Rob Kenney, dubbed ‘Internet Dad,’ uploads videos that teach children basic life skills such as tying a tie and baking a cake.
Rob Kenney’s father was never available to assist him with anything, but he desires to assist others in similar circumstances. Rob Kenney created the YouTube channel “Dad, how do I?” to provide both practical advice on home repairs and emotional support. Kenneth launched the channel but had no idea it would become so popular. Currently, he has 3,95 million subscribers.”I will do my best to provide useful, practical content to many basic tasks that everyone should know how to do,” he says of the channel. In addition to fixing things, the videos include storytime and even dad chats.
Kenney started the channel because he knows what it’s like to grow up without a father to teach him the ropes. According to The Washington Post, his mother was deemed unfit to parent when his parents divorced. She used alcohol as a coping mechanism for her anxiety and depression. This meant that he would be moving in with his father, who gained custody. His father soon had a girlfriend and disregarded his children. He would stock the children’s refrigerator with food for a week before leaving them. After more than a year, he informed the children that he would not be returning. “I’m done raising kids,” he declared. The 14-year-old Kenney was the seventh of eight siblings at the time.
Kenney moved in with his newlywed 23-year-old brother in a 280-square-foot trailer in Bellevue, Washington, after his father’s departure. His adolescence was marked by anger and confusion. Kenney swore he would never again subject his children to such suffering. He soon realized that he was not alone and that there were many children who lacked a father figure to help and guide them, as well as many who lacked a parental figure. He grew up and is now married to Annelli and the father of two children, Kyle Ponten, 26, and Kristine Ponten, 29. After having raised his children into adults, he felt somewhat lost.
Kenneth discussed starting a YouTube channel with his family, who were all supportive. Only during the coronavirus pandemic did he put his plans into action. His first video demonstrated how to tie a tie. Kenney gradually gained followers as a result of his free provision of essential life skills and his encouragement of viewers. Many who felt isolated due to the pandemic found solace in his videos and speaking style. His daughter believes that the pandemic was a major factor in his videos going viral. Ponten stated, “I don’t think it would’ve gone viral in another circumstance,” said Ponten. “It is definitely pandemic-specific regarding the beginnings of it.”
Kenney also enjoys keeping things light and casual. While many content creators encourage viewers to subscribe and like their videos, Kenney makes no such request. While he records and edits videos, his daughter manages his Facebook and Instagram pages. Ponten stated, “I genuinely think he was put on Earth to be a dad,” said Ponten. Kenney nearly had a panic attack the first time he went viral. The attention was new to Kenney, who’s an introvert. “It was terrifying,” he said. “At first, I didn’t look at it as a great thing.” He was dubbed the ‘Internet Dad.’ Kenney knows his channel isn’t just about fixing things and guiding viewers through DIY projects, but also connecting with them. “There’s so much more to being a dad or a mom than just fixing things,” he said. “You have to share your heart with your kids.”
His videos resonated with so many individuals. “My parents divorced when I was 15. I had to figure out how to tie my own tie and my mom taught me how to shave. Yes, I’m crying watching this. Thank you for being a Dad to so many kids. I’m 53 today, and I just wanted to say Thank You! And God bless you!!” wrote one person.