Remember that video that went viral featuring two kids being “pranked” by their parents? Well, the parents behind the YouTube account, DaddyOFive now lost custody of their kids–because many users felt the series of pranks were actually abusive. In the videos, they accused their son, Cody, of bad behavior (like spilling ink on a carpet), and then threatened physical and emotional abuse.
The Washington Post posted a transcript of the video that went viral (which has since been removed):
“Heather Martin, a.k.a. “MommyOFive,” is screaming. “Get your f—— a — up here!” she yells at Cody, her young son. Mike Martin — DaddyOFive to his family YouTube channel’s 750,000 subscribers — follows along behind with the camera as Cody runs upstairs. Soon, he is yelling, too: “What the hell is that?” There is ink all over the floor of Cody’s room. The boy begins to cry. “I didn’t do that,” he says, his face turning red. ‘I swear to God I didn’t do that.’”
After that video made the rounds on the internet, many viewers called Child Protective Services in Maryland, where the family lived. There was even a 19,000 signature-petition asking Child Protective Services in Maryland to “reinvestigate” the Martins.
As of now, it appears that Rose Hall, the biological mother of 9-year-old Cody and his sister Emma, has emergency custody of her children–and she made a video describing how they children are doing OK.
Meanwhile, the Martins claimed the videos were harmless pranks, which is dubious considering many of the videos included disturbing scenes, like one where Cody’s father seems to push him into book case, and then also pushes into a couch for “being in his chair.” Cody is also seen crying in many of the videos–he clearly isn’t laughing, saying, “I just want to be left alone.”
YouTube star Philip DeFranco recently released a video editing some of the clips together to illustrate Cody’s mistreatment and abuse:
Before the videos were taken down, the channel got about 800,000 subscribers and millions of views. But as of now, DeFranco’s video has been seen more than three million times. This in turn caused the Martins to release a video of their apology.
“We realize we have made some terrible parenting decisions, and we just want to make things right,” Heather Martin says in the video. The family is now in counseling together “to understand what we did wrong in all this,” she said. “We just wanted our kids to be happy and we went about it in the wrong way.”
Personally, I hope that Cody and Emma receive the care and attention they need. This story illustrates both the dangers and benefits of social media, in that the parents were grossly using and abusing their children publicly in order to get attention (and probably would have, regardless of social media’s existence), but thankfully, because of the public nature of their misdeeds, the children were able to be removed from their unhealthy environment.