How This Dad’s Pranks Lost Him His Kids

June 16, 2017

When a YouTube prank goes wrong, it can go VERY wrong. If the intention of a prank is for viral fame, sometimes people win … and sometimes they lose big.

Check out the case of Mike and Heather Martin who featured videos on their YouTube channel called “DaddyOFIVE”. The channel name alone implied a seemingly harmless channel full of family videos featuring a father and his five children. On the contrary, the videos featured dad tormenting his children with pranks. Harmless pranks according to him, but not to the hundreds of thousands of viewers who felt otherwise.

The YouTube channel has over 750,000 followers. New York Magazine quoted an annual intake of $200,000 to $350,000 from the channel alone. The Martins claim their actions towards their children were only pranks and people were simply jealous of their popularity, but the recorded pranks look a lot like abuse with the majority of it inflicted on the youngest son. The Martins are a blended family. Mike Martin has a son and daughter. Heather has three sons. From swearing to smashing electronics his youngest son is often seen crying and trying to get off camera. There are even multiple videos of physical abuse like kicking, slapping, punching and shoving. One video even encourages the older kids to hit the daughter because although they shouldn’t hit girls, hitting their sister is acceptable. It’s videos like these that tipped the scales with public opinion.

Were they using the internet as a way to emotionally and physically abuse their children on camera while benefiting in thousands of dollars in return? That’s the question many believe to be absolutely true.

In response to his lack of judgement and continuous abuse against the children, the mother of his two children filed for emergency custody and got it.

The Martin’s have since released a video apologizing for their lack in judgement in the treatment of their children, but the fact remains they made a tremendous amount of money from the cruel prank videos. The even made money on the apology.

The price of viral fame should never be at the expense of kids. If it weren’t for the persistency of viewers who felt the children were in danger, then the abuse may have continued indefinitely.

Posted in Safe Planning on June 16, 2017


About the Author Amy WIlliams

Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

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