YouTube pranksters Daddyofive deny child abuse claims

Image caption Family prank channel Daddyofive has been accused of abusing their children

The parents behind YouTube channel Daddyofive have been accused of exploiting their children for the sake of their pranks.

One recent video, in which they swear at their youngest, sparked a backlash from viewers and YouTubers alike.

YouTuber Philip DeFranco, who has five million subscribers, criticised the parents for what he said was abuse.

Daddyofive's Mike Martin responded with a video in which the whole family pour scorn on the allegations.

But on Monday he also tweeted a statement saying the family had reviewed the concerns and discussed alternative ways to film videos in future.

'How am I abused?'

Videos on the Daddyofive channel, which has 759,000 subscribers, range from everyday vlogs to pranks of epic proportion - and the children are usually the ones being pranked.

The controversial video, published on 12 April, shows the parents pouring ink onto their youngest son Cody's bedroom floor and then blaming him for making the mess.

They swear at him angrily for making the mess and when he denies it, they accuse him of lying.

Cody then cries hysterically, along with his brother Alex, who is also being pranked.

Some of the comments under the video claim that the pranks are abuse, while others say that the parents are exploiting their children for sponsorship and money.

In the response video which addresses the criticism - called "blocking the haters" - the children strongly deny that any abuse has taken place.

One of the sons, Alex, says: "I'm upstairs playing my game right now; how am I abused?"

Claims of 'emotional abuse'

In his 14-minute video, mainly about the family, Philip DeFranco edited clips from a range of videos from Daddyofive to illustrate his points.

DeFranco said that the "invisible ink" prank started out "sweet" but then the tone changed.

The YouTuber also pointed out what he claimed was physical abuse from the parents in other videos: one included the dad Mike pushing Cody into a shelf and apparently causing him to bleed.

"Now is this child abuse? I would leave that up to child protective services," he says.

"If they've really been called and CPS have said they did nothing wrong - the pushing, the hitting the screaming, putting the kids in these situations, egging them on - if they saw all that, if they've seen all the other things I would personally label emotional abuse."

'We are a loving, close-knit family'

In a statement on Twitter, Daddyofive said: "We discussed different alternatives for our future videos and ways we can improve.

"We deeply apologise for your feelings of concern. We DO NOT condone child abuse in any way, shape, or form.

"As many of our friends and family would tell you, we are a loving, close-knit family."

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