If you see a youngster with a hidden camera at a distance from him, outlandishly maligning someone, tampering with an object, or doing something unusual either with pedestrians or in a public place, it may be assumed that he is a prankster.
Multiple content genres have been developing with the growth of social media and the increase of its local usage, which has given rise to pranks or the practical joke genre in Pakistan. However, here, the concept of pulling pranks is far different from how they are done in other countries. While pranks in Pakistan are mostly played to either earn fame or entertain social media viewers, they can also be used for positive social experiments and the development of society.
Pranks make pranksters feel elated or entertain viewers by revealing how the victims of the pranks respond in frustration or how they react in unusual situations, and there are numerous types of media productions of this sort for entertainment purposes.
Nonetheless, imagine a situation in which the victim of a prank goes into cardiac disease or how they may react in the case of an expected outcome or untoward circumstances. There are many loopholes in the pranks of Pakistani creators which need to be improved to make them credible, put them on par with the international level of pranks, and even play a role in the development of society.
It is obvious that a large number of viewers support prank videos on social media by giving them positive feedback rather than criticizing the activities in them that often entail only humiliation and harassment.
For instance, a prankster on a Youtube channel based in Lahore asks girls in public places unethical questions. Regardless of whether the video of these pranks are scripted or not, their creator must be mindful of the sort of messages that they convey to their audience that is likely to consist of mostly children and adolescents. Such pranks lack positive messages and may be categorized as ‘unethical and inappropriate content’.
Consent for Video
After the prank, almost every prankster asks the filmed person or victim of the prank for their permission to upload the video on YouTube or other social media sites. Without regard for the gender of the person in question, the prankster does not specify the part of the video that will be uploaded, and there is no talk of or guarantee against the consequences of the remaining part of the video falling into the wrong hands.
Electric Shock Pranks
While pranksters refer to such activities as ‘social experiments’ that are supposedly aimed at determining the sympathy or honesty of people in public places, they are undoubtedly dangerous. In these sort of pranks, a seemingly valuable object that secretly contains an electric shock system is strategically placed on the ground to seem as if it had been dropped. When an unsuspecting passerby (read: ‘victim’) picks it up and pockets it, they get a nasty electric shock from the remote electric shock system controlled by the prankster.
Viewers should question how such unethical and vicious activities could be considered ‘pranks’ as they are, in fact, nothing short of hazards and the degradation of humanity.
What Happened in the Past?
In 2015, a teenage prankster was killed by the police in Faisalabad after being mistaken for a robber.
Similarly, an 11-year-old boy was shot dead by a security guard in Karachi in 2016. He had been masquerading as a monster and had been scaring people for a prank video.
Another young male prankster by the name of Rana Zuhair was killed in 2018 when a prank turned into a clash between the victim and the prankster, and the victim shot him.
Pranks have the potential to be a good source of entertainment and used for the development of society but the creators of prank videos should also predetermine the possible outcomes of their activities and the aftereffects of their production. It would also do them well to be ethical during the process of creating prank videos.