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Vlogger’s Arrest Ignites Discussion about Children’s Privacy

Franke has been charged with 8 counts of child abuse.

With the recent arrest of family vlogger Ruby Franke, a polarizing issue has been reopened about the harm that follows sharing one’s personal life in an online setting. Franke’s Youtube channel 8 Passengers at its peak racked over 2 million subscribers and even more viewers, the channel’s purpose was to document the lives of her family of 8. Franke frequently shared parenting advice with her audience and has received backlash over the years for her more extreme approach and methods of discipline. 


   Many viewers have expressed concern over the safety and emotional well-being of her children due to what she has shared publicly. In her videos, Franke would often include details about the personal lives of her family. Some incidents began to raise alarm, such as when Ruby received a call from her six-year-old daughter’s school informing the mother that her child didn’t have lunch, Franke simply brushed it off saying that it was her daughter’s responsibility to pack her own lunch and she would have to be hungry to learn. Incidents of Ruby’s more authoritarian methods continued to concern viewers, like when she playfully recalled her eldest son Chad having his bedroom privileges revoked simply because he played a prank on his little brother. The 16 year-old boy had been “sleeping on a bean bag for months.” 


 Franke is currently charged with six counts of felony child abuse following the discovery of one of her children malnourished and wounded who fled their home seeking safety. She is facing a possible life sentence as well as a fine of up to $60,000. The irony is not lost on anyone, a woman whose whole job is to give parenting advice and influence her followers on how to raise children, is a convicted child abuser. In the past several years there has been a rise of these so called vloggers, individuals who film their daily lives and post it online for others to view. But how do you draw the line between real life and social media? What is the outcome of choosing to live your life on display for millions to see? Children like the 8 Passengers family who are raised on this type of online platform have no choice in the matter, as their parents exploit them and sacrifice their privacy for views.


The process of gaining an audience for families living in the spotlight has morphed with the rise of modern technology and social media use. Anyone can post a video now, but only in the past decade or so has this way of sharing content taken off. In 2008, TLC introduced us to the Duggars, a family of 16 at the time. 19 Kids and Counting was a popular reality tv show that followed Jim and Michelle Duggar’s lives as hard working parents, with the focus on their many children. The show aired for 7 years, but was canceled in 2015 following sexual abuse allegations against the eldest son Josh on behalf of four of his own sisters and their babysitter.

Many of the Duggar children have opened up about their negative experience growing up in the public eye and the impact of their private lives being broadcasted from an early age.


When children are raised in these unstable environments it can have detrimental effects on them. Many of these families have strained relationships due to a distrust between the parents and children. This is created by the lack of privacy given to the children, having their personal information and monumental experiences on display for whomever to view. It is irresponsible on the parents behalf to put their children in this position, especially since they have no choice but to oblige. To prevent these atrocities from continuing there must be laws in place that ensure children cannot have their lives publicized at such a young age, regardless of any parental consent. 

Every child deserves to be raised in a safe, stable environment where they can grow and experience adolescence through the lens of the real world.

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About the Contributor
Alison Walker
Alison Walker, Editor
Alison Walker is a sophomore at UHS and this is her second year on the staff and her first year as an editor at The Torch. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, watching Gilmore girls, and hanging out with Cricket. 
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