Parents Lose Custody Of Kids After Broadcasting Pranks On YouTube

[YouTube/Screenshot/Public - User: DaddyOFive]

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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A father and stepmother recently lost custody of two of their children after they played dubiously funny pranks on them and broadcasted it on YouTube.

The biological mother announced Monday that the children were now in her care.

The YouTube channel called DaddyOFive, which is operated by Mike Martin and with his wife Heather, usually shows the life of a blended family from Maryland. Founded in August of 2015, the channel has more than 750,00 subscribers.

While some of the content shows typical family shenanigans, other videos showed seemingly cruel behavior. Mike’s 5-year-old son, Cody, and his daughter, Emma, are often victimized by some of their parent’s pranks. Heather, the stepmom of Cody and Emma, also has three biological sons who often participate in the practical jokes.

One of the loosely defined pranks (or acts of mistreatment) entailed falsely accusing Cody of bad behavior and swearing at him and smashing his toys and electronics. Cody would often get very upset and cry while telling his parents that he didn’t do anything wrong, according to New York Magazine. Other videos, unearthed by the Reddit community, reportedly feature Cody being shoved into a bookcase by his father, the parents encouraging the kids to punch, tackle and kick Cody, and the dad telling his son it’s okay to strongly slap his sister across the face.

After some of the videos were rediscovered and further publicized, the parents issued a public apology on their YouTube channel, the only video now available on the page.

“Hello team ‘DOFive.’ This is going to be a bit of a different video than we usually do. This has been the absolute worst week of our life,” the mother says tearfully in a video published April 22. “And we realize that we have made some terrible parenting decisions and we just wanna make things right.”

The parents also appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program April 28 to say sorry again and explain the thinking behind their actions.

The apology was apparently not enough to keep their two children, at least for the time being. (RELATED: YouTube Celebrity Made One Too Many Hitler References For Disney)

“Emma and Cody are with me, I have emergency custody — they’re doing good,” Rose Hall, the kids’ biological mother, said in a YouTube video titled “Daddyofive – Youtube Community Saves Emma and Cody.”

“They’re getting back to their playful selves,” she continued, adding that its been “very heartbreaking and disturbing to see my kids be abused.”

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Eric Lieberman