Jimmy Kimmel’s Annual Halloween Exploitation of Children

by admin on October 28, 2015

I’m sure by now most people know about the famous talk show host who sends out a challenge every year for parents to record telling their children that they ate the children’s Halloween candy. This is done as a prank for fun. It seems kind of mean to me, but I will say it also shows that there are some truly gracious children out there, too. Some of the kids actually express forgiveness and love toward their parents, despite losing all the candy they worked so hard to acquire. 1106-14

This is an annual challenge by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to film your kids after telling them, “I TOLD MY KIDS I ATE ALL THEIR HALLOWEEN CANDY”.    I decided to not embed sample videos into this post in keeping with this site’s firm position against exploitation of children.

It’s a challenge just to watch these videos.   What we witness are parents deliberately lying to their children telling them a falsehood that all their candy that the child has accumulated through trick or treating has been consumed by one or both parents while the child slept and there is none left.   The reactions of the children are predictable and in the case of the younger children they respond as if the world has crashed on them.   At that age, a pile of candy is a rare treasure and a beloved parent has unjustly taken it all.  Jimmy Kimmel himself understands this, “You know, for kids, Halloween candy is a sacred thing.  For a lot of them it’s the first time they ever earn anything.”   The collection of videos records reactions of  shock, disbelief, anger, tears, screaming, tantrums, despair, rage at parents, declarations of hatred, threats of physical violence, loss, grief all displayed on unpretentious little faces.   There are rare examples of sad but gracious understanding by a few children but what harm is done when that precious quality is tested and exploited for a joke?  The audience finds these displays to be quite laughable.  In a 2013 montage, one little boy understands the moral depravity of the joke played on him when he cries, “Well, that wasn’t very kind.”    What parent does this?

Most of these children are pre-schoolers who lack the cognitive maturity to recognize the potential of a prank being played on them or to reason why a hungry parent didn’t eat a peanut butter sandwich or to handle this kind of news well.   This annual tradition is nothing more than an exploitation of vulnerable and gullible little children for the entertainment of adults.

For the chance of a youtube video to be featured on The Jimmy Kimmel Show after Halloween, pranking parents are willing to teach their children a host of undesirable truths that have the potential for negative consequences over time.   Truths such as…1) Mom and Dad will lie to you to get an emotional rise that they will film and disseminate to a worldwide audience.   2)  Mom and Dad will not respect your ownership of private property.   3) Mom and Dad will manipulate your emotions to amuse themselves.  4)  Parents cannot be trusted.   5) Blameshifting.   A surprising number of parents excuse their choice to prank the child by blameshifting to Jimmy Kimmel for “making” them pull this prank.   6)  Undermines the value of a sincere apology if Mom or Dad are willing to “apologize” for something that never really happened.   6)  Jerking people’s chains resulting in an emotional reaction is great fun!

If we were to reverse the roles, many parents would find this type of behavior by a child to be disrespectful and troubling.  It is therefore an abuse of the power inherent to being a parent to put one’s children through emotional hoops for the sake of a laugh or to become entertainment fodder for strangers.   Would we find it amusing if those same children, upon becoming adults caring for their aged parents, played a prank on mentally challenged senior citizens that manipulated emotions for the entertainment of others?   As a society we consider that abusive but for some odd reason, children are fair game.

EtiquetteHell has been consistent over the years that minor aged children should never be exploited on television and social media to provide entertainment for a audience that now can easily span around the globe.   Minor aged children lack the maturity to understand the consequences of losing their right to privacy and are therefore dependent on adults to protect them until they reach an age where they can make informed choices as to how they will be depicted.  It’s obvious that there are parents who have no qualms about exploiting their children if it means a moment of fame.

Just stop, Jimmy.

{ 187 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 28, 2015 at 8:45 am

They do something similar at Christmas time, called “I gave my child a terrible Christmas gift,” where

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Anonymous October 28, 2015 at 8:54 am

Parents wrap up a random item, like a rock, and give it to their kids, passing it off as an early Christmas gift, just to film the kids’ reactions. There are always people who, quite sensibly, think that pranking children like this is wrong, but for every one of those, there’s someone who says “what a spoiled brat,” or some such. No, those kids aren’t spoiled brats; they’re justifiably upset at being goaded into an emotional reaction, and FILMED, no less, by their parents. Maybe the kids could do a follow-up series, when they’re teenagers, like, “I told my dad I recorded over Major Sporting Event on Netflix,” or “I told my parents I flunked out of school.” Cue their reaction at both that “news,” and a moment later, when they see Major Sporting Event, as well as Kiddo’s grade point average, perfectly intact.

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Kate October 29, 2015 at 2:03 am

Ha ha. I tried something similar as a kid after reading about it –
“Mum, I think I’m pregnant…”
“WHAT?!”
“Ha ha, no! But I did lose my train ticket”.

The idea is that the parent will be so relieved Option A is untrue that they won’t flip out over the actual confession you have. My mother, being a teacher, did not fall for it.

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Goldie October 29, 2015 at 4:14 pm

My son did the “you’re now a grandma” prank on me at least once. He didn’t lose a train ticket. He just likes pranks. I took it in stride.

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Sad October 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I like this idea. The kid would probably get in trouble but if they decide it’s worth it they should go for it!

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Stephbwfern October 30, 2015 at 4:41 am

The difference, of course, with the teenagers planking the adults is that adults are not emotionally vulnerable and dependent on the child.
I think this is a horrible thing to do. I really don’t like “pranks” like this on kids, they’re not funny.

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NostalgicGal November 2, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Prank call. It was about 1 am, my father is in ICU after a heart attack and they sent us home. I am closer so I answer the phone. This drunk*ss says I’m from the phone company and we’re running a check to see if your phone is working correctly. Would you whistle into your phone for me?” I instead burst into tears and said “…is he dead?” and I was WAILING. They hung up. THEN I had to calm mom down and tell her what the person said.

My dad recovered, went back to work. We told him what had happened. One day a couple of guys came in and one mentioned this drunk call he’d made and the chick flipped out on him. Dad called the house and just said ‘come down here’. I did. “Tell her what you just told me.” guy is starting to figure out I’m the one he called, but he did repeat it. I told him what kind of deleted he was for calling our house when we were waiting for a death call, and I’d break a chair on his face if I could. I didn’t know I could swear like that and neither did my father. He started to try to laugh this off and I picked up an old fashioned wooden wraparound desk chair with one hand by an armrest (I was furious). He decided in front of about a dozen witnesses and my dad, to leave. (I was 16 and not tiny). I hope he learned something. My dad had decided I was woman enough to decide what happened rather than him just breaking the guy’s nose, so he’d called me.

I put up with zero prank calls to this day. A radio station doing this can get a call from me, and in still printable words get succinctly told off.

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Emmy October 30, 2015 at 4:26 pm

I think the prank is cruel, but filming it for the entertainment of millions is worse in my opinion. Would the parents like it if the kid hid their car keys before an important meeting, filmed the parents frantically looking for them, and sent it to a national show for laughs? I know if I would have been very embarrassed as a child to have moments that were not my best videotaped and viewed by others. I also wonder if people who label the child a ‘spoiled brat’ would say the same about an adult who is purposely made upset and their reaction filmed for the entertainment of others. In both the prank and the filming and broadcast of it, people are saying that the child’s feeling are not important.

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NostalgicGal November 5, 2015 at 2:33 am

One more this whole thread dredged up. I would have preferred getting a wrapped rock than my ten year old Christmas. We had relatives that were a good solid 5 hour drive away, and were going to do Christmas with. My parents knew every gift under our tree and some were very wanted and quite fragile. It would have made sense to open those at home and leave them there. Nope. Or go to these relatives even if we had to stay in a motel the night before. No. We pack very early and take off, to make our 8 am scheduled arrival so all the gifts could be opened. I was allowed to pick one thing while we were packing to open. Mom knows what’s in the gifts. I get to open the ‘mistake gift’. It’s a foam face of Popeye with finger holes to smoosh it around. Labeled for 3-6. I’m in gifted classes. This is supposed to keep my occupied for this long car ride. I left it home. We get there on time, the relatives already did gift opening and their five are younger than I am. Okay, so I get to open my stuff. My cousins immediately want to ‘share’ all my goodstuff presents. Before 11 everything is busted, even the world globe. We finally packed up at 3 to go home and I put a bunch of my stuff into just a few boxes and left it at their trashcans. It was broken past redemption, like the vanity mirror with porcelain roses all around it. So we get home and all I have is that scrunchy popeye foam thing which I also escorted to the trash. I wrote my thank you cards, I had to, even though the stuff was gone. My godmother was lovely enough to buy me a new globe at least; and I got a bit better than average birthday a few months later to replace some of it; but. Relatives thought it should have been MY responsibility to watch my cousins… c’mon, one of me and 5 of them? I wanted to lock my stuff back in the car truck, and dad was one of the ones that was ‘you need to share with your cousins’ fine…but ALL of it? I’d rather have had the prank with a wrapped ugly rock broadcast on live TV before or AFTER that year’s fiasco.

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kimberami October 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

I hate all pranks, especially when the victim is blamed for being a poor sport when they object to shabby treatment.

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cdubz October 28, 2015 at 10:02 am

I don’t find pranks at all funny. It’s just bullying by another name.

My husband, who I swear is an overall kind, decent, sweet, funny man and the love of my life, for some reason, LOVES prank phone calls that other people do and post on the web. There’s one in particular he loves, someone takes Arnold Schwarzenegger sound bites from various movies and calls random people and businesses and uses them to prank other people. I don’t think it’s at all funny to intentionally antagonize strangers and I am completely mystified why he likes them.

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Heather October 29, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Oh I am with you! I have never understood the humour in pranks. And indeed, filming the manipulation of a kid’s reaction… a youngster who can’t really understand or ultimately consent to its display. Yuck!!

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 8:04 pm

I get my attitude on pranking from a combination of my parents. My father could prank on a grand scale, and basically taught me not to bother with a prank if it was not at least creative. My mother, on the other hand, is imminently practical and very compassionate, and taught me not to play a prank that will leave a mess, unless I’m the one who’s going to clean it up, and not to play a prank that will cause actual inconvenience or mental/emotional/physical/social problems. She also taught me to consider the “prankee,” and don’t prank someone who has not already shown themselves to be the sort who will laugh about it – someone who can take it, as well as dish it out. Also, consider the venue, potential audience, etc.

This leaves me with a very limited “repertoire” of pranks. Pranking is rare for me. When it does happen, it’s something sweet and funny, and we all get a good laugh out of it, because I choose my person and prank very carefully.

Laughing at someone’s startlement or momentary confusion, when they then immediately start laughing, too, because it suits their humor, is one thing. I do NOT like to laugh at someone’s pain, though, and that includes embarrassment at what just happened to them, if they’re the kind to be embarrassed. I prefer the kind of people who respond with “That was a good one!” And how do you know they’ll respond that way? You get to know them, and watch them for long enough to see their reaction to other people’s pranks. My family members have similar views on pranks, so I know who likes what, what their limits are, and what buttons NOT to push, as well as what sort of things they’ll actually admire and appreciate.

