Did a Maryland couple harmlessly prank their children, or outrageously commit child abuse?
That's the question being asked of two parents who are now on the defensive after a recent joke recorded for a YouTube audience had their kids in tears.
In a video on the dad's YouTube channel, DaddyOFive, the mom can be seen holding a bottle of disappearing ink.
“I'm going to squirt it all over his carpet and start flipping out,” the mom, Heather, says in the video.
And that's exactly what she does, while screaming for her 10-year-old son, Cody.
“What the [expletive]!” she screams in the video.
“I didn't do that!” yells Cody.
As the boy insists he had nothing to do with the apparent inking on the carpet, the father joins in on the gag.
“Why did you do that?” demands Mike, the dad.
“I didn't do that! Mom and Dad, I didn't do that!” Cody maintains, as tears come to his eyes.
“You were up here too?” questions mom, while the father adds, “You did it, too! You both did it!”
By this point, both of the youngsters have broken down sobbing, shattered to be so falsely accused.
It was only after three minutes of torment that the parents finally reveal it's all a prank.
“We got you both! You were innocent bystanders,” says Heather.
“You just got owned," Mike adds. "It's just a prank, brah."
The kids were clearly not laughing, and neither was Mike's YouTube audience when he posted the video, even with the disclaimer, "No child was harmed in the making of this video."
"This video made me shudder," one comment read.
Another called it, "Mental abuse... Just as bad as physical abuse."
Mike earns his living making the YouTube videos. Heather is an accountant. They did not want their last names used.
Psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere told Inside Edition, “It may have been well-intentioned and maybe they thought it was funny, but I saw it as something that was very difficult for the kids to go through.
Turns out, the father has a history of pranking his kids, based on what Inside Edition found on the Daddy-O-Five YouTube channel.
But nothing prepared him for the reaction to his ink prank. Mike later posted a follow-up video to address who he called "the haters," and insisted his kids are fine.
“Are you guys OK?” Mike asks in the video.
“Yep,” they reply.
“Are you upset?” he asks.
“No,” they say.
The family strongly denies the children were abused in the incident.