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[Watch] Why It’s Cruel To Scare Kids With Latest TikTok Prank Using Pontianak Screams

[Watch] Why It’s Cruel To Scare Kids With Latest TikTok Prank Using Pontianak Screams

The viral trend sees parents locking and filming their children in the room with sounds of an invisible monster screaming.

Adeline Leong

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Many people have a hard time coming up with pranks that are fun for everyone and don’t harm anyone.

Recently, a TikTok prank went viral because it scared children for the benefit of the parents and the audience.

The TikTok prank works this way: a parent or an adult plays a track with a ‘Pontianak’ screaming sound and quickly locks the door behind them to trap their children inside a room with the imaginary Pontianak laughing away.

@naomineo Apologised with tears already 😭 #ghostprank #fyp ♬ suara kuntilanak – solehudin1294

In some videos, parents put a filter showing an imaginary ghost or monster in the room to heighten the child’s fear and elicit a better ‘viral’ reaction.

The prank would result in their young children scrambling to get out of the room to escape an invisible monster.

When the children realize they’re stuck in the room with no escape, they start crying and pulling the door knob. The children’s fear becomes an amusing watch to the parent and the audience.

READ MORE: ‘Prank’ Budak Kecil Dengan Audio Hantu Mengilai, Trend TikTok Ini Dikecam Ramai

Why it’s harmful to children?

Some netizens criticised adults, especially parents, for scaring their children for “fun” and social media likes.

A Twitter user Amirul @amirulruslam said parents shouldn’t instil fear in their children because it would raise their children into adults who fear ghosts.

It can become a cycle of emotional abuse when the same people who scared them in childhood continue to mock them for being afraid when they’re an adult.

Since fear and trauma takes hold differently for different people, a netizen explained a scared child might end up following their parents everywhere because they feel insecure and anxious.

For impressionable young children, an adult who abandoned them during times of need can lead them to distrust their parents and the sense of security provided.

While it’s true that some of us managed to grow out of our fears, it’s also true that some do not and are unable to recover easily. Why potentially cause children harm when the adults in their life should protect and guide them?

According to Dr Bess de Guia, a psychiatry consultant at The Medical City (TMC), instilling undue fear in children can cause damaging psychological scars in the long term.

A prank might start out harmless. However, if the fear in children develops, the scarred children can develop problems such as phobias, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.

Does this mean all pranks are bad?

For illustration purposes. Image: TRP File

Psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore said that pranks have a level of aggression in them.

…That’s just not our role to deliberately cause kids to be upset for no good reason, for our entertainment.

Psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore

While that might be, it doesn’t mean families should do away with pranks altogether. Pranks that are done right don’t cause stress, anxiety, or sadness in children or embarrass them.

Pranks that are done right could become a fun bonding experience with the family and become ‘funny’ family stories that can be retold in a positive light.

So how do you prank the right way? Here are some things to be mindful of when planning a prank or a surprise:

  • Make sure the parent is the butt of the joke.
  • Keep it silly and goofy, not scary or cruel.
  • Know your kids. Some kids do not like pranks or surprises so parents have to respect that.
  • Don’t post the videos of your kids online, especially when the prank doesn’t go well. Please protect their privacy.

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