That’s why I hate most of those “funniest home videos” shows. Sure, they have a few sweet videos, but mostly it’s more along the lines of “HAHAHA! Someone just got hit in the groin! He’s doubled-up in pain. Isn’t it funny?” Well, no. I don’t like pain. Pain hurts me. And I sympathize too much with the people on the show, and I start hurting, too, just watching it, and I DO NOT LIKE IT.

The vast majority of pranks fall under that umbrella, though – laughing at others’ pain. Whatever happened to the old “How in the world did you manage to park your car sideways in the garage?” sort of Candid Camera pranks? They were sweet, and no one was hurt by them, just confused, and they’d laugh about it later, AND they had to sign waivers, or what-have-you, to approve putting them and their reaction on the show. These poor kids don’t even get THAT dignity.

And I just had to interrupt typing this comment to wash egg off the outside of my house. Happy Halloween, y’all!

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Michelle October 28, 2015 at 9:09 am

Hallelujah, Amen, plus 1,000,000. I am glad to learn I am not the only person who thinks this is mean and downright cruel. A Facebook friend shared the video recently and I only watched about a minute of it before I turned it off. Those little kids were so upset and the parents were laughing!

About a year ago, I saw a online video of a little girl who had to go get a shot and she was terrified. Her parents knew she was terrified. There were about 5 people who went to see this child get a shot. On the tape, you can clearly hear a female voice say “You need to film this and put it on Facebook”. The person filming said “Oh, yes, I am. It’s going up as soon as she gets the shot”. They were laughing like loons.

It was clear to me, and should have been clear to anyone watching that video and listening to all the remarks the “grown-ups” were making, that the parents had invited about 3 other people to witness, film and laugh at their child’s terror. All 5 of the people were joining in saying things like how big the needle was, etc. At one point, the nurse joined in and mocked the child! The child become so terrified that she ran down the hall trying to escape the doctor’s office. The nurse (yes, nurse, not parents) went after her and bodily hauled her in the room and the parents held her down while shot was given. The entire thing was filmed.

It was horrible. There were so many comments about how funny that was, etc. I usually don’t comment on those films but I had to for that one. I simply wrote “This is not funny. Filming your child’s terror and posting it online for family, friends and strangers to laugh at and ‘like’ is cruel”. My comment was not appreciated.

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cdubz October 28, 2015 at 9:56 am

This is horrible, and will have a long term impact on the child’s mental well being. First of all, it teaches her that her body is not her own and she doesn’t have any say over what other people do to her (a TOTAL STRANGER hauled her back into the room and then she was forcefully held down while getting a shot against her consent), that her parents and other adults do not have her back (mocking her instead of reassuring her), and that she has no privacy (everyone now knows, and how much do you want to bet the adults in her life still tease her about it?).

Their thought process probably went “she needs to toughen up, so we’ll tease (bully) her out of it.” I see so much of this from other people, “she needs to lose weight? We’ll tease her into healthy eating and exercising”, “he should quit smoking, let’s harass him until he stops.” It’s especially heartbreaking, though, when it comes from your own parents.

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Jocelyn October 28, 2015 at 10:52 am

50 years ago, my father played a prank on me. My father is not a cruel man, and 50 years later, I’m still puzzled at why he did this. I think having a friend there encouraged him- although I have no memory of who the other man was. But it involved me doing something because he told me to, that I wouldn’t have done if I had known (as the adults clearly did) that it would turn out badly. I felt humiliated at the time, for being ‘foolish’ enough to trust my father. That’s a horrible lesson to teach a child- that you can’t trust your parents, because they’re going to prank you to amuse their friends. That their friends’ temporary amusement is more important than how you’ll feel about it. I would guess that my father figured I’d forget all about it, but the parents who put it on Facebook know that their kids will eventually be able to Google this stuff.

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Lanes October 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm

20-odd years ago, my uncle pulled a prank on me – he had his hands closed (clasped), and only opened them when they were an inch from my face. Inside his hands was the biggest moth I have seen to this day. It gave him a chuckle for about 5 minutes, and left me with a lifelong phobia of winged creatures anywhere near my face, including the nice ones like butterflies.

Pranks are not funny and can have long standing consequences.

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Ella October 30, 2015 at 11:52 pm

I remember one time as a kid,ast home I went swimming with my dad, he’d play a game where he would dunk me under the water and hold me there to him and my slightly older brother it was a silly game. To me it was frightening and I was already ahead of deep water. I’ve hated it since.

iwadasn October 28, 2015 at 11:09 am

At that age, children don’t need to give consent to medical treatment; that’s why their parents give it for them. Do you think any child would choose to get a shot or get their tonsils out or go to the dentist if they weren’t told they had to by a parent? That being said, it’s very sad that a parent would take pleasure in the fear of her child and encourage others to do the same. If the child was afraid of shots in the first place, this experience certainly didn’t help.

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cdubz October 28, 2015 at 1:14 pm

I think you’re getting the wrong idea of what I meant by my post. I did not mean that the child has a right to refuse medical treatment, but I think we can agree they went about it in entirely the wrong way. A person of any age should feel that they have control over their body and what happens to it.

The parents should have had a calm talk with the child regarding expectations and what will happen. They should have calmed her down and explained that it was only going to feel like a pinch, and when the shot was being prepped, diverted her attention away from the needle. The additional adults should have refused their invitation to the “show”. The nurse should have calmly introduced herself to the child and explained that it was going to be over fast and not to worry. And when the child started becoming hysterical, she should have stopped what she was doing, turned to the parents and said “I will give you a few minutes to calm her down.” Not drag her into the room and hold her down.

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cdubz October 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm
Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 8:11 pm

And yet, studies have proven, many times over, that harassing someone not only does NOT stop the behavior about which you are harassing them (smoking, overeating, etc.,) but actually winds up pushing them to do more of the same.

If you want someone to stop smoking, educate them, and then accept that it is THEIR body and THEIR choice, and if they choose to quit smoking, give them all your support, and if they don’t, support them in all the other good areas of their life, and simply don’t support the smoking. It’s enough.

And as for the weight thing, body shaming is simply NEVER OK.

Bullying someone to make them develop a thicker skin doesn’t work nearly as well as teaching them that they have a support network, and are strong and supportive, and don’t have to get upset at that kind of treatment. Teach them that they are above such things. It’s much more effective.

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JO October 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I saw one of these videos, a couple of friends (neither of whom had children) were watching it on a phone, where a child had taken one of those plastic cups they serve kid’s drinks in at chain restaurants. These kinds of cups are not intended for re-use and the kids are expected to take them. Anyhow, the mother was telling the child she shouldn’t have taken it, she had stolen it, and the police would come and arrest her. All the while, the child was crying, begging to be taken back to return the cup, and saying she didn’t know it wasn’t hers. The poor girl ended up on the verge of a panic attack/hysterics, all while the mother goaded on about how she was a theif. It was just awful to watch. I very quickly excused myself.

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Anonymous October 29, 2015 at 7:02 am

Those cups aren’t reusable? I thought they were, and I’ve always kept and reusedd them. I remember one in particular that encouraged reuse, because it was decorated all over with a forest scene, with the animals talking about the environment; the premise being that it was more environmentally friendly to get a plastic cup and reuse it, than to get a paper cup and throw it out after one use.

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Willynilly October 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

I think Jo meant not commercially reusable. The restaurants expect you to take them and reuse at home.

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JO October 29, 2015 at 3:43 pm

That is what I meant. Thank you for clarifying for me 🙂

girl_with_all_the_yarn October 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm

They can’t be 100% sanitized with a restaurant dishwasher without melting or cracking (go ahead. Ask me how I know) so restaurants can’t legally reuse them. But homes don’t have to use the industrial units or cleaners so the plastics are still intact (and probably cleaner than the restaurant could get them anyway. Because restaurants are gross. Once again, go ahead. Ask me how I know).

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Kimberami October 29, 2015 at 1:44 pm

They can’t be reused by the restaurant.

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Noodle October 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm

This angers me on two levels. One for the emotional distress she caused her daughter, but I also really hate it when people threaten kids with the police (as in “See that policeman over there? Be quiet or he will arrest you and take you to jail.”).

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GeenaG October 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Please be aware that lots of doctors offices and clinics hire Medical Assistants who have minimal training and call them “nurses”. In the US it is a felony to represent yourself as a nurse when your are not one yet it happens all the time. If you are not an LPN or an RN with a current valid license you are NOT a nurse. This sounds like the actions of someone just trained to give shots in an office, not the actions of a real professional nurse. If she is a real licensed nurse, shame on her!

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stacey October 28, 2015 at 6:35 pm

I do disagree with the idea that a child cannot ever decline medical treatment. If you cannot calm your child sufficiently for them to abide the shot, you might need to call it a day and try again later. A “hell, no!” should be respected regardless of the age (and in every circumstance where it’s not an emergency).
I was caring for an infant (one of a set of girl twins) who had to take cold medicine in liquid form. Her mom was going to force her and I preferred to approach her and allow her to try. Children often will rise to the occasion. She did, in fact, take the icky medicine, and suffered no trauma other than the aftertaste. I was impressed with her her intuitive grasp of “I can do this, and it’s important”. (The more so because she was only 6 months of age at the time.) Respect is key at all ages, and mutual respect breeds trust.

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EchoGirl October 28, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Even so, that doesn’t make it okay. I’m in AmeriCorps and two of my fellow program members are doing their service at a free clinic. Neither of them really had medical experience before they started there, and yet they wouldn’t dream of doing something like this.

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NostalgicGal November 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

If they are a real licensed RN or LPN a complaint can be filed against them.

I have had to learn to give myself a shot, and a mutual friend with similar condition, we have traded practicing giving each other a shot so just in case some day we have to do that.

That does not make me an RN or LPN or even a clinic trained tech. This means I can get the gumption up to give a shot IF really needed. And I can tell you I would never even try to prank on something like this. The entire lot should be ashamed, embarrassed, and be hauled to task for the trauma they imposed on a minor THEN RECORDED IT AND SHARED IT.

Social services, yes, should perhaps be involved.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm

A friend of mine told me about something he did in his first days of teaching elementary school which shows even the best notions can take a wrong turn.
His fifth grade class had to have some injection and he was told to take them down to the school nurse’s office where a doctor would administer the shots. Knowing many of his students would be frightened, he decided to take the shot first, explain what was happening, and, when they saw it was ok, they would be more relaxed about taking it themselves.
He sat down, said, “Now, class, this shot is subcutaneous. That means the needle is going in just under the skin. Watch, see that little bubble forming? That’s….” whereupon he fainted dead away. He had never fainted before in his life.
When he came to, the doctor said that his students thought he was dead and they were all too frightened to even cry. He was horrified. He thought he would relieve their fears and he made them far more afraid than they would have been if he had said nothing.

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stacey October 29, 2015 at 9:36 am

Oh! I feel your friend’s pain! I’m a BIG believer in information and autonomy and boy, did I EVER make a mistake with my special needs niece years ago (I’m her attendant). I made the mistake of explaining what was coming (knowledge is power, no?) and it did not go over well. Now she had time to be ANXIOUS about the appointment. VERY bad Auntie and I NEVER did it again! (My only excuse is stupidity…. just flat stupidity here, and good intentions.)

