When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying?
We all have either played a prank on someone or been a victim of a prank. It is normal as it’s a part of growing up. But there are times when pranks cross the line and become bullying. Pranks are common thing in schools and they can be fun. Some classics like- Write out fake love letters to people who don't like each other and say stuff like, “I want you to be my wife.” or Putting chewing gums on other pupils’ seats, can be funny and do not cause much damage. In every class these is ‘a clown’ or a guy/girl (usually guy) who just play pranks on others all day. Those types of pupils make classes less boring and usually popular kids. But on the other side, there are those who don’t know when to stop. Their pranks become more than just practical jokes. Kids that are victims of their ‘unfunny pranks’ start to feel uncomfortable and harmful. At that point we talk about bullying rather than funny pranks.
The definition of bullying is ‘Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.’ The problem occurs when ‘bullies’ do not realize they actually hurt someone by playing pranks. In their heads, these are just harmless jokes but in reality they do hurt someone and can cause a lot of trouble.
What kind of pranks do actually cross the line and become bullying? Well, there are different forms. One of them is constantly making fun of someone’s physical appearance. This is not just rude but can also be very dangerous. The person that is being mocked at, starts to feel insecure and rejected, peculiarly in the period of high school when students are emotionally unstable. That can have serious consequences on their mental health. Another example is when one someone makes fun of other’s financial status. Again, this type of pranks can be common and is very dangerous. Something that is also a big problem is that kids who are being bullied do not report such behavior. Bullying is repeated over and over but they just do not feel safe to report it. They think that by doing it, they will just make things worse.
It is a fine line between a prank and bullying. Pranks make school years more interesting and memorable. They are something kids talk about for many years, especially about those good ones. A good prank is harmless, funny and does not make anyone injured or emotionally hurt. It’s like breaking someone’s chair or bending the legs to make it wobble or supergluing all of the lockers shut. These can cheer everyone up (except maybe the teachers :) and don’t cause big trouble. When pranks cross the line and someone insults other person then it is just bullying. It’s not fun anymore and can only hurt someone, nothing else.