A viral video that claimed to show extensive damage done by a 12-year-old boy after his mom took away his phone has shocked the internet.

But the reality of the story behind the footage is less clear, with plenty of speculation on social media about what actually happened.

A stock image of a tired woman sitting on a bed, with a toddler laying down at the other end of it. A post about a tired new mother who left her baby for an hour to take a break has gone viral on Mumsnet.iStock/Getty Images Plus

The Claim

Twitter user Shania posted the video on Wednesday and wrote: "A 12 year old boy did this bc his mother took away his phone ..."

With more than 10 million views and being shared across the internet, including on Twitter, TikTok and YouTube, the video shows a woman walking through her kitchen showing broken appliances, furniture, and belongings thrown around the space.

But after thousands of internet users rushed to react and share the shocking footage—and speculate about who caused the damage—it was revealed that there may be more to this story.

The Facts

As the video went viral, allegations that the purported context was misleading at best began to surface.

One reply claimed: "Beloved, you need to delete this tweet because you have gone viral with misinformation. It was an abusive ex who did this, not a 12-year-old boy."

"That changes the whole narrative," said one reply, while another Twitter user wrote: "I just don't feel like a child could cause that much damage."

But hours after sharing the first tweet, Twitter user Shania updated her followers again.

"I just got off the phone with the woman in the video," she wrote: "I was misinformed when I first posted it (my sincerest apologies). The truth is that this was the result of an episode her 15-year-old son had last week while off his meds."

She continued: "It is a really sad and unfortunate situation, and our sis can use our help! That being said, her best friend created a Gofundme to help cover the costs of the extensive damage and to help her back on her feet. So let's do it."

But this update, while correcting the narrative, also raised significant red flags about the poster's credibility in the eyes of some users.

Twitter users and viewers of the video piled on the GoFundMe request, suggesting that either the story was made up or was simply a scam (by either the original poster or the woman in the video) to promote the donation page.

"This is fake. You're a horrible person," said one reply. Another Twitter user wrote: "A Gofundme because she hasn't taught her son to treat things right? No."

"You're a really bad liar, you know that," said another respondent.

After receiving tons of responses and reactions to the GoFundMe and explanation, Shania shared another video update from the woman in the first video.

"I guess everybody's saying they want to know who it is. So now you know it's me. It's my son. It's my house," she said to the camera.

"No, he's not 12. It wasn't over a cell phone. He's 15, he's 6ft tall and he's 270lbs, so no, I can't spank him."

As she walked around the apartment sharing more of the damage she says: "The damage is real. The window is still broken. The marble is still broken. I don't know what anybody wants from me. My son is mentally ill, I've dealt with this for 15 years and it just sucks that I trusted someone and they sent the video out."

While the second video appears to confirm there was significant damage done, as of the time of publishing, Newsweek could not independently verify the cause.

Newsweek has reached out to the woman in the video for comment, but she was not willing to provide an on-record response, so Newsweek has so far been unable to corroborate her story.

Likewise, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that the video is a scam, though that possibility cannot be dismissed. It is not clear whether the GoFundMe campaign is actually connected to the person in the video or her friend.

Newsweek has contacted GoFundMe for comment.

Despite arguments over the real cause of the damage and skepticism from many viewers of the viral video, the GoFundMe page has surpassed its target by over $10,000 at the time of writing.

The Ruling


There are several unproven or misleading claims surrounding this video.

It does not show damage caused by a 12-year-old boy, as the original poster clarified, and claims that the damage was instead caused by an abusive ex also do not appear to be substantiated, though cannot be ruled out entirely.

Skeptics' claims that it is a ploy to gain donations are also unverified. The second video at least confirms the extent of the damage, though it doesn't amount to a confirmation that it was caused by a 15-year-old boy with mental health issues.