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ddwwylm October 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm

I wouldn’t call it stupidity. One of my kids needs to be surprised by information and the other needs lots of lead time and discussing what is going to happen before she can feel secure. The oldest is the one who needs to be surprised, lead time makes her anxious, so I automatically fell into the habit of telling my kids what we were about to do right before doing it. Yeah, several bad reactions later by the younger one, I finally figured out that she needs time to get used to an idea before doing it. Even for something fun, like going to the park, she will automatically say “no” until she has time to process the idea.

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Jade October 29, 2015 at 12:52 am

And I bet those parents had a wow of a time next time they had to take their kid to get her vaccinations or even visit the doctor for a check-up since all that little experience would have taught her is that the doctors office is where bad things happen to you and grown ups are not to be trusted.

Really, some people should be forced to pass a licensing exam before they’re allowed to have children…

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Goldie October 30, 2015 at 8:36 am

See, that’s not even a prank. It’s not even funny. It’s terrible. How do they expect that girl to get her next vaccination shot? Event if they hadn’t posted the video on Facebook, forcing her to get a shot and laughing in her face about it was a stupid thing to do.

Likewise it would be terrible if they told the kid she’s going to a playground, or out to get ice cream or whatever, and drove her to the doctor’s office instead. (Something I’ve seen a lot of people do; and something they will probably do next time, because good luck telling her she’s going in for another shot.)

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Ella October 30, 2015 at 8:43 pm

My mother commented almost exactly the same thing on a video of a child with a developmental delay having his toys set on fire after he had a meltdown. The facebook “friend” said he could laugh at anything he pleased and blocked her. Good riddance.

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 8:07 pm

I am horrified, and also deeply worried that there is some other abuse going on in that home. Yes, ABUSE. This is ABUSE.

If the kid likes to be scared, and likes horror movies, and likes to go to haunted houses, and they CHOOSE to watch the scary movies and go to haunted houses, then that’s fine. But, if they don’t like it AND want it, you don’t force it on them, and you certainly don’t terrify them, get your friends and neighbors and NURSES to HELP terrorize them, and then post it online for strangers the world over to laugh at them!

This is not going to go away, and that little girl is going to grow up, and when people wonder why she doesn’t want to take her children to Grandma’s house, she can say, “Let me show you a little video on YouTube.” That will explain it all.

UGH.

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NostalgicGal November 2, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Especially near or starting school, seems to be a pretty important time to address shots and needles or the phobia can be legendary. I had two pretty terrible things happen within 3 months and both could have been easily preventable (spring during Kindergarten-we only had a month) then just before I started first grade.

It took me a very long time and forget therapy, I was going to claw my way out of there; to get ahead of that and be able to be civil (I had several major procedures done). I turned diabetic a few years ago and can even give myself shots now or others (a similarly diagnosed friend and I have given each other our shots just to get used to giving one to someone else just in case we have to. I could actually hold the finger sized one that had my flu shot in recently, if she’d let me give it in a thigh I would have done it myself.

During some of the dark middle years I’ve met kids at about that age where they are revolting about ‘every time they go to the doc they get a shot’ and some that just hate and scream about it. A few I got parental permission to talk about it with them, get it across that it’s okay not to like them, but yes you gotta have them, and I’m a grownup and get to say whether or not I get the shot and I say yes. And gone into the draw room with a few or sat beside them in an open door exam room and gotten my shot or blood draw too. We can cry, we can be brave, we can get our stickers and our suckers. Heck yes I can be your grandma I’m that old and I still wear my ‘I was good I held still’ sticker with PRIDE. (mom says will they outgrow it, I say maybe not but at least they might be a lot better about it next time) Kids are naturally curious, at 5 I would watch the whole thing. Spend an extra few seconds explaining, let me ‘scratch my itchy arm’ for a few passes, and you could go right ahead. At 6, good luck catching me. I think that the video was absolutely the most horrid thing, and that girl is going to have a lifetime of issues for 15 seconds of video fame that will never disappear because the internet never forgets. Once it’s out there on the social media, it’s there forever.

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Hollyhock October 28, 2015 at 9:13 am

I agree and this is how I feel about those “ambush videos” where an unsuspecting child is surprised at school or elsewhere by, say, a military parent returning from an overseas deployment. I just cringe whenever one of those makes the rounds, usually to vapid, grinning approval of whatever news anchor is featuring it in his/her broadcast.

My dad worked overseas (non military) when I was little and I know that I would have been profoundly shocked if he had appeared somewhere with no warning, and freaked out and it would undermine my trust in my parents and others — particularly if others were standing around laughing, cheering or otherwise reacting to my reaction, let alone if a video of it went viral. I just find these staged moments and glee in duping children to be extremely sadistic and thoughtless.

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Shannan October 28, 2015 at 9:39 am

I actually find these videos to be heartwarming.

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Tracy P October 28, 2015 at 10:28 am

Wow, you took this in a whole other direction. Now we shouldn’t film a happy moment in a kids life? does this mean we can’t film them at birthday parties? Because that is staged. And how is the parent getting home duping the child?

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GeenaG October 28, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Film whatever you want but keep it private. When the kid is all grown up they can post the films themselves if they chose to do so. I do not believe parents should co-opt that choice for children just because they’re the parents.

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Yep. Grown-ups, when they are filmed, have to sign waivers to allow the film to be used/viewed by others. Why should not children receive the same respect?

As for the surprise return of a loved-one, some people react well to surprises, and others just don’t react well to surprises, good or bad, and it’s cruel to laugh at them about it.

Surprises, pranks, jokes, and pretty much anything involving other people should be done with the other person IN MIND. Know your audience, as the saying goes. If you know this person will react well, then fine. if you know they’ll react badly, then you are setting them up for a cruel joke. If you don’t know, either way, then rethink doing it, at all, and if you do decide to go ahead, and you want to film it, then film it discreetly, and let THEM decide what to do with it.

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NostalgicGal November 2, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Some events a club I was held in conjunction with our local county fair, I had to deal with our imported ‘guest stars’ and a Major Cable film crew; I helped chase a lot of paperwork that day that HAD to get signed or the footage couldn’t be used. Those that get Video Pranked or put on some of those TV shows didn’t get the privilege or right to sign anything giving rights. That much is very wrong. Those wild spring break video makers finally got cornered for that and shut down and sued to kingdom come (should have come many videos before the law finally did step in). I feel this way on some of this prank for TV or prank for your 15 seconds of fame stuff.

Jocelyn October 28, 2015 at 11:02 am

I saw it happen one time, the dad arrived home to a birthday party. He walked in, and his kids completely ignored him- they just wrote it off as ‘another soldier’ had stopped by for the party. Oops.

BUT- a lot of military moms won’t tell the kids Dad is coming home, because even after leave has been promised, it might be retracted. In the above case, the dad was trapped en route by sandstorms, and literally arrived in the US as the party was about to start. How much worse it would have been if they’d been told he’d be home on Tuesday…and Tuesday came and went…and Wednesday…and Thursday… So a lot of military kids KNOW that Dad’s arrival home will be a surprise. I would hope that families are using good judgment about surprising kids who cope well with happy surprises. What made the above party so wonderful, was that the dad had been trying so hard to be there for his son’s birthday party, and everything was conspiring against him. He got to the last leg of his (commercial) flight and there were no seats available on the only flight that would get him home…until the gate attendant made an announcement that here was a fine young soldier trying to get home for his son’s birthday party…would anyone agree to take a later flight and let him get home?

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lakey October 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

I don’t feel that the military person returning home videos are in the same category with the ones where people lie to their kids to get a rise out of them.
The parent coming home isn’t a mean thing. By the way, the videos of military people coming home to their dogs are also great. It’s amazing how excited the dogs get.

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Ernie October 28, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I agree with you Hollyhock. That is a lot to process as a kid, and the point that a lot of people miss is that its a really hard thing to do when you add the “being filmed for the public” part to it.

Like pranks, it seems entertaining to the people in the know, but it is taking away from the experience for the kid.

I’m ok with the suprise element, becuase of Jodelyn’s reasons, I just disagree with the filming it part. Just let the kid enjoy the moment, in full, for what it is.

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Dee October 28, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Hollyhock – I agree with you. It’s a wonderful thing when the dad comes home but why is it necessary to use the kids’ reaction and feelings as entertainment? Wouldn’t it be nice if the kids could get a heads-up at least a few minutes before the meeting so that they could get their emotions in order? Or would that be too much to expect adults to do for small people who do not have the ability to punish adults for their greed and manipulations? Kids, after all, don’t have money or power. Do the adults really want all their own most emotional moments set up and surreptitiously filmed for maximum entertainment for the world to see? I doubt it.

It’s akin to those public wedding proposals. How insincere can such a proposal be if it’s not actually a proposal but a foregone conclusion on the part of the asker? I mean, it’s not as if she isn’t under extreme pressure to say “yes” and has any support from the audience to say “no”. A proposal is between two people only. Nobody else really cares to see such a private exchange except for that little bit of hope that she will actually say “no” and then the drama can begin. Entertainment!

But this is what happens when people forget to live authentically and want to manipulate their lives and everyone else’s to mirror TV. It’s The Truman Show in real life.

I hate the JK videos and won’t watch them. What I will watch in years to come (I hope) are the hilarious videos those kids will post of them punking their parents. “Mom, Dad, I’m sorry to tell you this but I (am pregnant, have AIDS/cancer, murdered my brother)”. I can’t wait.

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shhh its me October 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm

I think we are starting to cast a really wide net here . Most of the people I know who got married in the last 20 years BOTH knew and discussed in detail that they were planning to get married well before the actual “official” proposal.

As far as the military families go , although heartwarming , they seem to be getting “bigger” rather then just Mom/Dad walked in the door at home. Its Mom/Dad came to school to surprise them in the middle of class. I think if you’re surprising your child in public you have to consider whether your child likes surprises , but rather then assume callousness or exploitation I think we can assume the parents know their 12 year old child likes surprises and possibly even asked before they posted the video.

In general parents have no way to know what will go viral , I’m sure for every viral video of a kid there are 10,000s of ones that only a few family friends bother to look up. Parents should use reasonable discretion of posting things of their kids ….but there is no-one from a viral video I could ID in public I would have to know them ahead of time.

Sending a video to Jimmy Kimmel is not the same as posting it to youtube. Pranking a young child is not the same as catching a funny or heartwarming moment by chance. My answer is , stop watching.

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admin October 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

Jimmy Kimmel advises parents to upload the video to Youtube with the title, “Hey Jimmy Kimmel I told me kids I hate their Halloween candy”. His staff then peruses the recent uploads to youtube and chooses snippets to create a montage that airs on the show.

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Jazzgirl205 October 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

It’s possible that I am clueless, but all my marriage proposals were a complete surprise. In none of the circumstances were we even dating exclusively.

I do not like the filmed extravagant proposals. If the man isn’t darned sure she’ll say yes, it seems designed to put pressure on her and leaves her no way to let him down gently. If he’s positive she’ll say yes, the occasion has this whole, “Here’s the moment you’ve longed for” vibe.

