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Influencer says parents shouldn’t prank children for content

An influencer has sparked a debate after she called out parents for pranking their children for content.

In a video posted on Facebook on 5 August of last year, Phillipino content creator Nana Silayro begged parents not to continue filming their children getting pranked for views. At the time, Silayro was specifically addressing the viral videos of parents locking their children in their rooms and filming their reactions for the internet.

“First of all, I don’t want you to attack the person who posted this,” she started the video. “This has nothing to do with her but this is just my opinion. And this is me speaking as an early childhood educator.”

“This is not okay. I’m not sure if people are aware of the consequences of the trend they’re doing,” she explained. “I hope you are aware that whatever you’re doing, if you’re planning to do this in the future, this will cause long-term trauma.”

At the time, Nana shared footage of a video that showed a boy older than a preschooler or toddler being locked inside a room. The little boy could be heard panicking and banging against the door when he realised that his mother had locked him alone inside. The content creator blurred the faces of both the woman and child to honour their privacy.

“Don’t don’t ever do this,” she added. “A lot can happen in those few seconds.”

She listed what could happen to the children, including the child banging their head too hard, pulling wires, or fainting, among other examples. “The child will have very very bad trust issues. The child will stop talking. The child will never trust you,” she continued. “Do something else. Do other trends.”

“My heart hurts,” she wrote in the caption. “There’s a trend going on TikTok, where people lock children and make them cry for content. THIS IS NOT OKAY. THIS HAS TO STOP. Please don’t do this.”

The video, formerly posted on TikTok, has seen a renewed interest on Facebook. Silayro – who has over 4m followers on TikTok – received many comments from similarly outraged internet users.

“Some people may think it’s funny; however, a significant impact on a child’s emotions would be different after that moment. If you have noticed, in most movies, there is a scene they would probably go back to during their early years because they are having issues and figuring out how to deal by the time they were adults,” one person wrote.

Children are still learning how to regulate their emotions and understand the social rules of the world, when an adult compromises their learning process, it does a great disservice to them, according to experts.

“Locking kids in a room is a type of emotional abuse,” Dr Gail Reyes-Galang – a child psychology professor at Miriam College – explained to Smart Parenting. “In those few minutes of being left alone, the children can feel intense panic, fear, and anxiety.” She added: “It is dangerous because they can trip, fall, hit their head, jump out of an open window or balcony, among many other possible reactions.”

“As a result, children can feel very angry and violent, hitting the caregiver upon returning to the room,” she continued. “The child can also develop severe separation anxiety and may not adjust well when being left in school.”

Parents pranking their children for social media has been common since social media’s inception, but experts say that trends such as the one that outraged Silayro and others like the popular #GrinchPrank, which has a “monster” scare children during a family photo session, can harm their growing minds.

Excessive or harmful pranks can erode the trust built between a child and their parent, leading the child to feel constantly worried about being hurt, shamed, or humiliated in the presence of their parent.

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