BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Frederick County family is accused of child abuse after posting a video that left their child in tears.
The parents are claiming the video, which has since been removed from their channel, was fake, and that the children were in on the prank.
But some viewers and even health experts say the video, posted on the DaddyOFive channel, raises serious questions of abuse.
It shows a boy in tears after his parents yell at him for making a mess. Three minutes into the profanity-filled video, the parents reveal it’s all a joke.
But YouTube viewers didn’t find it so funny, calling it “disgusting” and holding it up as child abuse.
Baltimore’s Family and Children Services clinical supervisor also expressed concern.
“…the kids are obviously distressed even during what they believe are pranks,” says Julia Knach. “There is emotional harm done there.”
The family’s YouTube channel was created in 2015 and contains countless videos with similar pranks. It has 700,000 subscribers.
Some say the fact that these videos have been viewed more than 100 million times shows a disturbing trend in society.
“As a society, we have kind of stepped back and we don’t want to be as involved,” Knach says. “It’s OK from a distance but as long as it’s not happening to us… we don’t have to worry about it.”
The parents released two videos in response to the backlash, one titled “Blocking All Haters,” and another, more serious one in which the father, Mike Martin says this:
“My kids love this, YouTube, and I did it for them and I’m taking all this hate right now for them…These kids are safe, and I swear to God if we continue making videos, you will see changes.”
He says the family is extremely close and does not condone child abuse in any way.
The family also issued an apology on their social media accounts.