We asked our favorite marriage and family therapist, Melissa Brohner-Schneider, what she thought about the viral video trend circulating the internet where parents and family members convince their younger kids that they’re actually invisible.
She let us in on some of the potential ramifications of the prank.
The Invisibility Prank – a new fad that has gone viral – might be fun for some, but it comes with some serious potential for emotional damage.
The prank involves tricking a child into thinking they have been turned invisible, where no one can see them. Then filming this reaction, which is usually one of intense disbelief, upset and panic. The prankster then magically makes the child reappear, revealing to them that this has all been a trick, usually while everyone watching is hysterically laughing.
While pranks are meant to trick and tease and entertain, this one can create lasting damage, especially for more vulnerable children who are already prone to anxiety, low self-esteem, or have a history of trauma.
It plays on some of our most primitive needs as human beings; the need to trust, the need to be seen, the need to control. The need not to be shamed.
Too early for existential crises
This prank can be traumatic on so many levels. If you watch the video footage circling the internet, kids are feeling terrified that they are actually invisible. No matter what they do or say, beg, plead or cry, they can not make their family members see them. Terrifying.
Then, being further tricked into believing the spell is real, they are made visible again, and in their most vulnerable state of terror and relief, their family members laugh hysterically at them, leaving them feeling ashamed, embarrassed and quite alone in the joke.
Often, this video is then shared on social media, so the sense of humiliation is brought to a whole new disturbing level for anyone to see. The aftermath of such a prank could leave a child feeling a deep sense of anger, mistrust, and fear in people who are supposed to be trustworthy.
It’s true we all need more humor in our lives, but it’s important that we model to our children how to do it in a way that’s not mean spirited or unkind. It’s imperative that we don’t dismantle the trust every child needs, just for a good laugh.
While parenting in the modern age can be a complicated and mystifying endeavor, even more twists and turns have been added with the legalization of recreational cannabis. To get through the maze, take a look at how cannabis use can co-exist with being a responsible role model