Call me sadistic, immature, uncivilized and irresponsible, but the viral video where a South Dakota mother pranked her 8-year-old into believing that he accidentally bought a car on eBay isn’t all that bad.
Although I probably wouldn’t tape such an incident with my own son, and if I had, never would have posted the video on YouTube.
Thirty-five-year-old Paula Papen recently told the “Today” show that she was trying to teach her son, Kenyon, how to take a joke. In the 1-minute, 9-second video, Kenyon bursts into tears and worries that his parents will have to sell everything as a result of purchasing a $50,000 Mustang.
When she tells him he didn’t really do it, Kenyon smiles tearfully in relief.
Papen has come under fire for the video, which had gotten more than 340,000 hits as of Friday. (She posted it Dec. 30.) Some who commented on her YouTube page said she “terrorized” the boy, that she was “mean,” and a “loser.”
I didn’t find the video funny and a quick survey of parent-friends of mine revealed that they didn’t either. But I have sometimes led my son, Harrison, now 9, to believe he has done something wrong to teach him a lesson. His emotional responses have sometimes charmed me, as Kenyon’s did. Some people I know thought those were crocodile tears; they seemed sincere to me, and his show of humility touched me. I don’t think I’ve ever let the joke go on for more than a minute, though.
And if it did, I would not think to hit the record button on my iPhone. That’s the part I disagree with, that and posting it. Young Kenyon has said in interviews that what his mother did was just a prank, but who knows if he will feel that way later on.
Watch the video below and tell us what you think.