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Anonymous October 28, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Or, how about, “I maxed out your credit card?” Bonus points if this prank is performed by a kid who hates shopping.

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NostalgicGal November 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I can tell you that one gas pump here in town, runs a pre-auth of $1 and a hold of $125. If you do not pump any gas at all, after a minute and 15 it freezes and leaves the pre auth and hold on for 72. Someone did that on purpose to someone else’s debit card, and really messed their weekend up (Call bank and the merchant had to be the one to release and the merchant had it set automatically so it had to run 72hrs on the clock before it lifted.) That is beyond pranking.

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Lerah99 October 29, 2015 at 7:41 am

I am also deeply uncomfortable with the “Surprise the Kid with their military parent’s homecoming videos”. It’s not ok to exploit your kid’s heightened emotions for the entertainment of the internet. If you are going to surprise a kid like that, do it privately in their home – not out at a big public venue like a football game, fair, school play, etc… and then record it.

It’s the recording it that lets me know this isn’t about the kid but about the parents patting themselves on the back for setting up the whole thing and watching their kid freak out in public.

Additionally, I find public wedding proposals to be VERY tacky.
You are asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you. You are asking to build a life together, join your financial assets, and in some religions even become as one person in the eyes of God. That should be a serious and intimate moment. It is not the time for showboating, grandstanding, and playing “Look at me!”

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:00 pm

OH, public proposals!

OK, two things: 1) as you said, it puts undue pressure on the person receiving the proposal to say “Yes.” “But, how could I refuse, with everyone watching? It would have been too utterly humiliating for him!” So, they wind up engaged and unhappy about it, and then have to deal with the issue of how soon is too soon and how late is too late to call off the wedding?

Second: I was at a football game, once, and during the half-time, someone held up a big banner that said, “Marry me, Mary!” (or some other extremely common feminine name). Directly behind us, I heard a delighted squeal of “OH, YES! YEESSSS!” followed by a shocked and confused, “WHAT? NO! That wasn’t ME! That wasn’t meant for YOU!”

Quickly looking around, I noticed a few other similar events, and one very happy couple, who were oblivious to all the confusion. It would have been great for a rom-com, I suppose, but I felt sorry for all those other couples, since the women were all disappointed, some of them even angry, and the men felt pressured and some even felt guilty. It’s just not right.

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NostalgicGal November 8, 2015 at 1:51 am

I’ve seen enough have the public hooozah proposal, one down on the knee and they just sort of shake head no and run for the exit. They a) weren’t ready for this no matter how it was presented b) had it been intimate, might have gone over or c) over the moon.

I feel for this game proposal and probably several ended relationships (she’s been hoping for a ring for far too long and he’s not ready if ever) or she wants it and he might but he got cornered and ran, or C he planned something totally different, right now-it made him run.

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Renee October 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Well this post took a hard left…..

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Dee October 28, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Rosie – It’s all about the trend to humiliate people on camera and then broadcast it on the internet. Not fair to do it to kids with Halloween candy, loved ones coming home from service, or surprise public proposals. They all stink.

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Dee October 28, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Sorry – I meant Renee.

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Anonymous October 28, 2015 at 10:06 pm

I didn’t mean the kid should actually max out the parents’ credit cards; I just meant that it would be a good role reversal/adult equivalent of the Halloween candy prank.

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Renee October 29, 2015 at 9:52 am

Let me clarify. I say the post took a hard left b/c we are comparing military and proposal videos to videos of kids being subjected to cruel pranks by their parents. In my opinion this is apples and oranges

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Dee October 29, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Renee – Different scenarios but the same motivation. Greed and a need for attention/drama, with the negative consequences to others ignored.

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Arwen October 31, 2015 at 3:33 pm

I’m not sure you can assume greed and a need for attention with the homecoming videos and public proposals. I would hope parents would know their kids, and guys proposing would know their girlfriends. I would have LOVED a public, video taped proposal. It seems fun, and I enjoy looking through old photos and videos for the memories. I also enjoy the homecoming videos – if anyone had ever filmed such a moment in my childhood, I would treasure it as an adult. I don’t think you can make a blanket statement that says they are ALWAYS wrong, they ALWAYS have negative consequences, and are ONLY done for selfish/negative reasons.

JO October 28, 2015 at 9:28 am

Perfectly said admin. This is just disgusting, and if I ever played such a prank on my child (I never would) I would be only embarrassed to have my cruelty demonstrated to all the world. Shame on Jimmy, shame on the parents, and shame on the sadistic voyeurs who find it amusing.

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Politrix October 28, 2015 at 9:38 am

Thank you so much for this, e-Hell Dame. I can’t believe how many people think this is funny. WTH? Why doesn’t Kimmel do this with his own kids if he thinks it’s sooooo hilarious? (Actually, if he did, I really don’t wanna know about it.)
I remember a YouTube comment under one of those videos that made me smile, something to the effect of:
“Your kids will thank you for this later in life. Don’t worry, you’ll be asleep. You won’t feel a thing.”

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:03 pm

“Thank you, Mommy, Dearest.”

And Jimmy Kimmel, the ghost of Joan Crawford has a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 9:44 am

I always believe there is some form of cruelty that masquerades as one of these “jokes”, but which the adults deny under the guise of humor.
It is also possible that the parent is highly neurotic. I recall, even after so many years, the day that my mother told me she was dying and that I had to stay in her room to be with her when she died. I was nine years old, had never seen a dead person and had no idea as to what to do when someone was dying. I was terrified and spent the day locked in her room with her and crying.
Dad came home and unlocked the door. I recall running down the hall to escape and her calling after me, “Don’t you WANT to be with me when I die?”
No, I was nine and not ready to be the sole caregiver of a dying woman. It was some time before I realized that she was not even ill. She just wanted to know if I loved her. If I believed she was dying and cried, that was the proof she wanted that I loved her.

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Lisa H. October 28, 2015 at 10:32 am

That is just awful. I am so sorry.

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m October 28, 2015 at 10:56 am

I am very sorry for what you went through. I hope you’re doing better now.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 6:41 pm

It took me years to stop smiling constantly after I left home. I taught high school and my students would ask me why I was so happy. Once I realized how disturbed my mother was, I was able to accept that she had an illness and that I was not the cure.

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MissJagger October 28, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Cat, I am so sorry you were put through such a horrible day. Just curious, how did your father react when he realized what was going on? I hope that in the years since that day your mother has found a healthier way to deal with her insecurities.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Dad pretending that things didn’t happen. I was very excited when I turned 14 and could get a restricted driver’s license. Mom told me that she and Dad had decided that I was not going to be allowed to drive as I did not need to go anywhere. It was my job to stay home and to keep her company.
She didn’t want me sitting with anyone at lunch or going to anyone’s house and no one was allowed to come see me. I was to be mother’s friend because she was lonely. I didn’t need any other friends.
When I was 23, Dad asked me why I had wanted so much to get a license nine years earlier and then I had dropped it until I turned 21. He had no idea that Mother had told me they had agreed that I could not have one or that I was not allowed to have friends. He just never noticed that I never had a friend come over for 12 years.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Sorry, pretended, not pretending.

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Goldie October 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Wow, just wow 🙁

wren October 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm

My heart aches for you. Somehow you managed to overcome a sick mother and a clueless dad

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Noodle October 31, 2015 at 6:39 pm

I went through something very similar with my parents except they were in agreement (they were also alcoholics and I think they didn’t want me leaving because I could take care of them when they were drinking). Your posts are very inspiring and thank you for sharing them.

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NostalgicGal November 2, 2015 at 8:48 pm

I can feel too. Mostly my dad was cheap. I finished Driver’s Ed and could send my stuff in because I was within 1 month of 16 and they would have issued the DL and waited a few days to send it to me so it would be legal-no driving test. NOPE I had to wait until 16. Mom didn’t have a license either so we both got permits and I scheduled the testing for both of us. Dad just couldn’t make it that day. Mom let her permit lapse. I renewed mine and tried twice more to get the test done (driving) and both times ‘something just came up’. (insurance was a heckuva lot cheaper him having only one driver on policy). Then comes graduation. He waits for me to ask for what I wanted. I wanted a particular big box store common as everything cheap 10 speed. What???? He had picked out a new car for me. One of the few times I got to raise a voice back to him: no driver’s license. Any dollar of value that car had over $XXXX was considered available to pay my tuition. So that just wiped out two years of my working on my aid packet to go to school. I couldn’t afford to license, maintain, insure, or park it. So he buys me a weird offbrand girl’s 3 speed bike. I hate girl frame bikes and always had, and he paid twice what the 10 speed cost. I’m surprised I got the ride to college. I sold the bike for $17.50 after it broke the first week and walked…. no I wasn’t staying home and Dad knew I’d enlist just to get out of there if I didn’t get the ride to college….. (we’d also had some months before I left of him trying to decide my life and the circle kept getting smaller and smaller until I was pretty much staying there…. then I hit graduation)

Cat and Noodle, glad you ‘escaped’. I finally did get the license at 23. After I got married and my DH got brave enough to let me learn to lurch his ’74 clutch. I hope you’re both in the kick keysters and take names club, you’ve earned it!

hearsegirl October 28, 2015 at 6:01 pm

I am so sorry you had to endure that. Thank you for sharing that with us. Sharing can be re-living, so I applaud your courage here, and also then.
My mother behaved similarly in that throughout my childhood and young adulthood she would make wild health and emotional abuse claims to “collect” my reactions and garner sympathy and also to manipulate me. Years later she called me from an overseas hospice to tell me she was dying of cancer. I made her put the nurse on the phone to confirm her terminal diagnosis before I would engage with her. The nurse was clearly dumbfounded by my demand but complied. I tried to explain to her, but quickly realized it really didn’t matter what she thought… She knew what she knew and I knew what I knew.
years later, I find myself sometimes watching mothers and children together on tv, movies or at the park and thinking cynical thoughts. Often a mixture of disbelief and jealousy. What damage we do by lying to children.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 6:36 pm

One thing I have to admit, I have never been afraid of anything in my adult life. I have always thought, “I got through that. I can eat this problem for breakfast!” It’s not so much courage as it is experience and endurance.

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just4kicks October 29, 2015 at 1:09 am

@Cat: Oh, Honey….my heart hurts for you.
What an awful thing to do to you.
I hope you are having a wonderful life!

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Annie October 29, 2015 at 10:22 am

I admire you so much. Thank you for sharing this.

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:09 pm

I really admire that about you, Cat. You came out stronger. So many people who have gone through similar stuff could NOT eat problems for breakfast, but you, you can DEAL! You’re amaze-balls awesome, because of how your turned all this into a massive character strength!

I’m always glad to read your posts, even with the gob-smacking that usually entails, because it reminds me of the power of human beings to overcome.

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:06 pm

At first, I was too boggled that anyone could do this, I just stared at the screen in confusion. And then, I double-checked the name. Oh, it’s Cat. She has THAT family.

I believe everything you write about your family, but it never ceases to amaze me. And almost all of it boils down to your neurotic mother, I think. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, thanks to her.

