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Comedy or cruelty? Experts weigh in on late night prank

Psychologists aren

Wiki Commons/MGN Online

NEW YORK (AP) - Psychologists aren't amused by the latest round of Halloween prank videos aired by ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel.

In what's become an annual prank, Kimmel encourages parents to tell their children that the parents had eaten all of their Halloween candy. The parents are supposed to get the children's reactions on video, and then send it to him so he could show it on his TV show.

Predictably, many of the children became quite upset. Two boys are seen breaking out in uncontrolled tears after their father tells them, "It's all gone." One angry girl throws an envelope at her parents. A crying child is told that it's a prank, and responds, "Well, that's not very kind."

Kimmel's studio audience laughs at most of the reactions.

But Mark Barnett, who's a professor at Kansas State's psychological sciences department, says it's not "harmless fun." He says it's "cruel and potentially damaging."

And Jane Annunziata, a Virginia psychologist who deals with family issues, agrees that it's inappropriate parental behavior.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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