Parents lose custody over so-called 'pranks'

KUSA - A father and stepmother who typically post pictures of them making fun of their children are coming under fire -- so much so, they posted a different kind of video within the last week: they recorded an apology.

Mike and Heather Martin run the YouTube channel ‘DaddyOFive.’ The couple usually plays what they call ‘pranks’ on their children, which many say is abusive.

Several of the videos end up leaving one of their sons in tears.

Child and family therapist, Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, says it’s a bit of a stretch calling this behavior a prank because one of the little boys in the video ends up crying and is clearly distressed.

The couple issued an apology this week, after they lost custody of two of their children. Despite the children being removed from the home, it may be too late because of lasting effects. Ziegler says this kind of behavior can be really harmful to a child.

“A young boy of his age, who has been raised around this, he could become depressed, a bully, angry, isolated, feel not loved – or feel like a victim," Ziegler said. 

Some YouTube followers spoke up, saying the parents were verbally and physically abusive.

There’s even a change.org petition calling for Child Protective Services to take action against the family.

Dr. Ziegler says there may be an issue with consent as well – because in one of the videos the child says ‘stop recording me’ – and his wishes were not listened to.

No word yet if the parents are facing criminal charges. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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