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JWH October 28, 2015 at 9:50 am

This reminds me of a video I saw a couple years back. An overweight kid was apparently at an amusement park with his aunt, and he was deathly afraid of the roller coaster they were on. He was crying as they were strapped into it … and then he cried more during the ride. Meanwhile, his aunt was sitting beside him laughing the whole time.

A lot of YouTube commenters thought it was funny (partially because the kid was fat) … but I was sitting there wondering what kind of person would inflict that kind of torture on a kid, laugh at his pain, and record it and put it on the Web.

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Michelle October 28, 2015 at 11:22 am

I honestly think these kind of people are sadistic. Or psychotic. Laughing at a child being terrified of a roller coaster and thinking it’s doubly hilarious because he’s fat?! Good grief. Has almost everyone except E-Hellions lost their empathy and common sense??

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Anon October 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Ugh, I don’t like roller coasters either. And I bet you he was not on there because he wanted to be. So not only do they make fun of him for being afraid (guess what, while it is extremely rare, roller coasters have broken down and killed people! And you can be afraid of heights too!) but they also forced him to go on it.

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GeenaG October 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Honestly I don’t get why people just can’t accept that almost everyone is freaked out by some things. We all have “our things” that we just can’t bear to be around so I don’t get why anyone would make fun of others for their fears.

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JWH October 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

It really ticked me off. I mean, I understand taking your kid on a roller coaster if he’s terrified of it. Sometimes, you just want the kid to confront his fear. But filming the kid’s terror … oy.

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Becca October 28, 2015 at 2:22 pm

I wonder if these cruel hearted individuals who laugh at a terrified kid AND mock their obesity issue are the same people mystified by kids who hurt others or themselves after years of torment by everyone around them, even strangers.

I know theyre the ones who tell us to “lighten up” and “kids need a thicker skin”, it’s a gross section of society to say the least.

I dont even like private jokes at a kids expense. My best friend teases her kids sometimes, nothing too nasty but one time she asked me “didn’t your mom ever tease you? Like call you four eyes or anything?” “No. Not at all. She told me I was awesome and beautiful, even though as a kid my response was ‘you’re my mom, you have to think I’m beautiful.'” And I had massive self esteem issues because of bullying, to have my family join in would have been too much

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JWH October 28, 2015 at 11:06 pm

I pulled plenty of stuff with my little brother when we were growing up. But that’s ordinary sibling stuff. As an adult, I sometimes joke with my stepson. I’m really good at deadpan, so sometimes I’ll build an outlandish story and see how long he’ll buy it.

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Anonymouse October 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

Wow… I tease my daycare kids sometimes (ex. telling them I’m going to sell all the toys, or ask if they want me to “cut it off” when they get minor injuries). They KNOW I’m teasing… we’ve built enough of a relationship they know I won’t really cut off their leg (especially when I’m putting the band-aid on as we’re joking). Some of the older/more mature ones have started to tease me back, and it’s a lot of fun.

Still, the worst name I’ve ever called a kid is “George.” Calling them “four-eyes” or other mean nicknames, particularly ones that prey on physical things kids might be sensitive about (or be teased by other kids for), is crossing a line IMHO.

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Shoegal October 29, 2015 at 1:08 pm

My sister and brother-in-law would often watch our nephews. They would tease the two of them and say that they weren’t going to return them to their parents and have renamed them “Bart” and “Dude.” Neither one of them liked their new name and would become furious. I always thought this was funny – they didn’t care if they made it back to their parents (they were treated like Kings) but didn’t want their name to change. Now, I’m rethinking this prank. What kind of damage was done? They are young men now – I think I’ll ask them.

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Jo October 29, 2015 at 5:15 pm

There was no damage done. For heaven’s sake, so we can’t even gently tease family now? I agree the Jimmy Kimmel ‘prank’ is cruel and in poor taste, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a sense of humour! My whole family are great prankers and I never grew up with self esteem issues, or feeling unloved! I think we, as a society, are getting far to precious about things.

When my son annoys me, I jokingly tell him I’m going to take him to a Russian orphanage. For ages, he’d just go “haha, funny Mum!” at me. Then one day he came home from school and went, “Mum! I found out what an orphanage really IS!” He was outraged! Not crying, not traumatized, just a sudden realisation of exactly what I’d been saying for ages. Does he need therapy? No. Does he trust me? Yes. Did I think it was hilarious? Yup! Do I still do it? You bet!

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:11 pm

There are those who think that anything a fat person does, including merely existing, is simply hilarious. I don’t understand why, and I don’t like it.

Add terror to that, and I don’t have words to describe how much I hate this.

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Kimberly Herbert October 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

I also agree that it is cruel and undermines a child’s trust in their parents.

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clairedelune October 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

Totally agreed with Admin. This is just sadism dressed up as family fun. Gross.

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VM October 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

“What parent does this?” I suspect Jimmy Kimmel’s would. He’s told stories about when he was a kid, his mom would lie down on the floor and pretend to be dead until he cried.

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Lisa H. October 28, 2015 at 10:34 am

WHAT? I just can’t believe why a parent would do something like that? Why? ugh.

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HotMango October 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

So if Jimmy’s dad beat him unmercifully every day of his childhood, it would be ok to encourage other parents to do likewise and film those beatings for broadcast on his show? I can’t believe he doesn’t remember how hurtful his mom’s “jokes” were to an impressionable, confused child. Unbelievable.

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Anonymouse October 29, 2015 at 11:22 am

My husband does that to me. 🙁

Least funny joke ever.

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just4kicks October 31, 2015 at 2:30 am

My dad did that to my older sister once when she was a teenager, and one of her friend’s father had just passed from a sudden heart attack.
She was hysterical and (rightly so imo) didn’t talk to him for about a week.
SO not funny….my dad is not a cruel person…I have no idea WHY on earth he thought that would be amusing.

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:17 pm

This made me think of my friend, whose late husband died in his sleep, right beside her. She has since married a snorer. He apologized to her, about his snoring, but she told him it was the most comforting sound in the world, because she always knew he was still alive.

Scaring someone, especially a child, who is dependent on you, with a fake death? Not OK. Unless you have to fake your death for to disappear with a brand-new identity and a new life, in order to actually save your life or the life of a loved on, I cannot approve.

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NostalgicGal November 3, 2015 at 1:11 am

Anonymouse, I’d get a nice cold glass of ice water, then bend over to check if he truly was dead and give him a good christening. It would probably take once, and ‘well, you were so surprised that he was still breathing that you dumped the calming drink you just got yourself just in case….’

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Sarah October 28, 2015 at 10:29 am

OP – way to go!
You are SO right!

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Coralreef October 28, 2015 at 10:32 am

Be nice to your children, they are the ones who will be choosing your retirement home.

I find pranking young children to make them cry to be cruel. The disappointment and betrayal is not something that goes away. I’m 54 and I still remember how I felt when someone was mean to me, intentionnaly or not. They never regained my trust.

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Renee October 28, 2015 at 10:40 am

I do not like pranks on unsuspecting people. I do not understand how it is “cool” to violate someone like this. Please enlighten me. How is it funny to fake a dead body in an elevator? How is it funny to jump out of a trash can and startle the heck out of a stranger? How is it funny to upset your child on purpose and film their reaction?

I have a sense of humor and I love Halloween. I just don’t get why people think these things are ok. If the person is a “prankster” themselves, then have at it. However when you do this to strangers or people who did not ask to be apart of a prank (ie the child in the videos) it is not OK

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David October 28, 2015 at 10:52 am

I will not watch videos where cruelty to children, trying to terrorize people (like the dog in the spider costume), or people getting hurt are played for laughs.

The first year I went trick-or-treating my candy disappeared overnight. I realized where it was a few days later when I saw the top of the bag in the roaster – my father was using it to add to his lunch at work. So I learned early on to have a couple of hiding places for the good candy and one easy to find place for the candy I didn’t mind him taking.

I am very glad that easy video and Youtube did not exist when I was younger, because my parents would have done this type of thing.

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Anon October 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

I once got a huge chocolate bar for Halloween that my parents confiscated because it was “too much candy” (and a whole bag of candy is okay?).

Of course it was gone by the time I could have it. And of course my dad was the one who ate it (wasn’t to bring for his lunch or anything, he usually just sees something that he likes and he’ll eat it).

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Michelle October 28, 2015 at 11:26 am

So instead of just buying some candy at the store and putting in his lunch, he basically stole your candy??? I just don’t understand some “adults”.

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bern821 October 28, 2015 at 12:34 pm

OMG, your dad just took your entire stash of Halloween candy immediately and hid it from you so he could eat it with his lunch? That is really mean!

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Devin October 28, 2015 at 3:48 pm

I know plenty of parents who take their children’s candy after Halloween. They do it so they can ration it out so the kid isn’t eating too many empty calories or making themselves sick. I know plenty of these parents help themselves to some of the candy too (some of these kids get 5+ lbs of candy). After Halloween night my parents would put our candy away and let us pick a piece for an afternoon treat or as a reward for doing chores. If they hadn’t been snacking on it too, it would have gone bad before we’d eaten it all. To sneak the candy away from you and eat it all himself was mean.

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Coralreef October 29, 2015 at 9:16 am

My daughter has food allergies, so the candy stash was split into 3 piles: No (goes to ToTers), Yes (shared between 2 siblings), Trading (for uneven / disliked items). The items in the trading pile were negociated between the children, any leftovers were mine. If I had a craving for something, I asked them if they would trade. They usually gifted me my favourites.

The children “worked” to get those candies, they were not mine and I would never dream of taking them away, even for a prank.

To this day, they still trust me with many things, not all of them material.

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Bellyjean October 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm

+1 🙂

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Kate October 29, 2015 at 2:11 am

Oh, thank you for bringing up the spider thing.
I think some people who don’t have many fears, or who are afraid of more abstract things like death or public speaking, can be dismissive of people with phobias like spiders, cockroaches, enclosed spaces, heights etc. These fears or full blown phobias might seem irrational if you don’t have one, but they are extremely distressing to the person suffering them.
I’ve got a phobia of spiders and moths, I can cope with killing small spiders and moths myself, but anything larger than a couple of millimetres and I need to leave the room. If a large spider or moth reveals itself unexpectedly I will usually have a panic attack and there are situations and places I totally avoid because of this phobia.
I know it can be helped by therapy. People playing spider or moth related pranks on me, however, will absolutely NOT help.

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just4kicks October 31, 2015 at 2:34 am

My oldest son is very afraid of spiders.
While we were out shopping a few weeks ago, one of my other kids picked up a fake but very real looking spider and said we should buy this and put it (brothers) car, who was home from college that weekend.
I said no way….not in his car.
What if he sees it while on the highway and crashes???
“Ooohhh, didn’t think of it that way Mom!”

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just4kicks October 31, 2015 at 2:38 am

I’m deathly afraid of clowns, they are just creepy to me.
I was a very little girl and we went to the circus.
In front of us were a group of handicapped children, I don’t know what it’s called medically, but it’s the condition where there is water on the brain giving the appearance of very large heads and tiny bodies.
I had never seen anyone like that before and I was terrified of them, and remember the clowns spending slot of time with these kids trying to make them laugh.

