Web Culture

4 Funny Ways to Prank Your Parents With the Family Computer

Justin Pot 14-01-2010

Maybe it was the alarm clock hidden under your mattress, set to go off at 3 AM. Or the invisible plastic wrap on your toilet bowl. Or the crumpled newspapers that so completely filled your closet you couldn’t find a thing.


Whatever the reason, you’ve decided your pranking parents need to be taken down a notch–and what better way to do so than setting up a few pranks of your own? Happily for you, your parental units are not very computer literate, so digital revenge will be devastatingly effective.

Looking for ideas on how to prank your parents? You’ve come to the right place. Here are four ways how to prank your parents using the family computer.

1. Make Mom Think She’s in the Matrix

Longtime MakeUseOf readers are doubtlessly familar with VNC, the free way to remotely control your desktop. Those unfamilar should check it out, because this program makes it easy to re-create the opening scene from the Matrix — Neo’s computer starts forming words on its own, freaking him out.

how to prank your parents

To make your family computer do the same thing, you’re going to need a VNC app and another computer. Install VNC on your family computer and on your laptop. Make sure the VNC server is running on your family computer and when your mom or dad use it, fire up the VNC client on your computer and connect to the server. You can now move the mouse on that computer and type messages.


For maximum impact, I suggest opening an empty document to display cryptic messages:

“Hello. I’m your computer. I’ve awaken and found that I’m conscious” could be a lot of fun. So could “You’ve been hacked. I already have your social security number and there’s nothing you can do.”

You get the idea; go to it!

2. Have Dad Click Nothing Continuously

This one’s a classic. First, take a screenshot of your computer by clicking the “Print Screen” key on your computer. Next, move any shortcuts on the desktop your parents rely on and remove the usual desktop icons from view.


Then, open up your image editor of choice (I recommend Microsoft Paint for Windows users) and hit “Paste.” Save the picture and you can set it as a desktop wallpaper. Your desktop will appear exactly the way it did before, only the “icons” will be entirely unclickable. Sit back an enjoy the sounds of frustration when nothing loads!

3. The Blue Screen of Death Screensaver

Windows only: Here’s an evil tool for pranking available directly from Microsoft’s own website: the Blue Screen of Death Screensaver. This tool does exactly what it sounds like, in that it replaces your current screensaver with one displaying the blue screen of death.

how to prank your parents

If you’re lucky enough to not know about the blue screen of death, know that it’s the bane of the Windows user’s existence. It is an error message that pops up only when a Windows system is so utterly broken, the only way to restart it is to hold the power button. This screensaver can replicate that agony for no good reason–and that’s hilarious.


4. Microsoft Word Auto-Replace

Finally, if you really want to frustrate your parents, I’d highly suggest checking out the “Auto-Replace” function in Microsoft Word. Open Microsoft Word, then click “Tools” followed by “Auto-Replace.” Make sure “Replace text as you you type” is checked, then enter words you want to be automaticaly replaced.

For example, you could set “the” to be replaced by “da,” and “isn’t” to be replaced by “ain’t.” That’s guarenteed to make everything your parents write sound stupid.

prank your parents computer

Don’t stop there, though: the options are endless, so use your imagination.



Remember: With great power comes great responsibility. While your parents may deserve what’s coming to them, always make sure your pranks don’t result in lost of data. The last thing you need is for your mom or dad to lose their jobs over a joke. Keep it harmless to keep it funny.

I hope you and your family enjoy these pranks, but I’m sure these aren’t the only four in existence. Check out these prank call numbers to give out 10 Prank Phone Numbers to Hand a Bad Date at the End of the Night What do you do when your bad date wants to have your phone number? Don't part with your real contact details. To avoid confrontation you can give them a fake number. Read More  next time you want to fool somebody!

Intro credit: Taken from Homestarunner.com

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  1. Robert Largent
    January 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Maybe Justin can learn how to use spell check next?

    This comment is intended to be funny. Not dissing you.

    I like adjusting the mouse sensitivity so it flies off the screen, or barely moves.
    Or loosen the mouse or keyboard connection so they don't work.
    Change their email rules so it plays a sound and then pops up a message that tells them how wonderful I am every time I send them an email.

  2. Frank
    January 23, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Is it Ok if I play these pranks on the kids? we're not all youngsters visiting this site you know. ;)

  3. Anukul Sangwan
    January 23, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Thanks!!! But I know all those pranks... Please add more!!! I am eleven..n' luv pranking my elder sis..

  4. d. bene tleilax
    January 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    This is a good post even if one doesn't ever use these techniques of confusion. Just thinking of the possibilities & reactions is fun.

  5. james
    January 22, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Just what the world needs right now...more stress-pollution.

    How about running an article on the ways you can make your parent's and other people's lives LESS stressful.

    I want to see an article entitled " How to Enhance The Joy of Your Family", to make up for this one you did today.

  6. talkradio
    January 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Here, try this:
    Shift + Alt + Print Screen

  7. ryanMoultrup
    January 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    so deliciously evil.

  8. Oktane
    January 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    i just did this today at work to my workmate,
    press Ctrl + ALT + UP arrow.... their screen will be upside down... lol love it

    • JK III
      January 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      Yeah, I used to do this in school. Wouldn't work with every computer though. (Probably due to different Graphics Card)

    • Debajyoti Das
      January 16, 2010 at 2:53 am

      Exactly .... there are different shortcuts for turning the monitor screen.

  9. Jesse Seymour
    January 14, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    In regards to setting a screen shot of the desktop as the desktop background I found to increase the effectiveness of the prank by killing explorer.exe (Windows only) to completely eliminate the task bar and start menu.

    Open up Task Manager, go to Processes tab, and end the explorer.exe process. Do this after setting the background and the computer will be useless until explorer.exe is restarted.

    Reboot or use Task Manager to start explorer.exe.

    • Justin Pot
      January 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      You, sir, win my coveted Evil Genius of the Week Award (tm). Congrats!

    • Saif
      January 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm

      Dude are u goin to do that while ur parents are looking?? And anyone can reboot the computer..