Every year, Jimmy Kimmel showcases crying kids in his Halloween “prank”. It’s the same thing every single time: Parent tells kid(s) that he or she ate of all said child(ren)’s Halloween candy, films the results and sends the video of the hot mess to Kimmel so he can air this on national television. A lot of people think that this is absolutely hilarious and besides, it’s just a harmless prank, right?
There’s one massive problem with this: it destroys a child’s trust towards his or her parents. I know this to be true as I have dealt with this myself
My mother thought it was absolutely hilarious to prank me whenever she got the chance. One that stands out in my mind is the day she decided to bake cookies, wait until I had some and say that they were full of rat poison so that I was going to die after I had eaten them. Of course, I burst into tears but my mother stood there and laughed. She thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen. She likes to tell this story, along with others in the same vein and laughs about it. Even worse, if I brought up the fact that this made me uncomfortable, I was told that I was being “too sensitive”. After all, it was just a joke and couldn’t I take a simple little joke?
In this case, no. Why? Because I was supposed to be able to trust my mother, to believe that what she told me was the truth and not some stupid lie created to get a rise out of me.
And that’s what this all comes down to: the idea that a child should be able to trust the people who may be raising them. That’s what makes this so-called “pranking” so blasted cruel: it is contingent upon the child’s trust. The poor kid has to trust that parent and believe what the parent is saying is true or the “joke” won’t work.
Ask yourself parents: is that really worth it? Is it really worth making your child doubt you just to send in a video of them crying over a stupid “joke” about their Halloween candy? Or maybe put yourself in your child’s place. Think long and hard about that, before you pick up that camera or smart phone. You may just change your mind.