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What is the 'egg crack challenge' and why is it so controversial?

Parents are participating in the “egg challenge" on social media by smashing eggs on the heads of unsuspecting children.
/ Source: TODAY

Parents are taking the "egg challenge," a viral social media trend that involves cracking eggs on their children's heads.

For the prank, parents film themselves baking or cooking with their children. Instead of cracking a raw egg into a bowl, parents smash it onto their unsuspecting child's head or forehead. Some children have burst into tears, hit their parents back or giggled in delight.

The reception to these videos, shared with the hashtags "Egg prank" or "egg crack challenge" swing from harmless entertainment to child abuse:

  • "How is this funny? Trust got broken, feelings were hurt and the moms are laughing. This is twisted."
  • "I have to try that on my kids."
  • "This is weird AF."
  • "That was so funny."
  • "We abuse our kids for likes? So sad."
  • "She looked up at you so lovingly and sweet and innocent and that will be the last time you'll see that look."
  • "It's humiliating and looks painful."
  • "These comments do not pass the vibes check. It’s fun, lighthearted (and) supposed to be silly!"

Why are parents doing the egg challenge?

Aaron Zapata tried the joke on three of his five children while baking blueberry muffins.

"I am clearly amused with my pranks," the Texas dad wrote on a TikTok video with 10-year-old sons Kamdym and Kohen. "They will pay me back later! LOL."

In the video, Zapata says, "We're going to start off with the first step which is just taking two large eggs and what you're going to want to do is crack it," before breaking the egg against Kamdyn's forehead, leaving him speechless and smiling.

"Hey!" exclaimed Kohen on his turn, as his dad says, "Best thing ever!"

Zapata also cracked two eggs on his 3-year-old daughter Kapri.

"No!" she said in the video. When her dad cracked the second egg, she yelled, "Yucky! No, daddy!" while refusing his offer to egg him in return.

Zapata tells that his sons said the challenge "was the funniest thing ever."

"We are a 'prank family'" he says. "You never know if someone is hiding behind a door ready to jump out and scare you."

Zapata recognizes that all his children won't appreciate the humor, intentionally altering the prank with his 6-year-old son Kyan to make himself the target.

Many of Zapata’s 17,000 TikTok followers supported the pranks but others declared him the “The world’s worst dad” and threatened to report him to Child Protective Services.

"Every kid responds differently and we do our best to gauge that," explains Zapata. "It's not for me to judge what others think, but know my children better than anyone else in the world and if I thought this prank caused long-term damage, I wouldn't have done it."

"My kids know they can talk to me about their feelings and a 30-second video clip can't show a stranger what happens behind the scenes," he adds.

Zapata admitted that comments stating that he caused his daughter emotional damage or crushed her spirit, hit him hard.

"I know that I'm a good parent and understand that when you post something online, you're opening yourself up to judgement," he says.

The dad clarifies that he would not have posted the videos or continued the prank if his kids strongly objected, adding that Kapri laughs while she watches her video on repeat.

“To the naysayers: Leave the harsh criticism for people you know personally are harming others and not strangers on the internet," says Zapata.

San Francisco mom Janelle Leon did the egg challenge twice with her 3-year-old daughter Raelyn.

In Leon's Instagram video captioned, "My sweet baby (is) such a good sport," her daughter appears surprised, covering her forehand with her hand.

"Good job," says Leon, adding, "We're going to do it again," cracking another egg on her daughter's head.

Raelyn smiles but when Leon asks if she can crack a third egg, she shakes her head no.

"What did mama just do? She cracked an egg on my head. Silly mama!" said Raelyn.

Leon tells that watching the egg challenge online was "hilarious."

While her daughter was "shocked" by the prank, Leon says she understood her lighthearted intentions.

"After we filmed, I showed her other videos to make that clear and she laughed," says Leon, adding that her daughter was not in pain.

The mom said she deleted negative comments from her video, one which called her "disgusting" and the prank "sick."

"There are a lot of sensitive people out there and everyone is entitled to their opinion," says Leon. "My daughter is fine — she is not being emotionally harmed."

Does the egg crack challenge hurt children?

According to Chazz Lewis, a parent and teacher coach in North Carolina, it's important to reflect on how specific children might react to the egg challenge.

"The concern is how kids interpret their parents' behavior," he tells "Parents can have positive intentions and still make a negative impact."

Lewis says that even when parents consider a child's age and personality beforehand, they might misjudge the outcome.

"To minimize any damage, simply ask children for permission to pull the prank" provided they are at least 8 years old, he suggests.

The educator says that filming the prank may prevent some kids from showing their genuine reactions or activate their stress responses.

Parents should mull power dynamics in pranks that involve kids.

“A child does not have the same opportunities to react as an adult or have the same capacity to regulate their emotions," he says, adding, "Kids could learn that it's OK to take advantage of those with less power, for their amusement."

Some parents have remixed the challenge by cracking eggs on their own foreheads, which Lewis considers a safe alternative — and prevents raw egg yoke from getting into children's eyes or mouths. According to the Cleveland Clinic, consuming raw eggs could lead to Salmonella food poisoning in rare cases.

What can parents do if their kid is upset by the egg crack challenge?

"Apologize and comfort them with hugs if they're willing to receive them," says Lewis. "Then acknowledge what you did wrong which may sound like, 'I hit you with an egg without telling you.'"

Promising not to pull future pranks or to ask permission beforehand and respect children's answers will help mend broken trust.

"You could also let the child crack the egg over your head," says Lewis.