Psychologists: Jimmy Kimmel pranks harmful to kids

Psychologists: Jimmy Kimmel pranks harmful to kids

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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by Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

NEW YORK -- Psychologists aren’t amused by the latest round of Halloween prank videos aired by ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel.

In what’s become an annual prank, Kimmel encourages parents to tell their children that the parents had eaten all of their Halloween candy. The parents are supposed to get the children’s reactions on video, and then send it to him so he could show it on his TV show.

Predictably, many of the children became quite upset. Two boys are seen breaking out in uncontrolled tears after their father tells them, “It’s all gone.” One angry girl throws an envelope at her parents. A crying child is told that it’s a prank, and responds, “Well, that’s not very kind.”

Kimmel’s studio audience laughs at most of the reactions.

But Mark Barnett, who’s a professor at Kansas State’s psychological sciences department, says it’s not “harmless fun.” He says it’s “cruel and potentially damaging.” Barnett says, “A child’s trust in his parents shouldn’t be trifled with.” And he says any parent who’d violate that trust “for a big laugh or 15 minutes of fame” is “acting irresponsibly.”

And Jane Annunziata, a Virginia psychologist who deals with family issues, agrees that it’s inappropriate parental behavior.

Watch Kimmel's prank below: 

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