Social media is such a huge a part of our daily lives nowadays, with users checking their Facebook or Instagram several times a day, and watching their favourite YouTubers. It seems that most users are concerned with how many “likes” and views they can get; the more, the better.
The parents behind the popular YouTube channel Daddyofive featured everyday vlogs to complicated pranks, with the children being the ones pranked. Their YouTube channel had garnered over 700,000 subscribers. The parents of the children, Mike and Heather Martin, were called out for exploiting their children for the sake of YouTube views.
In the videos, there were disturbing clips of the children are crying uncontrollably while the parents are swearing and yelling at them. In one of the videos, the Martins poured ink onto their youngest son Cody’s bedroom floor and then blamed him for making the mess. They swore at him angrily for making the mess and when he denied it, they accused him of lying. The boy, Cody then cried hysterically, along with his brother Alex, who was also being pranked.
After the online backlash, the Martins apologized for the videos in a statement.
“What started out as family fun and entertainment took on a life of its own. Before we knew it, we were caught-up in our families popularity which led to some poor decisions. Upon reflection, we realize there were mistakes made that caused our family some pain; we offer our most humble and sincere apology to those we negatively impacted and offended, particularly our wonderful children.
“Our children are safe. Off camera and out of character, they are normal, happy kids who play sports and love being with their family and friends. Thank you for your understanding as we work through this difficult time.”
But the apology wasn’t enough; Rose Hall, the biological mother of Mike Martin’s two youngest children, Cody, nine, and Emma, 12, uploaded a video with her lawyer, Tim Conlon of the Custody Place, saying that she had emergency custody of the kids, who were the main targets of the ‘pranks’ of Mike and his second wife, Heather.
“Very heartbreaking and disturbing to see my kids abused,,” said Hall. “They’re doing good,” Hall says on the video. “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”
“The kids are in a deprogramming sort of mode in the moment,” said Conlon.
The pair thanked people on YouTube who persisted on trying to get the children taken away from the couple. An online petition drew over 20,000 signatures to get CPS to investigate the Martins who live in Baltimore, Maryland. DaddyoFive’s videos have all been removed from the YouTube channel.
Now, the Martins have been sentenced to five years of probation. Michael and Heather Martin entered Alford pleas Monday in Frederick County Circuit Court after they were charged with child neglect.
The Martins also cannot post recordings or images of Emma and Cody to social media unless it is for legitimate family purposes, the Baltimore Sun reported. The couple must also submit evaluations and adhere to mental health treatment as advised by their supervising agent.
How could these parents make such a bad judgement call? Are social media “likes” and views more important than their children’s mental health and safety?
What do you think about this story?