So if you follow any parenting forums you’ve heard of the controversy around a YouTube Channel called Daddy of Five where parents prank their kids for laughs, except many of the pranks are downright mean and good parents across the country are up in arms over this potentially abusive situation. I read a lot of comment sections to get a feel for if there is a consensus on judgement on any situation that gets media scrutiny and parents seem really upset whether or not they agree that this is actual state intervention is necessary in this case. So since there seemed to be a consensus that these were horrible people that deserved at the very least to be banned from YouTube, I had to wonder, well who are their subscribers that watch this stuff and find it funny?
Let me start by saying when I saw the name of the channel pop up in an article, I recognized it. I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it though. As I clicked on an embedded video that showed a particularly horrible ‘prank’, Khev said, “Oh that’s Daddy of Five. I follow them, remember I showed you a video once.” It dawned on me then that most of Daddy of Five’s subscribers are probably mostly kids and teens. Which, when you think about it, is a little disappointing that kids are watching it and thinking, ok, this is something some families do for fun and it’s ok. It’s not ok to scare your kids into tears and have them slap the shit out of each other for fun. I certainly didn’t understand why my son would want to watch it so we talked.
“Why the hell do you want to spend limited screen time watching crap like this?”
“Because, it’s funny. A lot of my friends follow them. The pranks are all in good fun.” (Here I point to screen shots of the worst ‘pranks’.)
“Oh well yeah, except for that one. And that one. And that one. They’re not all that bad though.” (Insert ‘sigh’ here.)
“Would you want those things done to you? Would it be hilarious if I let your brother slap you in the face so hard it made you cry for a prank video that I then put on YouTube so thousands of people could laugh at you?”
“No!” (Duh, right?)
“These people are crappy parents. And you and your friends by following them, actively encourage them to continue these mean ‘pranks’. It says something about the kind of person you are, subscribing to these people, and it’s not good. Some of those videos made me feel uncomfortable and really bad for those kids.”
“Me too. I hadn’t thought about it like that. I hadn’t really thought about it at all.”
Later on that day he told me he’d unsubscribed, which was good but really I want him to think about why he subscribes to a particular channel and what would be the kind of thing that would make him unsubscribe. One lesson down, two hundred gazillion to go.