door; you just need to exercise a little responsibility for the lives you're raising, and you don't need a man who invites people to communicate with him on a platform staged for sending naked photos to people to tell you any differently.