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The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

Paw Print

The Student News Site of Coral Springs Charter School

Paw Print

Exploiting innocence : The dark side of social media parenting

R. Taveras
Ruby Franke and her children posing for a picture. This family is known for their infamous YouTube channel “8 Passengers” in which she was exposed for the exploitation of her children.

On August 30, 2023, Ruby Franke was arrested in Washington County and charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse. These counts were based on her reported behavior towards her children for the reasoning of a Family Vlogging youtube channel called “8 Passengers.”This is just one of countless Family Vloggers who have used their children’s innocence for fame and monetary purposes.

According to the Associated Press, “Under Utah law, second-degree aggravated child abuse can be charged if that person knowingly or intentionally inflicts serious physical injury to a child or causes or permits another to inflict serious physical injury to their child. ‘Each charge,’ in which Ruby pled to 4, “carries a sentence of one to 15 years in prison.”

What is so bad about the vloggers?

These family vloggers aren’t just controversial because of the filming of their children, but because of the means in which they get their children to agree to filming. What makes family vlogger accounts so interesting and popular is the children. If the account was simply the parents, no one would care to watch. This puts an extreme amount of stress on the kids as they are just that: children.

For example, Ruby Franke would torture her son from May 22nd to August 30th by forcing him into hours of physical tasks which resulted in malnourishment and dehydration along with severe burns.

In 2017, another Youtube channel by the name “DaddyOFive” sparked a controversy when people noticed the abuse of his children in his content. Mike, the father of the family and owner of the account, published a video in which he “pranked” his son for spilling ink on a carpet. After the child cried and pleaded that he was not responsible for the ink, Mike continued to yell and attack his son.

Why don’t the kids tell their parents to stop or try to run?

Children will simply be children. They do not understand that they support their parents’ income and simply just want to play with toys. While children are in their youth, they trust their parents and look up to them, listening to their every word. These children are sometimes convinced that what is being done to them is an act of love, and they have no questions about it as they know not of the life that most families live.

Some parents are just outright abusive and will hurt the child if they try to get away. When Ruby Franke’s son tried to run away in July of 2023, Ruby regularly would bound him, sometimes with handcuffs, by the hands and feet.

Is the situation the issue, or the principle of the situation?

The principle of Family Vloggers could be viewed as worse, depending on what the specific situation is. When a child is being abused and tormented for content, the situation itself becomes the issue. When a child is forced to do “reviews” on different toys and games for content and threatened when they say no, the principle becomes the issue.

The fact that children under the age of 14 are also being forced onto these social media platforms without knowing better is also extremely unethical. These parents create a false reality that what they do is normal and completely acceptable from society, when in reality, it is not.

These children are technically working and providing an income for their families, so why are they doing these tasks way younger than the legal working age in, for example, the United States. The content made by these toddlers in some instances should be reported and taken down as they are being used for the monetary gain of the parents. Social media families and influencers are something we all know too well as part of our childhood experience, however, were they able to have a childhood?

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About the Contributor
Roger Taveras
Roger Taveras, Staff Writer
Roger Taveras is a freshman. He likes to do theatre and participate in after-school actives that involve the fine arts. He wants to join DECA, go swimming, and bake with his family.

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