YouTube family’s “prank” videos put children through emotional exploitation for the sake of popularity

In Opinion
(Courtesy of YouTube)

For over 12 years, YouTube has been a monumental platform for users to share their experiences and projects online with other people across the world. However, YouTube fame shouldn’t be sought after if it means exploiting children for the sake of comedy.

While family vlog channels on YouTube are very popular, with families sharing the silly antics that go on in their daily lives, there are some that monetize off of traumatic experiences under the guise of a joke.

Parents Mike and Heather Martin of Maryland recently had two of their five children taken away by Child Protective Services after disturbing videos on their YouTube channel went viral.

Their channel “DaddyOFive” has more than 760,000 subscribers and focuses on the family’s crazy shenanigans and pranks.

Recently, there’s been controversy surrounding Mike and Heather regarding their content posted to their YouTube channel, seemingly for financial gain and publicity over the internet at the expense of their children’s physical and mental wellbeing.

”DaddyOFive” contains several videos of the two parents loudly berating their children with profanity, having the kids physically attacking one another and destroying the kids’ property in what Mike and Heather say are “exaggerated pranks.”

The channel was exposed in a dark light in videos uploaded by popular YouTubers like Philip DeFranco and H3H3 Productions’ Ethan Klein.

Then, the Martins made mainstream headlines for all the wrong reasons in April when their “invisible ink prank” that was pulled on the two youngest children went viral.

In the video, that has since been privatized by the “DaddyOFive” account, the two parents angrily scream and curse out the two boys for well over three minutes as both boys become visibly upset and scared while defending their innocence.

Finally, the mother pulls out a bottle of ink while smiling and laughing at the camera with the father happily exclaiming to his two boys on camera, “You just got owned! It’s just a prank, bruh!”

The look on the two boys’ faces says it all, as they wipe away tears from their red faces and stare at their parents in disbelief; this is no joke.

The “DaddyOFive” channel clearly lacks humanity. There is plenty of evidence in other videos that the channel has uploaded that indicate this mental abuse of their children has been going on for quite some time now.

Mike and Heather went into full-blown defensive mode by privatizing all but one apology video on their channel and hiring a Baltimore-area PR firm by the name of Fallston Group to protect their family’s public image.

Sincerely apologetic is the last thing their apology video feels like, as it gives off more of a “damage control” vibe. Traumatizing children, or anyone for that matter, and making money off of it is never OK and is one of the most abhorrent things a parent can do.

Thankfully, the two young children Cody and Emma, were finally taken away from the toxic environment of the Martin household and put under the custody of their biological mother Rose Hall, according to a video on YouTube.

Mike and Heather Martin must face consequences for their actions. If this eventually means both of them facing legal consequences, then justice might rightfully be served.

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