Nightline Fix

From Cake to Chaos at Chuck-E-Cheese

Nightline Fix

A child’s birthday: a Toy Story cake, a shy smile, all his little friends and family gathered round, then bang! It all kicks off. A birthday melee with bare fisted brawling at kids' birthday party at family restaurant, Chuck-E-Cheese.

This is happening, and more often than you might imagine. Type Chuck E Cheese into Youtube and you can watch, wide eyed, as multiple fights unfold: cell phone footage of birthday parties, gone very sour.

At one location In Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, the cops were all too frequent visitors to Chuck E Cheese. There was an 18 month period where we were there 17 times.

Chuck E Cheese sent ABC News a statement recognizing the problem and has put security measures in place to prevent fights, but “While even one incident is too many, over 99.99 percent of approximately 65,000,000 annual guest visits at Chuck E Cheese’s go without incident.”

So what is it that's making people go nuts at Chuck-E-Cheese? We asked a psychologist to watch some of these fights on Youtube to help us figure out what’s going on.

“Do you find this behavior surprising? Not really. Birthday parties are really emotional situations,” says USC Professor, David Schwartz, “I'm always surprised about what tips us over the edge.”

And the way humans are wired - this environment, a kid's birthday party with the noise, the crowds, the stress, - Chuck E Cheese has all the makings of a powder keg, and sadly all it takes is one spark to make it explode.

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