NEW YORK -- Jimmy Kimmel brought tears to the eyes of many children recently... and they weren't tears of joy.
ABC's late-night host conducted what's become an annual prank during the past week, encouraging parents to tell their children they had eaten all of their Halloween candy, film the response and upload the video so he could show it on his TV show and on YouTube.
Predictably, many of the fooled children were quite upset.
"Pranking your own children is not harmless fun, but is cruel and potentially damaging," says Mark Barnett, a professor and graduate program co-ordinator at Kansas State University's department of psychological sciences. A child's trust in his parents shouldn't be trifled with, he says.
"A parent who would violate this trust for a big laugh or 15 minutes of fame is, in my opinion, acting irresponsibly and not looking out for the best interests of the child," Barnett said.
No one from Kimmel's show, broadcast on a network owned by the traditionally kid-friendly Walt Disney Co., was available to comment, representatives said Wednesday. A YouTube posting of Kimmel's on-air highlights was viewed more than seven million times through late Wednesday, with more than 45,000 giving it a "thumbs up" and 2,191 offering a "thumbs down."
Since starting the feature in 2011, Kimmel's show says the post-Halloween videos have been viewed more than 106 million times online.
Kimmel says this year he received an "avalanche" of great responses and it took much of last weekend to work through them all.
This year's videos include two blond boys who break out in uncontrolled tears when their father tells them, "It's all gone." An empty candy wrapper is on the table in front of them.
One girl, still in costume, tells her mother that "you ruined my whole day."
Children throw stomping tantrums, one so vigorous the toddler's pants fall down. One angry girl throws an envelope at her parents. Another bawling child is hardly mollified by news that it's a prank: "Well, that's not very kind," the boy says.
Kimmel's studio audience laughs at most of the reactions.
-- The Associated Press