Mothers know best — that is unless the mother is a YouTuber who teams up with her husband to monetize both their biological and adopted children’s presence on their YouTube channels and social media pages.
In a normal child custody dispute, the best interests of children are considered above all else. To determine what’s best for children, certain factors are considered. These include the parent’s relationship with the child, the quality of this relationship, and whether each parent can provide a stable, loving environment for the kiddo.
Courts are unlikely to immediately look into parents’ social media presence and follower count. But that might just change soon because of parents like the Phillippis.
“Sharenting” is not always a victimless crime
Nikki Phillippi is a vlogger (video blogger) with over one million subscribers on YouTube. Her videos, which combined have hundreds of millions of views, are mostly of her family doing things and of her singing and sharing things like “morning hacks.” She is just like thousands of YouTubers who are making money from telling people how to do things like put on makeup, improve one’s hair care routine, and pamper oneself. Nikki is also actively engaged in sharenting, or the raging phenomenon of parents publishing content about their children all over the internet.
That, in a nutshell, is how many many vloggers make money on YouTube. So, if you’re looking to watch videos of a thoroughly unremarkable person do incredibly banal things, then head over to Nikki’s channel.
On occasion, she also posts videos of herself with her husband Dan Philippi. They are happily married and happily sharenting on their respective YouTube channels about their family life. They were perfectly harmless until they posted a video of them discussing their plan to be like Brad and Angelina and adopt a child. But where Brad and Angelina were extremely private about their kids, the Phillippis view privacy as an affront to their brand.
Unlike Brangelina who are undergoing a divorce and settling a child custody dispute, Nikki and Dan are only dealing with adoption.
We feel that it’s important to point out the distinction between adoption and custody.
These two parenting concepts are similar yet completely different as both involve legal processes. Adoption involves legally making a child a permanent member of the family other than the child’s birth family. On the other hand, custody pertains to a person’s (i.e., a parent) or entity’s responsibility for the care of a child and the legal authority to consent on the child’s behalf.
The Phillippis have never had to deal with custody issues, but they have had to deal with adoption issues.
“Hashtag baby blur face”
This series of words may not make sense to you, but it does to the Philippis.
In a controversial YouTube video, the Phillippis announced that they were canceling plans to adopt a baby from Thailand. The couple, who claimed to be initially thrilled to adopt a baby, junked the plan when they found out that they wouldn’t be able to monetize the kid. Because of Thai laws, they would face legal troubles if they share footage of the child on social media within one year of adoption.
The Philippis also tried to adopt a baby from Korea but encountered a similar problem when the adoption agency discovered their considerable social media following.
The phrase “hashtag baby blur face” was thus born. According to Nikki, if they had pushed through with the adoption, they would have had to use that hashtag when posting videos in which the baby appears. That would not have been consistent with the couple’s brand of oversharenting.
So, like any sensible, business-minded lifestyle vloggers, they canceled the adoption plans.
This drew the ire of many people online, with some pointing out the deviousness of refusing to adopt a child after finding out that this child's photos or videos couldn't be used to generate money. Hashtag bad parenting.
Allegedly unfit to be dog parents, too
The couple also irked many when they posted a video of them saying they had to have their dog Bowser euthanized because it bit their son. They added that Bowser was also a menace to other dogs, including their other pooch.
There are other alternatives they could have taken when their dog misbehaved, such as involving Animal Control and putting the dog up for adoption. Instances where an aggressive pet causes household troubles require careful examination. But for them, it’s an occasion to post a video that infuriates the general public. The backlash resulted in a Change.org petition calling for the demonetization of their YouTube channel.
Here’s hoping that, should they decide to file for divorce, they consult a family attorney first before they post a heartfelt video about the end of their journey as family and lifestyle vloggers.
Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are local, experienced, and dedicated family law attorneys in Washington state. Consult us for your divorce, child custody, or child support case in the Evergreen state — call our offices in Renton or leave us a message.