YouTube ‘prank parents’ lose children

Family Law | 3 May 2017 2

Two children who were victims of YouTube pranks which some claimed was abuse have been taken away from their father and stepmother.

The Maryland couple would film their children’s reactions to a series of practical jokes and then post them online under the username DaddyOFive. Footage included a clip of the couple harshly punishing one of their five children for bad behaviour he had not committed and one of the family breaking his possessions in front of him. The youngsters were caught crying and screaming in response to this treatment and, in more than one post, the youngest continued even after being told it was all a joke.

These videos went viral as they racked up millions of views and thousands of subscribers to the channel in a very short space of time. However, a large number of viewers condemned the couple for being cruel to their children. After seeing clips, some of which featured the parents screaming and swearing at their children until they cried, some viewers accused the couple of abuse.

The couple denied all of these accusations on TV talk show Good Morning America, insisting that while they did engage in pranks “most of the time the kids knew about them and they were planned”. Amid the controversy, the contentious posts were taken down and DaddyOFive uploaded an apology to YouTube along with a series of tweets in an attempt to ease the outrage:

However, two of the five children were taken away from the couple by law enforcement and placed with their biological mother until a Child Protective Services investigation is completed. In a YouTube video of her own, she said the children were “doing good” and that they were now “getting back to their playful selves”. She said it had been “very heart-breaking and disturbing to see [her] kids be abused” in the viral posts.

Speaking to the BBC, the mother’s lawyer said they were “so excited that the children are now safe and with the Mom”. The father’s legal representative declined to comment except to say that the necessary information would be “presented to the court at the appropriate time”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. Ned says:

      I, and I am sure a good many people, have often said that these “amateur prank videos” on YouTube have now gone too far. Their pursuit of “happiness” for their increasingly desensitized and insouciant viewers result in the predictable — casual onlookers are starting to “discount” potentially hazardous or even apparently dangerous situations as, “It’s probably just a prank”. And there’s an immediate casting around, looking for the camera….

      But what about those situations where it ISN’T a “prank”? When there’s NO camera — only REAL danger? (And casting around for the camera wastes valuable seconds — to get out the way.) I maintain that these silly videos are causing us to call into question our normal “fight or flight” reaction — we are increasingly tending to be very blase about what could be, in these days, very dangerous or even life-threatening situations.

      It is only a matter of time before people start to put their lives at risk, believing some external phenomenon is “just a prank”.

      Only, it wasn’t.

      And who, among all the pranksters, will feel they had anything to do with it??

    2. John Smith says:

      Where are the psychologists? why dont they comment of the dynamics of step families more – compare the good ones to the bad ones. There are plenty of statistic on the dangers of step fathers. Time to put the spotlight on stepmothers.

      Ladies before you attack me, read my other comments where I am very supportive of women especially in situations of domestic violence and power imbalance, and Im generally pro-mothers remaining primary carer. On the otherhand we know how easily some dont think with their brains and if men claim some of the mothers of our children are abusers/co-orcive controllers, we need to wake up to the facts that the “wonderful’ new girlfriend/second wife could also be an abuser.

      Why doesnt society and psychologists as why a woman would want to parent another womans children and encourage a father to go for residency? Is it to control and keep fathers? Does she use the divorced couples children as a wheapon to control both the man and the first wife in some twisted psychopathic sadistic fetish? Perhaps she is just jealous of the first wife and takes it out on his children? Perhaps she is just an evil or stupid person.

      Why does modern society worship the new girlfriend/wife yet quickly demonise a step dad. Why did this man have residency? Perhaps its time we stopped demonising our ex-wives, worshiping the new women in our lives and start to use our brains a bit more.

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