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The Internet Phenomenon Pranks: From Funny and Harmless to Cocky and Risky

3 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Social Media
© photothek.net

Playing a prank on someone, for example ringing the front doorbell and then just running away, that’s probably something everyone did as a child and had fun with. Much like the challenge phenomenon, which involves filming yourself completing a challenge and posting the clip online, pranks are the modern version of the childhood prank: videos of pranks played on others can be found in large numbers on YouTube & Co. You can learn more about this in this text.

What excites teens about pranks?

As children get older and they begin to think ahead, that is, to imagine what will happen next, they get excited about pranks and movies in which mishaps happen to people.

“Prank” is the English term for prank. Many influencers film the pranks they play on friends, other influencers from social networks or even uninvolved passers-by. People who play pranks on others in this way are called “pranksters”. Many of them are usually harmless and funny, such as prank phone calls or scaring your girlfriend or boyfriend in their sleep. If a person has been pranked, they are said to have been “pranked”.

Especially the social networks popular with children and young people such as
are popular platforms for pranks of all kinds.

What can be problematic about pranks?

In order to attract a high level of attention from the community and get as many clicks as possible, however, some pranks are becoming increasingly problematic. YouTuber ApoRed dropped a bag in a savings bank during his “bomb prank” and shouted “You all have 30 seconds, you better run if you value your life!”. Some passers-by were very scared and subsequently had trouble sleeping. ApoRed was sentenced to probation and 200 community service hours. The trial was intended to make it clear that the state also takes note of crimes in social networks and does not tolerate them.

This example is, of course, an extreme individual case that does not represent the rule. YouTube has since tightened its terms of use, as more and more such videos have had serious consequences. It is now illegal to post pranks and challenges that involve “the risk of real danger or death” on YouTube.

Questionable family pranks

Whether on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram – problematic pranks affect every age group. The aim here is often to frighten the “victim” with supposedly dangerous situations, sometimes even to provoke disgust or despair. In some cases, even young children are presented in this way by caregivers such as older siblings or parents, who are often particularly well received by the community due to their awkward behavior. One example of this is the “egg cracking prank”, in which parents pretend to record a baking video and then suddenly crack an egg on the child’s forehead. Other pranks also use face filters or similar to scare children. However, consumers of such videos must be aware that such pranks can lead to emotional damage in the children concerned and a loss of trust in important caregivers.

You can find out more about questionable family pranks here at Webhelm.

What parents should pay attention to

In fact, young people are more likely to watch prank videos than make them themselves. However, influencers like to encourage people to imitate the content, whether with a camera or not, whether harmless or not. Young people are often not even aware of the consequences. Others may come to harm or may not find it funny to be featured in a video. The right to one’s own image is part of the personal rights to which everyone is entitled – including underage children. Explain to your child that uploading photos or videos without the consent of the persons recorded is prohibited. Disregarding personal rights can be prosecuted under criminal law in Germany.

If your child enjoys watching such videos online, let them show you and tell you what they like about them. However, also make it clear that dangerous pranks in particular are not suitable for imitation and that a lot of content on social networks is staged, even if it appears authentic. Keep an open mind for funny and harmless challenges or pranks from your child’s influencers.

You can find out more about the phenomenon of challenges in this article.

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