Viral video star Coby Persin is raising awareness about online safety in a somewhat terrifying way.
With parents’ permission, Persin contacts teens online through fake social media profiles and arranges a meet-up, which turns into a staged kidnapping, showing how easy it is for teens to be lured into dangerous situations by online predators.
Coby’s first video focused on female subjects, and the initial "Child Predator Social Experiment" clip now has over 38 million views.
Now, Persin is turning to male subjects, showing that teenage boys are in just as much danger as girls when it comes to risky online interaction.
"I made a fake profile as a 15-year-old girl named Amanda," Persin explains to ET. "I friend-requested these boys, with their parents’ permission."
The viral star says that with less than a day of online communication, most of his subject agree to meet in person, getting into an unmarked van or showing up at an unfamiliar house, where they are then "attacked."
Persin and his team stop short of physical harm, but stage dangerous scenarios designed to spook the teens, before their parents come out and explain the stunt. The parents usually end up scolding their kids out of fear and anger, but Persin tells ET the emotions come from a place of compassion and love.
"[This video] is gonna shake up the world," he says. "It’s to teach these kids a lesson, they will learn after this."
The notoriety has gained the viral star TV offers, but he’s in for something far more important than fame.
"I’ve gotten thousands of emails, people saying that ‘I wish I would have seen this video before, because I was kidnapped when I was a little kid’," he reveals.