Abuse or Harmless Prank?

Now it’s October and a lot of us love Halloween. As a child I loved a good scare. I lived for the rush of my heart pounding in my chest and adrenaline coursing through my veins as I anxiously awaited the latest scary thing to pop off. When it finally did, I would scream and run for cover and in a few seconds, I would be back for more. That for me was just one of the fun things of a normal childhood that sometimes left me with nightmares but always quickly became a distant memory. Over the years as a mother, especially during Halloween, I have scared the living daylights out of my own children and any other child who dared to let me. I remember foggy garages, Scream and Jason masks, heads in jars, creepy sound effects, plastic chainsaws, and the works. Hey, I lived for that stuff.

Today however, I’m seeing more pranks on youngsters being classified as child abuse and in some cases even lawsuits are being filed citing lasting mental trauma to a minor. Now I must acknowledge that in today’s shock society we tend to push the envelope further and further. I also accept that children are young and impressionable, and I respect the rights of parents who choose to have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the scaring of their children. But do we ever wonder if we’re “criminalizing” and “child-proofing” the fun out of our children’s childhoods and are we depriving them of opportunities to develop their own coping mechanisms?

In the clip below, a prankster uses filters to scare a little boy into thinking something has happened to his face. Now call me what you wish but I’ll admit I laughed out loud when I watched it. Now in light of recent developments I’m wondering how would others view it, abuse or harmless prank? You tell me.

Listen with the sound on.

22 thoughts on “Abuse or Harmless Prank?

  1. You bring up an interesting point. I’ve never been fond of pranks or of being scared, but I know people who loved haunted houses, scary movies, dressing like zombies and ghouls with all the fake blood they could get. I guess the thing is to know the child and to scare gently, You made an interesting point when you mentioned that things today get done on a grander scale than years ago.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, can we really say that, though?! Lol. He’s not getting ANY ENJOYMENT out of it at all. The adults are, and from watching him be terrified by it. I just think he’s a little young. And hopefully, he’ll be good. Lol.

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  2. When I was a teenager, my cousins (10 of us) and the four older ones made a haunted house in the garage. The first part of the haunted house was blindfold while walking a plank with yarn for cobwebs, putting their hands in stuff that felt weird (cold spaghetti noodles and like), the final “terror” was a curtained off room where we took the blindfold off. The youngest cousin age 7, when he say the final terror screamed hysterically and ran into the house. Soon we had six parents asking us what we did to him. The young cousin had nightmares for weeks, waking up screaming. I know as they lived with us. The parents would not let us do any scary pranks afterwards. While everyone else enjoyed the experience, even us that created it, one was traumatized. The experience from a scare or prank is individual.

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  3. I do think like to be scared is an individual thing, and I think it’s up to the parents to not expose their kids to stuff that scares them. What one kid loves, another would find traumatic. I’m not a fan of suing over it, though…

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  4. I think some pranks are harmless but some just take it way too far and are definitely just abuse. It’s not funny if you’re the only person laughing and the victim is traumatised. I saw some videos on social where people pretend the child has become invisible and they can’t see them and some of those kids seemed super traumatised. Like they were genuinely really freaking out. I didn’t really think that way funny.

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  5. Yeah, there are reasons to be concerned with this generation but in some sense, I think some people have become over sensitive. Maybe this oversensitivity though is a product of our obsession with doing anything for attention and shock.

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  6. It’s a fine line, and I think you’re right in that as adults, we’re often over the top. If you’re referencing the daycare workers in the Scream masks, however, that was definitely abuse.

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  7. I think we should consider what’s age appropriate or personally appropriate. The IG post seemed to not be appropriate for that child, and I know personally, if this was my youngest daughter, she would’ve had a hard time and remembered it for the rest of her life, citing it as traumatic. My oldest daughter probably would’ve laughed.

    You’ve raised a good question, and I think it does boil down to who the child is and what he/she/they can handle.

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  8. Food for Thought: on one hand seems to have a generation that’s growing hypersensitive as equally as people are pushing the boundaries on acceptable pranks then couple that with social media and the internet where everything gets hyperpolarised with people weighing in on extreme takes that it’s so hard to find the middle ground, next thing you know will probably need to start having therapists on the go assessing and evaluating the effects of everything and anything to see whats trauma inducing and what’s not 💀 which I must say doesn’t seem all that appealing too as really there’s no one size fits all solution with regards to how and what we can tolerate or be expected to tolerate 👻
    And what should be good old fashioned fun all around becomes a tedious task
    😶

    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So true but I guess this is where we are now. The good ole days are gone and now it does appear we need those checks to stop us from taking things too far. I will definitely think twice now before I scare anybody’s kids 😊.

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