Using this TikTok horse-face filter on babies isn’t funny—it’s cruel

Why do some adults think it’s funny to terrify a baby to the point of tears?

If you’ve followed us here on Today’s Parent for a while now, you probably know that we aren’t huge fans of pranks that intentionally make your kids cry (remember that spider filter on Snapchat?) or make people laugh at your kid’s expense (remember “cheesing” your baby?).

So when we saw that some parents were sharing videos on Tiktok and Instagram using a filter that stretches out their face into a horse head to intentionally freak out their babies, we knew we had to say something—again. Here’s an example:

Now don’t get us wrong—between the face stretching and the silly yodel, this filter is undeniably hilarious. If your little kid knows the difference between a funny photo filter and reality, they’re sure to have a giggle fit from watching your face (or their own) transform into a silly horse head. Just check out the older sibling in the video above getting a total kick out of it.

However, babies who don’t understand that distinction are getting terrified from the filter and that’s what we have a problem with. From the clips we’ve seen, parents are showing this filter to their babies for no other reason than to make them cry and frankly, when cruelty is the point, it’s just not funny. Take a look at this little one who supposedly never cries at anything but obviously thinks their parent has suffered a horrific unicorn curse:


@leonie_louise.xxHe literally never cries at anything so I’m super shocked ##unicornfilterchallenge ##viralticktok♬ เสียงต้นฉบับ – มิส_สตรอเบอร์รี – Miss.Strawberry

We’re all for a bit of fun—we do have a sense of humour, we promise—but we’re just going to say it: It’s really not OK to scare your baby to the point of tears for any reason, even if it makes you laugh (and if that’s the case, perhaps it’s time to think about why you find a scared crying baby to be funny).

Can’t we all just save this filter for the kids who are old enough to know that it’s not real and relish in the joy of their uncontrollable laughter? The world is bad and scary enough as it is.

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