TikTok trend involving young children divides opinion: 'Terrible'

A viral TikTok trend has sparked a bitter divide with it being slammed as "irresponsible" by some, while others think the "funny" videos are harmless.

But an online safety commissioner highlighted to Yahoo News Australia some other major issues regarding the sharing of videos on TikTok, with consent being one.

Posted with the hashtag "fightprank," thousands of parents have filmed themselves asking their kids to jump in and defend them in a fight.

Racking up over 155 million views to date, the "prank" generally involves parents convincing their children to "put their shoes on quickly" because they have to "fight another parent".

The viral TikTok trend has sparked a bitter divide with some finding it hilarious while others condemn it. Source: TikTok
The viral TikTok trend has sparked a bitter divide with some finding it hilarious while others condemn it. Source: TikTok

Many say another child will be involved in the brawl so they ask their child if they'd "jump in and fight."

The issue many have is around promoting violence in young children who in many videos appear to be primary-school-aged.

Like the social media feedback, the children's reactions varied greatly but most donned a look of confusion.

Some kids jumped at the opportunity to back their mum or dad, while others seemed more hesitant.

Some kids grabbed things like boxing gloves or brooms which they said they would take into the fight.

Popular trend attracts widespread response

In one video, a mum asks her daughter: "If the daughter jumps in, will you jump in?"

At first, the little girl — who is around five or six — said "no," adding "this is terrible."

But she soon came around to the idea, saying: "You know what, I'll punch her in the jaw," prompting laughter from her mum.

The video was just one of many that attracted dozens of comments from people admitting they "love this trend."

Many dubbed the reactions as "hilarious" and praised the kids who instantly agreed to defend their mums.

"All these kids really be down to fight for their mamas," one user wrote on another video.

"These are NOT failing to crack me up," another said of the "fightprank" videos.

Some however failed to see the humour and slammed the "terrible" trend, with one saying it "reinforces fighting when we have issues to kids."

"We should be teaching them how to use our words and communicate effectively," the TikTok user argued.

Another said it's "terrible mothering", condemning parents who partake.

'Questionable' behaviour by parents, expert says

Professor Patrik Wikstrom from Queensland University of Technology, said regardless of whether it's on social media or not, "pranking someone who's trusting and depending on you isn't a very nice thing to do".

"I don't think these videos can be called abusive but doing this to your child sounds very questionable," he told Yahoo News Australia.

"It's also questionable if videos and images of children should be posted on the internet at all — regardless of what content it is."

There are some other issues at hand the eSafety Commissioner, Australia’s independent regulator for online safety, pointed out — particularly around consent.

"Think before tagging or sharing photos or videos of your child," a spokesperson from Saftey told Yahoo.

"Let them know who will see it, why you want to share it and respect their decision if they don’t want it shared.

"By involving your child in taking and sharing photos and videos of them, it can be a great learning experience, as well as demonstrating what respectful behaviour looks like."

Parents should be setting a 'positive example,' experts say

The online safety platform said parents should "encourage positive online behaviour" and limit social media use around their kids.

"Even when children are not using digital technologies, they’re watching the adults in their lives and learning about technology use. So, it’s important to set a positive example," a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

"Even with preschoolers, you can model and praise online social interactions that are kind, respectful and supportive."

Whenever you pick up your phone and focus on the screen, your child is watching and learning from you, they warned.

"By demonstrating that you can put your phone down and concentrate on your child and other offline activities, you are showing them how to set boundaries with device use."

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