However, “IT” with the fabulous Tim Curry is on tv today, and my kids and I have a date to watch.

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Kate November 3, 2015 at 4:12 am

I’ve always been terrified of finding a spider in the car mid-drive (and I’m Australian so we have some big-deal spiders).
I remember the absolute heart freezing terror of sitting in the passenger seat of my dad’s car as a child, flipping the sun visor down and having a huge huntsman spider drop into my lap. I screeched the loudest expletive of my life and jumped out of the car, which fortunately was not yet moving. I can only imagine I’d do the same if I was driving 100km/hr on a freeway because it was the only reaction that made sense to me.

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NostalgicGal November 3, 2015 at 5:23 pm

My aunt had an Olds ’88, one of the huge boatish ones. I was with a (one of her sons’ fiancés) a girl cousin a year older, then me. The passenger window was jammed down. One of her youngest sons decided to carry a dead daddy longlegs over to the car by one leg. 8 year old me I think broke every eardrum in a block and had all four of us shoved past the center hump on the front seat and I was trying for farther. My aunt was at the steering wheel (we were loading so car wasn’t turned on) and nope only way I was going was farther her way. She screamed until son got it through thick skull he better get rid of the corpse way over there, and get the blip away from the car. I could then be coaxed to move over enough SHE could get out. I don’t think that fellow sat down for supper. I did not get in trouble only because it was obvious the tormenting cousin had caused me to lose my gourd. Had he not done that, those three wouldn’t have gotten squished. She DID insist and the car went to the dealership the next week and that window got fixed. My arachnidophobia is a tad bit better today. We’ll say a tad….

Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:30 pm

Stories like this show why the kids really believe Kimmel’s prank. They’ve all heard about the parent who actually does that.

So sad that you had to learn at an early age that you couldn’t trust your own father, and that you had to be sneaky and hide your own stuff to protect it.

And later on, he probably wondered why his child was so sneaky. Couldn’t possibly be HIS fault, right?

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Annie October 28, 2015 at 10:53 am

My friend did this to her son a few years ago and showed me the video. I was disturbed by it and didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know about the Jimmy Kimmel thing until I read this. The odd thing is that my friend normally is one of the kindest, most loving people I know. I’m glad I’m not the only person who finds this “prank” exploitive and cruel.

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Library Diva October 28, 2015 at 10:55 am

I actually love most pranks, but this one crosses a line to me because it’s parents trying to evoke an emotional reaction from their kids and then filming it for the whole world to see.

When I was growing up, we had this ceramic music box that was an old-fashioned nurse figurine. The head broke off, and we’d delight in “pranking” each other with the head. One morning, I’d go to get a hair tie out of the box on my dresser and find it in there. So I’d take it downstairs and put it in my mom’s package of cookies. Things like that are pretty harmless. No one was scared of the head, it was just a silly thing to do, and it wasn’t filmed for worldwide commentary.

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Michelle October 28, 2015 at 11:29 am

I think the kind of prank with the nurse head is funny. It’s not done to scare anyone or provoke a meltdown and it was not filmed for the whole world to see. Just a family kind of goofing around with each other.

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Becca October 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

That sort of prank, when it’s mutual like that is hilarious to me.

Everyone is on it and trying to play with the others involved.

Granted I fell down the bleachers in high school and everyone was very concerned for me. My friend knew that I was okay and was laughing to the point of tears, the others were so mad at her. Until they came running to me and I was cackling myself, I’m a big goof most days and it hit my funny bone needless to say.

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Michelle C Young October 31, 2015 at 10:33 pm

Oh, that’s a sweet family prank! I love it!

I can just picture this being used as a silent way to say, “I love you! Good luck on your big, important thing today!” by someone who had to leave the house too early to say the words to someone. Because when you find that head, you know, they were thinking of you. Awwww.

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Girlie October 28, 2015 at 10:55 am

Children are human beings in their own right. They do not deserve to be unjustly mocked, made fun of, antagonized, and treated cruelly so that older, “wiser” adults can get a laugh out of it.

In my Sunday school class, we somehow got on the subject of school uniforms one day. I asked my elementary-aged children who they thought needed uniforms more – little kids or big kids. They answered that big kids need them more. I asked why, and one of my fourth-grade boys said that it was because “older people are better at hurting you.” The truth to his statement broke my heart.

I want to live in a world that proves him wrong, but things like this reinforce his statement even more.

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Leigh October 28, 2015 at 11:18 am

I don’t mind pranks per se; when they are done in a non-hurtful, non-humiliating way, but not on kids. I especially hate the ones where people film a child (or spouse, or parent) coming out of anesthesia; I can’t think of a more vulnerable time for someone-they have no control over anything, and someone is filming a reaction for their own amusement.

What’s so great about making your kid cry? I don’t get it.

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HotMango October 28, 2015 at 11:18 am

Amen a thousand times to everything you said Admin. I have always hated pranks because I’ve never understood them. What makes purposefully embarrassing someone so hilarious? A while back, it was all the rage to post videos of your kid as he was just coming out of anesthesia for some minor medical or dental procedure so his incomprehensible ramblings could be the entertainment of total social media strangers. I feel like the lone voice in the wilderness in that I totally detest it whenever these types of embarrassing things come scrolling up my feed. Everybody else seems to enjoy them as they clamor for more.

But I agree the Kimmel videos are something much, much worse. We, as a society, have become so much more aware of the signs of domestic abuse, and we are much less willing to turn away when we suspect children are being hurt within their own families. Why is this not considered a form of emotional abuse? Is it because there are no visible and physical welts on these poor kids’ minds that it makes these videos not only ok but acceptable enough to broadcast? Is it all right as long as you get enough likes, shares and LOLs on Facebook?

“What are you complaining about kid at least I got you 15 minutes of fame on TV?” Michael Jackson was world famous and I think everyone knows that he didn’t have a very good childhood.

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Becca October 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm

My parents taped me with a camcorder (dating myself, it had a vhs tape in it) after my wrist surgery, all dingy on the pain meds. Lots of a 12 year old cursing and muttering going on. It was a home video, to share with me later and also they got a kick out of it. However they’d never put it out in public for strangers to mock their daughter.

So I can see parents taping the moments, it’s who they choose to share with that gets under my skin!

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LadyV October 28, 2015 at 11:45 am

I am SO glad to see that I’m not the only person who finds this “prank” to be disgraceful. Do these people not remember how they felt about Halloween when they were kids? Admin, your list of “undesirable truths” is perfect. It’s one thing to encourage an innocent belief in something like Santa Claus – although I know of some children that have been unhappy with their parent when they found out Santa didn’t exist. But to lie to children about something that a parent should KNOW the child will have an extremely negative reaction to is just sadistic. And speaking of sadistic – the earlier post about the parents who not only filmed their child getting a shot, but BROUGHT PEOPLE ALONG to watch and laugh, made me feel sick to my stomach. What kind of parent DOES that kind of thing????

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Angel October 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm

I don’t think the pranks are that funny to be honest. Children need to know they can trust their parents and pranking them (and filming it, no less!) erodes that trust over time I think. Plus I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me. I also don’t like those shaming videos either. People used to just do it to pets–now it has carried over into human beings. Not cool. Not that doing it to pets is cool either. Nope not at all!

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essie October 28, 2015 at 12:30 pm

They say that one of the best ways to judge a person’s character is by how he treats those who can do nothing to him.

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JO October 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm

This right here.

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Laura October 28, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I’ve never understood this Jimmy Kimmel tradition. It’s the same to me as people who force their kids to sit on Santa’s lap just to get a funny picture. Sure, teasing kids can be fun in proper doses, but this is too much. Some people will do anything for a few second of fame.

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bern821 October 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm

I agree that it’s really mean to trick your kid into crying (or worse – having a tantrum/meltdown) for your own amusement. Even worse if you’re doing so just to get your stupid face on TV!!
I also hate the new and horrible ‘tradition’ I’ve seen in which a parent shoves the face of their young child into the birthday cake while everyone is singing Happy Birthday. That infuriates me, it’s so cruel. I’ve seen this multiple times on various silly video clip TV shows. I know I would have NEVER gotten over that if my parents did that to me.
Lastly – I think it’s borderline child abuse to scare and/or terrify children for your own amusement. Coming into the room with a horrifying mask on, that type of thing. What is wrong with people???

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Ulla October 28, 2015 at 3:53 pm

I think that one is actually quite old and predates social media. I remember seeing such videos in the old style “funny home videos”-programs that were shown in TV around 90’s. And it seemed even then that some of the videos were older, from 80’s. I never liked those funny home videos, even back then. Most of them were about someone getting hurt. I don’t think there is anything new going on with these youtube videos. There is just more publicity to be gained, very easily.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 6:52 pm

I, too, think that smashing a person’s face into their birthday cake is a hateful thing to do. I saw a video in which the young woman’s head was driven down with such force that she was knocked unconscious. Why would anyone decide to launch an attack on someone on his/her birthday?

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Anonymous October 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Agreed. Also, it’s a crazy waste of food, because smashing a birthday cake (that someone else probably made) would ruin the cake for everyone in attendance. If I made that cake, I’d be angry with someone who smashed my handiwork, for sure.

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Jazzgirl205 October 29, 2015 at 9:28 am

I don’t see anything wrong with scaring a child for a brief second by walking in the room with a mask (unless it’s their dark bedroom late at night). After they jump, they usually laugh. However, if a 4 yo tries to scare you by putting on a frightening mask, you darn sure better act terrified.

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Another Michelle October 29, 2015 at 11:43 pm

When she was small, my niece and I had a game whereby I would poke my tongue out at her, and she would “cry”, loudly and very unconvincingly! It was a game, she knew it was a game, and her crying was all show. But poking my tongue out at her was so much fun, because I knew I would get a reaction and my niece knew that giving me that reaction was as much fun. Teasing children, when they know it’s a game is fine, it’s when they don’t know it’s a game that it’s cruel and something I would never do.

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Kate November 3, 2015 at 4:15 am

I also hate the cake smashing (whether it’s birthday or wedding cake). I think you’ve really got to get consent for something like that.

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AS October 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm

My parents always used to prank me (or pull my leg) when I was young. And guess what? I always returned the favor whenever I got my chance 😉 . They never did something that would hurt me in some way or the other, so that they can get a kick out of it. And they never shared it with the public!

The thing is to laugh WITH people, not AT them. Even if a joke is directed at someone, make sure that they’ll enjoy the joke. Everyone has their own parameters for what constitutes as a friendly leg-pull, and what’ll hurt them. It is necessary to always respect the boundaries.

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AS October 28, 2015 at 1:01 pm

OOPS! Posted before I typed the last few sentences.

I haven’t watched Jimmy Kimmel’s show, hence I can’t comment specifically about the show. But if a child looks bothered, and is crying, that is totally cruel.

