NEW YORK — Jimmy Kimmel brought tears to the eyes of many children recently. But they weren’t tears of joy.
ABC’s late-night host conducted what’s becoming an annual prank during the past week, encouraging parents to tell their children they had eaten all of their Halloween candy, film the response and upload the video so he could show it on his TV show and on YouTube.
Predictably, many of the fooled children were quite upset.
“Pranking your own children is not harmless fun, but is cruel and potentially damaging,” said Mark Barnett, a professor and graduate program coordinator at Kansas State University’s department of psychological sciences.
A child’s trust in his parents shouldn’t be trifled with, he said.
“A parent who would violate this trust for a big laugh or 15 minutes of fame is, in my opinion, acting irresponsibly and not looking out for the best interests of the child,” Barnett said.
A YouTube posting of Kimmel’s on-air highlights was viewed more than 7 million times through late Wednesday, with more than 45,000 giving it a “thumbs up” and 2,191 offering a “thumbs down.”