NOTE: This is a video still, not an embedded video. We're not linking to any of the videos described in this post because they are stupid, dangerous and mean spirited. The reason that people keep making them is because people keep watching them and the least we can do is not give them any more easy views.
We need to stop watching prank videos. Please stop watching prank videos.
Because if we stop watching prank videos, the people who make the videos will realize that it's a big waste of time (some of these pranks videos take a lot of time and effort—effort that could be better spent doing anything else) and will stop making them.
Let us be very clear, pranking a loved one is one thing. If you want to prank your boyfriend or mom or grandpa or whatever, that's your prerogative. If they don't want to put up with it, they will break up with you/kick you out/take you out of the will. Hey, you asked for it.
We're talking about a popular trend in viral videos: Elaborately pranking strangers. And there are different levels here too: Pranking a drive-thru worker with an "empty" car is one thing. We've laughed at those videos. They're harmless. And usually the employee ends up laughing too.
When is too far too far?
Here are descriptions of three "prank" videos we've seen recently:
1. A "hanging prank" in which the "prankster" made it look as if he had hung himself (from a bridge, from what appears to be a dorm stairwell, from a tree, etc.) Cameras rolled as people freaked out over what they thought was a suicide.
2. A "stabbing prank" in which two "pranksters" argued over money before one pulled a knife on the other. As he squirmed on the ground in fake blood, cameras filmed people freaking out over what they thought was an assault.
3. A "Friday the 13th prank" in which someone dressed as Jason from the movie chased strangers around with a chainsaw. Cameras rolled as people ran for their lives thinking they were going to be murdered.
HOW IS THIS NOT ILLEGAL?! It actually might be, as one of the above videos ends with a call from the police. Either way, it should be illegal. Even if it is not technically breaking any laws, when police or other emergency services are called away from real emergency work to deal with your stupid prank, that is wrong.
Sidebar: That "Knockout" thing, where teenagers sucker punch strangers "as a game" and film it for YouTube is actually illegal. No question. That is physical assault. Do we really need to tell you that is illegal, teens?
Back to prank videos: Even if you aren't arrested, here is a brief list of consequences pranksters have faced in the process of pranking: One guy got punched. One guy got jumped. One guy had a gun pulled on him (again, we're not going to link to the video. If you want to Google for it, that's your business). Eventually someone is going to actually get shot.
Let's stop watching prank videos now. Because, at best, they're stupid. At worst, see above.
And pranksters, stop pranking. Stop #DoingItFortheVine. Stop gallon smashing, slap camming or playing "Knockout." What the f--k is wrong with the world? When did this become OK? Teens, don't you know how to act like human beings?
Ugh, just arrest all the teenagers. All of them. As a precaution.