By the way, a friend of ours had once returned from a trip abroad, and brought gifts for our group of friends. But he told one girl that he got nothing for her. She was a little disappointed – mainly because all of us were opening things, and she probably felt that he didn’t care for her as much as he did for us. He finally gave her what he got for her (a scarf which was evident that he carefully bought with this girl in mind – it was totally her style and everything), and she was very happy. Of course, if this friend had actually not gotten anything for the girl, he’d not have given us things in front of her. Also, we were all in graduate school, and she was mature enough to deal with the disappointment. Though I don’t think that a small child can deal with the disappointment.

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Jazzgirl205 October 29, 2015 at 9:43 am

When my dd was about 7, we went to a Xmas party where she was the only little girl in a group of little boys around her age. A man handed all the boys beautifully wrapped gifts but none for dd. I had long taught her that not getting a gift from someone was OK (we had elderly relatives who sometimes didn’t give gifts and I wanted her know they still loved her and we loved them). If she was upset by the lack of gift, she didn’t show it. When the boys unwrapped their gifts, they were all barbies and barbie accessories which the boys rather promptly gave to dd. The man laughed and gave the boys their real gifts. DD enjoyed the joke because she got to see the looks of revulsion on the boys’ faces and ended up with more gifts than they did.

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NostalgicGal October 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm

This one, I do love..

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Goldie October 29, 2015 at 8:52 am

Whew good, thought I was the only one who doesn’t think that pranks are omg horrible and a form of bullying or child abuse.

With this particular prank, I think it can teach the kids logical reasoning. If the kid thinks for a few seconds, he or she will realize that no way could Mom and Dad eat all of their Halloween candy in one night and not be too sick to tell the story by next morning. It does not add up. I wouldn’t record the scene and send the video to Jimmy Kimmel though; I don’t work for him and am not in the business of helping him increase his ratings for free. Make your own videos, Jimmy.

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delislice October 29, 2015 at 12:29 pm

That’s awfully abstract reasoning for a child who is 3 or 4 years old!

Think about it: Children that age are only beginning to acquire abstract thinking and reasoning processes. They’ve only just gotten a handle on the idea of trust and truth-telling.

There is nothing at all funny about lying to a child that age, filming their reaction, and sharing their (entirely reasonable) reaction with the rest of the world via video clip, even if you say “Just kidding” a few minutes later.

What you’re teaching that child is that truth is a fluid thing; that you can’t trust Mom and Dad; and that Mom and Dad think your distress is funny.

I have never found amusement in someone else’s distress. I guess I lack the schadenfreude gene.

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Goldie October 30, 2015 at 8:28 am

Wow, a lot of assumptions in this comment. I never lied to my children about anything serious, precisely because I didn’t want to lose their trust. (My parents used to do that to me.) But all of us, meaning several generations of our family on both mine and their father’s side, were always okay with joking, poking fun at ourselves at each other, and occasionally pranking each other. So far the only damage that has come from it is that my kids have a sense of humor and do not take themselves too seriously; and that one of them does standup comedy and gets a pretty good reception from the audience. Both of which are the kind of consequences I can live with.

I had a humorless ex who took everything super seriously and couldn’t stand being joked with or about, and it was very difficult to be in that relationship. I had to walk on eggshells the entire time. Thankfully he left and I found someone with a sense of humor, who btw also happens to be into pranks. (and also, like myself, believes in being honest with his children and other family members otherwise.) I have no problem with that trait of his, and neither did any of his kids growing up. Guess we’re all evil creatures who thrive on other people’s distress. Yes, that must be it!

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Politrix November 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm

I don’t think pranks are bad at all when everyone (even kids) are more or less on the same page, but for most kids, hearing that someone robbed them of a special gift that was given to them for a once-a-year treat IS pretty serious. Even if it’s a joke, you’re stretching it to assume a 3 or 4 year old can do the mental math at that age, or would want to, when all they heard was that their Beloved Prize Was Gone.
When I was around 4 years old, I was getting ready for bed when my dad, who was repainting the kitchen shelves, announced he was running away from home, and my mom and sister concurred that it was true. I’m not sure why he said it, and he certainly didn’t mean to be cruel — but he sure as e-hell didn’t realize that I’d see all the canned goods and bags of dry pasta and rice laid out on the table, and would in my 4-year-old mind make the connection that he was packing food to take with him when he left for good. I burst into tears, and my family quickly assured me it was just a joke.
As an adult I prank and rag on people and get as good as I give, but these are grown adults who choose my company or not — I’m a little more careful of my own kids’ feelings, although by now they know how to roll with it as well. But don’t assume that the mind of a small child is capable of the same reasoning as a grown adult — there’s a reason they’re not allowed to vote. 😉

delislice November 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm

I have a well-developed sense of humor, and so does my husband; it’s what initially attracted us to each other. So do our kids. But I don’t think it’s at all funny to lie to a 3-year-old, and then say “Just kidding.”

We all love jokes, puns, innuendo, and the like. Just not a fan of the sort of pranks that involve terrifying or lying to a young child, like the uncle described above who released a moth in a 5-year-old’s face.

Mary October 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

I hate pranks. I refuse to watch the videos and I dot understand why parents would do this to their kids. It’s not funny in any way.

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rachel October 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

I hadn’t really thought about these things before but admin explained this very well, I definitely can’t support videos or pranks like this.

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Kirsten October 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

This seems really mean to me, but the idea that kids “earn” sweets by trick or treating is ridiculous. Knocking on doors and asking for sweets is not earning them.

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Bellyjean October 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm

My favourite EHell Dame quote, though it’s about friends, I think is perfectly applicable here:
‘[P]eople who publicly humiliate their alleged loved ones are selfish cretins who derive pleasure in public spectacles of embarrassment. They place their victims in awkward, compromising situations and then manipulatively accuse them of not being “good sports” when the victim objects. Who needs self-serving “friends” like that? Good riddance to bad rubbish.’

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Dawn October 28, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Oh, I absolutely HATE this “tradition” and have friends who think it is funny. Maybe because it’s not their own kid. But I’ve always hated pranks (except maybe the dumb crank calls we did as kids, but those were never malicious like this is!)

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DGS October 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Applauds! Yes, a thousand times yes.

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bern821 October 28, 2015 at 3:54 pm

I just thought of one more prank that I truly detest – the fake lottery ticket! You’ve probably seen this at least once: Someone gives a person a lottery ticket, and they scratch it off to find that they’ve won $10,000. After they jump for joy and think of all the things they can do w/the money, they’re told to read the back of the ticket – which lets them know it’s a fake. I would never forgive someone for doing that to me, whether they filmed it for the world to see or not! It’s just MEAN!

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Mary October 29, 2015 at 7:49 am

I completely agree!

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lkb October 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I’ve never watched Jimmy Kimmel (except for a YouTube clip of the Back to the Future Day this past week — that was awesome!), however, I agree with the Admin on this completely.

Our family generally enjoys watching America’s Funniest Home Videos — except for the pranking videos or the ones in which someone is clearly afraid and/or humiliated (also the ones in which someone is clearly exaggerating for the camera or is encouraging bratty kids but that’s another story). Two situations in particular come to mind:

There have been several in which someone is on a thrill ride (or, in one case, about to attempt sky-diving for the first time and was trying to back out) and is clearly terrified. Not in a fun-to-be-scared-way either.

Another one is one in which someone was very close-up views of an elderly woman (mother or mother-in-law I don’t recall). This women kept saying with increasing warning in her voice: “You’d better turn it off now. I mean it.”

What exactly is the point of humiliating these people to a national (or now with YouTube a perpetual and international) audience?

To cap it, I believe these videos won their week and I think some even went on to win the season’s top prize. I think the victims in these videos should get all the money.

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Politrix October 29, 2015 at 9:55 am

Funny you should mention the 10/21 “Back To The Future” segment — remember at the end, Kimmel asked Doc if he knew how/when he was going to die in the future? Docs answer was, “Next week — you’ll be torn apart by kids whose parents you told to steal their Halloween candy.”
I kinda hope that really comes to pass.

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NostalgicGal November 2, 2015 at 8:17 pm

We wintered some koi (fancy carp) in our living room, in two 55 gallon tanks on a ‘one on top the other’ standard metal stand. It had turned warm enough to catch them. Rather than catch all the top ones, EMPTY and REMOVE the tank, then catch the lower ones, my DH convinces me to put a tarp on floor and I’m going to get a bath in tank water so I’m wearing just bikini bottoms. I could insert myself between bottom of upper tank and airspace and top rim of lower tank, but my head had to be turned and I had about an inch to breathe, and no where to go if I wanted to.

Fish jumps into my face with about a cup of water, I caught it with the net and passed the net handle out. He didn’t take it. I go through getting out of there to find he had the video camera going for one of those funniest home video shows. I had bought that camera with a work bonus, and I didn’t destroy it but I did pull the tape and destroy that pretty thoroughly and left with the camera.

I came back fifteen minutes later to find the top tank emptied to the last three inches and I got supper that night at one of the really nice eateries in town. After we finished moving the fish the logical way. Nothing was ever said again about his video taping in our house. If he wanted a chance at $10k so bad it is still my opinion he should have been the star.

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stacey October 28, 2015 at 4:04 pm

I agree. I don’t think that children should be told anything that is untruthful and designed merely to create a response for the entertainment of the parents (or worse, the random adults in the audience). I feel the same way about “funny” videos that show people slipping, falling, or experiencing other mishaps that are embarrassing or physically painful. There is enough difficulty in life. Adding to the load “just because” is, indeed, bullying. Teasing is overrated. If it isn’t fun for all parties… it isn’t fun AT ALL. I think that adults might want to reflect a little on the lessons they are teaching too- that it’s okay to lie for advantage, to disregard the feelings of another if it enhances your own enjoyment- basically, that other people can be objects at will. Not a good place to go as a society…

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delislice November 4, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Exactly! I think 3 or 5 years old is a dreadful age to convey to kids that truth is a fluid thing.

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Vicki October 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

This sort of behavior is cruel and wrong.

I suspect, though, that the parents who would play sadistic tricks on their young children and post the evidence online as a “joke” are likely to go on to mistreat their children and abuse their trust in adolescence and adult life, because they don’t actually realize/agree that their children are separate people, with their preferences and opinions and the right to live the lives they want.

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ArtsBeatLA October 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm

I’m obviously in the minority, but I actually have enjoyed these particular prank videos. I do agree they are cruel and mean and I would never do such a thing to a child – it’s a complete betrayal of trust and would wound them deeply.

And I hate pranks of any kind – I certainly don’t laugh when someone falls over or at videos where people hurt themselves or others.

I find my main enjoyment is not from watching the bratty meltdowns (there are many) but the handful of super sweet responses from some of the children towards their parents. They are often instantly forgiving of the parent’s crime and sometimes quite concerned that they might have a tummy ache.

