When family-friendly gets dark: DaddyOFive and the dark side of family-friendly YouTube content – Entertainment

Stewart Reynolds has watched his teen sons Owen and Gregor grow up to become popular digital content creators. But the patriarch of a whole family of vloggers says he always operates with a few key things in mind — including a principle that says anyone who doesn’t want to be on camera doesn’t have to be.

“There’s nothing worse than that cringey feeling [when watching a video and] thinking ‘I don’t know if everyone in this video wants to be in this video.’ That’s not our style,” the Stratford, Ont.-based man behind Brittlestar.

Secondly, he says he always works with the notion that “everything that you’re putting up on the internet is going to be archived and will show up somewhere. So when you’re deciding what to post online, think about it.”

Cute kids, family pranks, toy-unboxing videos: so-called family-friendly content is all over YouTube these days, but a recent scandal and allegations of child abuse against the parents behind a channel called DaddyOFive have unveiled troubling issues in the digital content creation community.

Maryland father Mike Martin and his wife Heather, who preside over a blended family of five kids, are at the epicentre of the latest explosive controversy.

Martin’s family-centric DaddyOFive channel — which racked up more than 750,000 subscribers and once featured hundreds of videos  — was recently called out by several prominent YouTubers for so-called “prank videos” that featured the couple berating their children with foul language, breaking the kids’ toys and encouraging the siblings to commit violence against one another. 

After a recent post ignited an online firestorm, Martin and his wife temporarily lost custody of the two youngest children to the biological mother.

The couple at first claimed their pranks had been staged, and dismissed their critics as people simply out to spark a YouTube drama.

But the backlash and instant notoriety eventually led them to remove their entire…

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