Viral video of toy ankle monitor for children confirmed to be satirical prank by creator amid backlash

‘The world could use a little more crazy, a little more weird, a little more humour... I’m helping fill that void,’ creator says

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Thursday 03 August 2023 12:27 BST
Artists create mock 'children's ankle monitor'

A viral video of a plastic children’s ankle monitor has been making its rounds on TikTok, where it has sparked widespread concern and criticism among viewers.

However, the product is a hoax, from its packaging to the app made for tracking the movements of parents’ little tikes.

Like any typical influencer product review, the video, which has been viewed millions of times on TikTok and Twitter, starts off with a seemingly innocuous voiceover saying: “If you’re the parent of a young child and you’re not getting enough sleep at night, I’m betting it’s because your children will not stay in their room. That was my problem too until recently when I found this ankle monitor in Walmart.”

“This brand is a godsend,” the voiceover continues. “Taking a page out of the criminal rehabilitation playbook and applying it to children. The device easily straps onto your toddler’s leg and then puts in the work 24/7 to make sure they’re staying where they belong.”

Then, the voiceover goes onto explain that there’s also an app with “awesome features” that can not only enable a parent to track their child but can also “shock” them if they’re misbehaving.

In the video, someone could be seen pulling the “product” off of a shelf at Walmart, inspecting it to make sure that it is in fact “real”. On Twitter, many weren’t in on the joke, however, with viewers balking at the idea of “putting kids on house arrest” and calling the product “inhumane”.

On TikTok, users caught onto the prank when they spotted the company logo of the product that read “Little Yikes,” directly spoofing the children’s toy company Little Tikes.

The prankster behind the video @legbootlegit, who goes by the pseudonym Justin, collaborated with artist @shampoooty to create the fake product. The artist creates similar products for his brand, Kids Toys, Adult Issues, which specialises in subverting childhood toys with a provocative, adult twist.

While @shampoooty created the ankle monitor device itself, @legbootlegit was the mastermind behind not only the packaging but the fake app. One look at @legbootlegit’s TikTok page and you’ll find more satirical videos of all sorts of fake products.

Sometimes, the items gain enough traction to become real products, like Bugkiss, a pacifier-like contraption that’s attached to a long spring with a tiny set of lips. @legbootlegit revealed that the product is “currently being manufactured after a successful Kickstarter campaign”.

As for why he creates the controversial videos of the fake products, Justin told The Independent he does it “mostly for the thrill”.

“You’d be surprised how fun it is to spread harmless misinformation. The world could use a little more crazy, a little more weird, a little more humour... I’m helping fill that void,” he said, before describing the products as an “art form” that bring him “joy”.

“In an age where AI, government regulations, and globalist agendas are trying to squeeze everyone into a Brave New World mould of their own design, I think it helps to introduce some playful human error into the margins,” he added. “I’m trying to make art statements for and about humanity.”

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