It can be fun to play pranks on kids sometimes—but only when it’s harmless. It’s a line that’s easy to cross, and it’s one that some fame-hungry parents on YouTube have violated in their pursuit of internet celebrity and ad revenue.
Today, popular YouTuber Philip DeFranco highlighted a channel called “DaddyOFive” run by a Maryland-based family, in which the two parents play mean pranks on their children.
The parents go overboard, the kids cry, and the whole thing is downright upsetting.
As DeFranco notes, it’s very different from Jimmy Kimmel’s “we ate all your Halloween candy” prank that goes viral every year. Seeing the popularity of that particular prank may have inspired channels like DaddyOFive to try their hand at it, however.
The channel, which is owned by the father, identified as Mike Martin of Damascus, MD by the Philly Voice, has received no shortage of criticism in recent days. In response, Martin released a video calling out all the “haters,” where he did nothing but insult his critics, and offered little by way of apology.
It’s a telling moment in the video when one of the kids says “at least you’re not beating us like most parents,” which raises the question about what Mike Martin and his wife are teaching their kids. It goes without saying that abuse doesn’t have to be in the form of physical violence, especially on children who are particularly sensitive to emotional and verbal abuse.
As DeFranco properly highlights, their actions are disgusting—especially the “pranks” aimed towards Cody, which sometimes result in the boy getting physically hurt or beaten by his siblings.
Other so-called “pranks” Martin and his wife played on Cody involved smashing his iPad and video game console, and falsely telling him they were putting him up for adoption. Their daughter Emma was no less excluded by their victimization—they destroyed her Pokemon trading cards in a recent video, bringing her to tears.
Despite this, the channel has managed to thrive with over 750,000 subscribers. The subscription figures have only gone up with each new video.
Physical, mental, and emotional abuse of children is a serious issue. And it’s especially heinous when it’s being done for money and YouTube fame.