Exclusive: Pranks, How Funny Is Too Far?

Exclusive: Pranks, How Funny Is Too Far?

By Ruth Gbaka

 A person who performs a practical joke is called a “practical joker” or “prankster”.

Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks or hoaxes in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being talked into handing over money or other valuables.

 Practical jokes are generally lighthearted and without lasting effect; they aim to make the victim feel humbled or foolish, but not victimized or humiliated.

 Most people who engage in pranks do so for the fun aspect of it as in most cases the “victims” on knowing it’s a prank burst into laughter.

In recent times, Nigerians have taken to the internet with a lot of street pranks, some which are seen as safe but others seem harmful or dangerous.  

Many go horribly wrong causing serious injuries, and even traumas. Last year, there were over 400,000 injuries related to pranks and stunts that were treated in hospital emergency departments. Teenagers and young adults are responsible for many dangerous April Fool’s pranks posted online.

Due to unpredictable and impulsive behaviors, teenagers often lack good judgment and fail to recognize the dangerous consequences of many pranks and stunts. Last year there was a report by Aljazeera stating that YouTube was against dangerous and risky pranks making it clear that they will not be a party to the promotion of harmful contents to their audience.

 “Our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury,”

The question is how funny is no longer funny? When someone’s home is trashed, property is damaged or a person is injured, endangered or afraid for their life, the prank has become an actual threat.

In Nigeria, many people pull pranks so they can video and upload them to the Internet on YouTube, Vine and other social media sites, some pranksters have taken to the streets with pranks where, “a young man comes out of a car looking half naked with a cutlass in his hand and starts to chase at the people in sight”.

 He does this in markets, streets or anywhere people are particularly gathered.

 “The people just seeing him run at with a cutlass, out of fear of the unknown start to run in different directions for their safety. In the viral videos some victims are seen falling down while some enter any nearby bush or road for safety”.

 As funny as this prank might appear, it poses a great danger to the health of those running, as in the heat of the race, some could sustain injuries from the fall, or run into a moving vehicle all in a bid to get away from the supposed attacker.

Another is a viral prank video of a young man who dresses in typical “babalawo” outfits, holding a calabash and a huge feather, he randomly meets people and requests for their destinies.

Some out of fear take to their heels, some start to pray against him while some attempt to fight him instead” While playful or goofy challenges or pranks have become raging trends online this and so many kinds of pranks are out there and are hitting the internet on a daily basis.

The Bottom line remains that it is one who stays alive or healthy that can play or have fun.

 Avoid the “prank gone wrong” experiences.


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