Social media is abuzz with a new “challenge,” and it’s a gross and, by some measures, even kind of cruel one. The new viral challenge is making children think they’ve had poop smeared on them. The hashtag “#poopchallenge” is, as of this writing, trending on Twitter.
As millions of parents and their children are staying home as much as possible and having limited contact with other people, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, some are going a bit stir crazy. And in order to stem that boredom, some are turning to filming this new prank on kids and then uploading it to social media.
Here’s how it works. The prankster, usually an adult (but it could be done by a teen or older kid), sits on the toilet as if doing their business and then suddenly needs toilet paper that they can’t reach. Then, they call a child in to grab a roll and bring it to the adult. During the exchange, the adult surreptitiously smears something poop-like, such as chocolate frosting or hazelnut spread, onto the child and convinces them that they’ve got poo on them.
— Balarabe (@A_Salihi) March 23, 2020
Needless to say, the children are crying, screaming, fleeing the scene, and generally reacting with utter horror.
— vk (@vkpgg) March 23, 2020
At least one took the high road and seemed to believe it had all been a genuine accident (no pun intended).
— ????. (@gomczrems) March 23, 2020
This kid showed some remarkable patience, too.
— Ilena ???? (@ilenaaespino) March 23, 2020
This little boy, however, was having none of it.
— Anissa (@Anissa_MommyOf2) March 23, 2020
At least some jokesters are doing the prank on other adults.
— mįss myęrs (@_RachelSayss) March 23, 2020
And of course, in every crowd, there’s always that one person who spoils the joke, like this little girl, who figured out the jape right away.
— Shontee???? (@KendrickShontee) March 23, 2020
This one wised up pretty quickly, too.
— Tap Pitt (@PittofLove) March 23, 2020
And this family played a prank on top of the prank, with an adult licking the “poop” on a child’s arm, as if to see what it is.
— lex✨ (@alexisgrz13) March 23, 2020
Of course, pranking children and posting video of it on the internet is nothing new, as it’s been a thing for as long as the internet has been capable of supporting video from multiple users. Indeed, one late-night comedian, Jimmy Kimmel, has made crowdsourcing videos of parents pranking children a part of his act.
But is turning children into the butt (again, no pun intended) of a joke a bad thing from a parenting perspective?
Back in 2013, therapist Stacy Kaiser told The Today Show that kids will be pranked and teased by their peers, so that sort of thing is a part of life for kids. Yet, should parents do it? Kaiser said that it depends on each kid.
If your kid can take a joke, Kaiser says, then the occasional prank is OK as long as the kid is still having fun.
“If they’re really getting upset, you should stop. You’ve gone too far. But, if they’re having fun with it, you should have fun with it,” Kaiser says.