For the third year in a row, late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel asked parents to prank their kids by telling them they ate all their Halloween candy. Parents video their kids’ teary responses and upload them to YouTube, so that Kimmel and his staff can pick their favorites.
Reactions to the video seem to fall into three categories:
1. That’s hilarious.
2. Those parents are horrible for making their kids cry on purpose.
3. Those parents are horrible for raising kids who are behaving that badly.
I don’t think any of the parents are horrible, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with good-natured family pranking. However, I am uncomfortable with the idea of grown adults making kids cry, on purpose, in the hopes of 15 seconds of fame. And while some of the kids’ reactions are sort of cute/funny, most of the kids react exactly the way you’d expect when you take candy from a baby.
I also don’t think the kids are behaving badly. I mean, yes, it’s just candy, but everything’s relative, isn’t it? If I woke up and my family was like “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA WE DRANK ALL YOUR COFFEE” I would be pretty sad. If you went into work tomorrow morning and your boss said “Hey, sorry, bud, we laid you off” you might have a reaction of some sort. Even (especially) if your boss was then like “Nahhhhhhh, I’m just messin’ with you.”
Beyond that, there’s something disingenuous about watching a video like this in order to laugh at the children’s reactions, and then getting up on your high horse about their behavior:
“My god American kids are so spoilt!” writes a YouTube commenter.
“These worthless parents that are bringing these kids up this way to scream, and kick, and call them names – except for a couple of them – well, they deserve what they are going to get as these kids get older,” writes a commenter on Huffington Post.
“The kids that react aggressively (like the boy in the car KICKING) makes me want to slap them in the face,” writes a commenter on Jezebel.
Come on, they’re kids. And they believe that their parents ate their candy.
And then there are the kids that really break you heart, like the one who, through her tears, tells her mom “that’s okay.” When asked if she wants to go finish her breakfast, she just says, “yes, please.” Or the one who, when he realizes he’s been tricked, says “well, that’s not very kind.” He’s right — it’s not kind.
And also? Call me old-fashioned, but if my two-year-old called her sister “that b*tch” on video I’d be mortified, not uploading it to YouTube.
You be the judge: is pranking your kids funny, or mean, or does it just sort of depend?