Those are the parts that melt my heart. But yeah, the majority of the clips are really awful…

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Anonymous October 28, 2015 at 10:34 pm

No, those meltdowns are not “bratty”; they’re the natural consequence of gaslighting small children. Would (general) you hide an adult’s wallet or phone, tell them you lost it, then say “just kidding!” a moment later, and then film their reaction and post it on YouTube? If (general) you were that sadistic, I guarantee that nobody would call the victim of that prank “bratty,” simply because they’re an adult. Why are children labelled as “brats” whenever they express a negative emotion? Oh, and to the poster upthread who said that kids didn’t “earn” candy by trick-or-treating, no, they didn’t “earn” it the same way adults earn their incomes, but look closer. Those kids dressed up (some in costumes they made), they walked around the neighbourhood at night (no small feat if you live somewhere like Canada, where Halloween can be freezing cold), and they practiced manners by saying trick or treat and thank you (or Happy Halloween), and those are all very important skills that’ll serve them well as adults. Don’t forget the opportunities for cost-benefit analysis; for example, “Gee, I love this Elsa dress, but it might be too cold. If I get this cat ear headband and tail set, I could wear it with pants and a sweater”; or “Tommy wants to trade a bag of chips for a packet of Skittles. Is that a fair trade?” So, I wouldn’t take a child’s Halloween candy. I might even let them binge and get a stomach ache (barring a medical condition like Type 1 Diabetes, and I’d make them brush their teeth afterwards), so they learn why eating a whole bag of candy in one sitting is a bad idea. My brother and I learned that lesson one Christmas morning, when we ate too much chocolate from our stockings, before breakfast. It’s better to learn moderation the hard way at eight years old with candy, than at a kegger their first year away at university.

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Anon October 29, 2015 at 8:42 am

Yep, I would definitely agree that’s gaslighting. I would bet that later, even with the video evidence, the parents would either say the child was remembering it wrong or they just overreacted to a “joke”.

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Dee October 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Anonymous – It’s a contract between the child and the parents/neighbourhood. If they get dressed up and go door-to-door and say “trick or treat” then they will get some candy (unless there is more to the contract, such as an agreement that the parents would take the candy away at the end of the night). It is important, for establishing trust, not to break the contract. Even with an agreement that the candy would be confiscated there needs to be something promised in exchange; otherwise, there is no benefit for the child and the contract is not “enforceable” (yes, I know this is not a legal issue but if in the interest of fairness the terms are needed for adults then it must be a given that children need the same fairness). Letting children trick-or-treat and then just taking the candy away absolutely breaks the contract. You’re right, then, that these children are not being bratty, not anymore than adults who take matters to court because they’ve been shafted over an agreement. It’s just so incomprehensible why parents would want to undermine their children’s trust in them for the sake of a little entertainment. The damage is never undone. But some people can be a little bit sick sometimes and that’s the ugly part of humanity.

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Cat October 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm

The video that frightened me most was a college-aged man who decided to come home unexpectedly and scare his Mom by wearing a mask and leaping out at her from the bushes as she came home from work. He did not know that Mom had a concealed weapon permit and was carrying a gun. When he rushed at her, she fired a shot at him.
Thankfully, she didn’t hit him, or anyone else. He pulled off the mask and identified himself. I thought what a stupid thing to do! He could have lost his life and she would have killed her child-all over a prank.

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Jade October 28, 2015 at 8:30 pm

I saw one recently which was about the meanest thing I’ve ever seen. There were two passengers strapped into one of those ‘bungy rides’ that flings you into the air. The ride attendant waited until they were strapped in for the ride and then threw some metal object onto the deck in front of them and then rushed over to inspect it and started yelling ‘Oh ****, Oh ****’ and then the ride was triggered and the two passengers in the capsule were flung into the air no doubt believing that the mechanism they were riding on was faulty and they were about to die.

In their situation I would have been having severe words with the ride attendant when I got back down onto ground level because that was not funny in any way, shape or form and I’m sorry, but neither is pretending to steal from your child

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delislice October 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm

“Severe words,” nothing, I would be escalating to whoever did the hiring!

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EchoGirl October 30, 2015 at 8:57 pm

Wow, yeah, that’s way over the line. Especially considering that there have been stories of tragic accidents on similar rides recently.

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Splatman October 29, 2015 at 12:04 am

I have not seen the videos being discussed here, besides those “funniest home videos” programs, but I can totally relate, besides the ‘parents stealing the candy’ bit; my parents never did that, but did plenty of the other “unsavory things” others already mentioned.

Now, my real contribution to this discussion:
Whenever I complained of the bullying/teasing/sadism/worst-thing-done-to-you being done to me, I would only get more of the same abuse. I would be told it’s no big deal, or it does not hurt (Yeah right!), you’ll get over it (maybe 1% of the time, if that), or any other of the myriad statements to the same effect, all of which just reek of excuses to do more of the same.
All coming from parents and relatives who claim to be Christians. Regular church-goers, to boot. Somehow, they think God/J.C./the Holy Spirit approves of this. No, I’m not saying this to incite religious discussion. Just stating a possible fact.
I’m a bit surprised no one else already mentioned it.

That horror story about the laughing “nurses” vaccine scene just sounds like a recipe for suicide. Could that be the parents’ goal? They don’t want the kid anymore, so they decided to bully him/her into self-destruction? And get a few laughs in the process? And deny it (their goal) if questioned? Just a theory.

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Dee October 29, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Splatman – It’s all about some people’s abuse of the power they have over others. Parents have power over their children, churches can have power over their congregants, and so on. So, no, religion isn’t particularly pertinent here but I get what you’re saying – religious folks do often use God (or whoever) as an excuse to bully. I’ve heard parents and grandparents telling very little children that they must not lie or they will go to hell! It’s not the religion but, as another poster said earlier, these behaviours seem to be indicative of a personality disorder. I wouldn’t hesitate to label some of the “pranksters” I know as sociopathic. They are not interested in how their “pranks” and religious warnings negatively affect others, just as long as the desired result (fear, entertaining videos, etc.) is achieved. It’s sick no matter what the scenario.

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Becca October 29, 2015 at 12:57 pm

There is a vile personality type out there that thinks it’s “tough love” and “makes the kid stronger” to be treated like that. They are the ones shocked if their kid hurts themselves or in the cases where a child assaults their parents, they’re even more confused…

They’re just broken individuals who have poor parenting skills, I don’t think it’s to get them to kill themselves ever.

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just4kicks October 29, 2015 at 1:15 am

My kids and I were just talking about this a few days ago.
One of my son’s is a huge fan of all that is “Back to the Future”.
Kimmel had Michael J Fox and the real Doc Brown (Christopher something…his last name escapes me at the moment) on his show.
It was great fun, and they drove on the stage in the actual DeLorean used in the movie.
It was a great bit, and at the end of it, Jimmy Kimmel says to them, “I know you’re not supposed to tell me my future, but do you know when I’m going to die?”
Doc Brown says “YES! Next week!”
Kimmel says, “NEXT WEEK?!? Why?!? How?!?”
“You’re going to be ripped to shreds by little children whose parents told them they ate all their candy!”
My daughter was like, “huh?!?”
My son and I explained its a “bit” Kimmel does every year…..And it’s NOT funny….at least to me it’s not!

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just4kicks October 29, 2015 at 6:19 am

P.S. this sketch is pretty easily found on You Tube, according to my son, if anyone would like to see it.
Also, Huey Lewis stands up in the audience with a megaphone to announce to Kimmel and Co. “I’m sorry, fellas, but you’re just too darn loud!!!”

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just4kicks October 29, 2015 at 1:18 am

I also HATE those “funny home movie” shows where parents tape their kids (or elderly relatives) hurting themselves by various means.
Put the (expletive) camera DOWN and tend to your crying child, would you?!?
It’s drives me crazy!!!
What on earth is funny about watching your own kid flying into a wall/down the stairs/off a skateboard?

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NostalgicGal October 29, 2015 at 1:50 am

Three words: CLASS ACTION SUIT
Next words, take to every bit of social media available and explain why Kimmel is such a (patoot) for doing this and it’s not funny it’s horrid. Write the sponsors of the show via ever medium possible to ask them to pull their funding for this crass grossness.

Flex the social media. It might stop him.

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Kate October 29, 2015 at 2:00 am

My parents used to eat their way through the family stash of Easter eggs before us kids got a look in. My dad would also place a $2 bet for each of us every year on the Melbourne Cup (very famous Australian horse race) and when my horse won, he’d claim $2 out of my winnings for ‘expenses’. Lucky this show wasn’t around when I was a kid, my mum and dad would have been featured weekly.

As for pranks….I am reminded of a news story here in Australia recently where two professional footballers decided to play a trick on their teammate who had moved to a new house. They stormed into the teammate’s house with balaclavas on and fake guns – but they got the wrong house and scared the heck out of some poor person who promptly called the police. I believe they were arrested and let off with a very stern warning.
If it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings, or there’s a chance you could get hurt if it goes wrong, the prank does not seem worth it.

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Honeybee October 29, 2015 at 7:49 am

I agree–I hate pranks and think they’re really mean. It’s much worse when it’s someone you believe loves/cares about you who decides to do something like this (the Jimmy Kimmel prank videos, the thing with the child and the shot, etc).

I still remember when I was a child, young enough that my mom made my lunches for me. It was April Fool’s Day, and I used to eat a bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip for my lunch (I’ve gotten much better taste since then). I opened up my lunch that day, and on one side, the sandwich “filling” was a piece of paper “April Fools!”. Granted, that prank was slightly mitigated by the fact that the other side of the sandwich had the other half of the bologna (as a teacher pointed out for me when I burst into tears).

My mom apologized, she never meant to hurt me and thought that I would’ve immediately noticed the “thicker” side (at least I hadn’t eaten that one first!). I’ve never enjoyed pranks then or since, and I don’t enjoy seeing someone else hurt/humiliated or otherwise mistreated, and I never enjoyed the “Funniest Videos” that seem to be all about watching someone get hurt. The children may be reacting in immature ways, but they *are* children who certainly don’t need to be learning the lesson that “some people are jerks, or worse” from their own parents. I think the “sweet, heartwarming” reactions of children who are forgiving/worried about parents’ stomachaches are just as disturbing–what if their “takeaway’ is that they probably shouldn’t care because someone’s going to say that the distress/issue was “just a joke”. Ridiculing people for possessing decent instincts is as appalling to me as getting enjoyment from sadistically inflicted distress.

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Kiki October 29, 2015 at 9:29 am

Thank you!!! I hate these pranks (or really any prank where a parent lies to a child and then films them for their amusement). It’s cruel and unfunny. If someone else did this to their child, these parents would be justifiably angry. Why is it alright to do that themselves?

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Mojo October 29, 2015 at 9:50 am

Really? I’d never heard of this before, but it sounds like this chap’s an ass.

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sophia October 29, 2015 at 11:58 am

I saw that last year when someone at work showed it to me because they thought it was funny. I felt ill. Not that I would ever be in this position, but if I were having a tough time trying to decide who would have custody of a child and I saw a video of one of the parents doing do this to the child in question. It would definitely sway me against that parent.

I am not a violent person, truly! But I felt like hitting these parents on the back of the head with a heavy object.

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Liliane October 29, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Thank you, admin. This has always bothered me too. It’s just not right – and I’ve noticed many otherwise logical and rational people will still turn into laughing hyenas watching a child melt down over what, in their world, is a genuine offense. What possesses people to think it’s in any way amusing to steal from anyone, much less a small child who doesn’t truly understand what’s going on and retaliates the only way they know how, with grief and tears?

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