Sometimes pranks can be childishly lame, sometimes they can be genuinely funny, and sometimes they can be scary or even harmful. “Swatting,” the newest trend among pranksters on the internet, is not only dangerous but recklessly juvenile in its purpose. Whether it be out of revenge or out of simple boredom and a need for “entertainment,” there’s probably not ever a truly good reason to “swat” somebody. The simplest definition of swatting is when hackers or other remote attackers trick 911 into sending a SWAT team to someone’s house under false direction or threat in the hopes that they will invade the home and traumatize the residents. It is not in the least an innocent prank or “just having some fun” as those online might have you believe.
What might be the scariest part of the swatting trend is that it can target anybody and there is no true way to prevent it. Everyone from a U.S. lawmaker who was actively opposing the practice to a recent Vine star who had gone viral have been victims of home invasions by a SWAT team. No matter the reasoning behind the practice, it is a disproportionate reaction to what is usually a tiny disagreement, and anyone who does it should really find another outlet for their boredom and/or malice toward other humans. Watch the video for more information about “swatting” and hope that it never happens to you.