Not funny: How harmless pranks become bullying on April Fool's Day

Like every year, on the first day of April this year, the world will witness a vast array of pranks and practical jokes targeted at unsuspecting targets. Yet, there are times when pranks are taken too far which can prove to be very dangerous. It’s important to teach your children that the April Fool’s Day pranks that they plan out this year should be fun for both sides; the joker and the one becoming the joke.

First things first

To begin with, take out some time out for a discussion with your child about the different types of jokes. There are jokes that actually sound funny and there are jokes that can land you in a lot of trouble. During the course of the discussion you can throw in a few ideas of your own for your child to choose from.

Knowing your bullies

Bullies are a familiar breed at this point in the accumulative history of human civilization. This breed has a special knack for pushing their way into the limelight by cutting into an ongoing conversation. In other words, these people steal the thunder from any fun that others might be having. They have even been known to have stolen the lightning bolt from the mighty Zeus himself and there was nothing that Hercules could do about it. Talk about the gods losing their thunder. Another specific kind of bully is known for effectively using the public stage to make fun of others. This is exactly where your kid should try to identify the fine line between harmless joking and bullying. The problem is right there before their eyes if they are really looking.

Singling out targets

Harmless fun becomes bullying when a certain person is specially selected to be made the target of cheesy jokes without the prior knowledge of the to-be-victim. The jokes are intended to humiliate and embarrass the target to the maximum possible extent. These sadistic pranksters are not hard to see because they just love attention. Their attentiveness towards attention seeking moments is impeccable and their tactics are filthy at the least.

More than just a laugh

Some bullies have a complex to appear bigger, better, and stronger than others around them. This kind would laugh their guts out even at the smallest instance of someone being put down. They are addicted to the habit of making people small so they can appear big and concentrate more on inflicting mental pain or damage rather than going for physical hits. Talk about going hulk on someone and that too mentally. That’s scary.

Just playing around

If the ‘little’ jokes played by the bully have the potential to interrupt the concentration of the targets, then those aren’t really little jokes after all. Sometimes when a teenager goes with the flow of the moment, he/she can easily get carried away and treat friends in a way that they despise being treated in themselves. This problem is further magnified online when a person cannot see the other’s reaction to their comments, which doesn’t really help the case in any positive way.

So, how to prevent bullying when your child is growing up? Start with teaching them sensibility and emotional intelligence. Each time your kid comes up with a perfect prank, he/she should also stop for a while and ask themselves if the joke is appropriate, harmless, or has the potential to make them seem like a bully. There won’t be much need to worry if you have covered your bases properly because all’s well that ends well.

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