Hundreds of thousands of users post videos on YouTube. Many do it with the idea of telling their projects or ideas to the world, while others come wanting to get rich along the way. Of the latter there are fewer, but they capture most of the total reproductions. Since its inception, minors have starred in an endless list of different YouTube channels, which has democratized the phenomenon of "child actors".
Given this possibility, multiple families around the world have decided to choose to share their experiences, experiences and challenges with the public with the world. The vast majority without major problems, but sometimes, this "youtuber dream" becomes a nightmare for minors.
"One of the children reported to the agents that they had not allowed him to eat in two days, and how his adoptive mother sprayed them with spying pepper spray
In recent years, numerous cases have been made public in which parents or legal guardians pressured their children to record more videos. The abuses occurred both in front of the cameras and when they were off. They did it in the form of heavy jokes that were recorded to create a show that attracted more audience, or as constant pressures to record more videos or for longer.
One of the most recent cases took place in Arizona, USA. The channel "Fantastic Adventures" ("Fantastic Adventures"), created by 48-year-old Machelle Hackney, had obtained more than 800,000 subscribers when it was stopped by the police. The state security forces accused her of having kept her seven adopted children in totally inadequate conditions. "The children looked like undernourished, underweight, dehydration symptoms," reported the American press after the arrest. "One of the children reported to the agents that they had not allowed him to eat in two days."
In successive interviews with social services, the children described a more terrifying scene. They reported being sprayed with pepper sprays on faces and body, including on the genitals, being punished locked in the closet for days on end. The adoptive mother also was accused by several of the minors of introducing the head to them under the water in the bathtub if they complained that the water was cold. The police also arrested the two biological children of Machelle Hackney, Ryan and Logan, of legal age, for not reporting the scenes of constant abuse.
Since news of Hackney's arrest surfaced, YouTube took two days to cancel the channel, eliminating it forever from its catalog of available videos. The case of "Fantastic Adventures" has been the case with the highest profile recently. In 2017 and 2018, the case of the Martin family was even more mediatic, and took place in a more public and apparent way, with many of the abuses occurring in front of the cameras remaining public in the videos.
YouTube formula does not adapt well to all families, who see in children a resource to exploit to get more income
Mike Martin had accumulated more than 750,000 subscribers on his family channel "DaddyOFive" ("Dad of five") from 2015 until it was closed in July 2018. Martin's channel description read: "We as a family decided to create this channel to have fun. " In it, in several videos a week, the daily life of the Martin family was related: the parents, Mike and Heather, and their five children from previous marriages. Mike lost custody of his two biological children in favor of his biological mother.
In the videos it was clear to the parents to play heavy jokes on the minors, or even to encourage the minors to fight among themselves. The blows, the wounds and the desolate cries were common protagonists in the videos. The channel accumulated more than 175 million reproductions. This hearing could have generated huge profits for the Martin family, although the figures were never disclosed. Different estimates, they calculate the total income obtained during those years between 700,000 and one million dollars.
Different media and other YouTube channels publicly denounced what happened in the videos of the Martin family, until the local US Attorney's office in Maryland. He took action in the first half of 2017. In September 2017, a judge decided to sentence the parents to five years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to the charges. The Martin family returned to YouTube to post an apology video, and created a second channel "MommyOFive" ("Mom of five") while they were on probation, which was removed a few months later for violating YouTube terms.
The Martin family has not surrendered. His videos are now available on a private website at a subscription price of five dollars a month, although they do not say how many customers have paying to see them. They also publish videos on Twitch, an Amazon-owned website where they broadcast their games live.