The ethical considerations surrounding family channels have sparked ongoing debates in online communities. Discussions revolve around the ethics of documenting young children’s lives without their consent, often using their significant life events as content for public consumption.
In a similar vein, a couple of parents encountered backlash for creating content around their child’s report card in 2020, while channels like the Ace Family have faced criticism for comparable situations in the past.
Another family channel now finds itself under intense scrutiny as the mother, Ruby Franke, faces allegations of child abuse and has subsequently been arrested.
Ruby Franke, aged 41, is the mother of six children: Shari, Chad, Abby, Julie, Russell, and Eve. Ruby and her husband, Kevin Franke, who are both Mormons, established their family channel ‘8 Passengers’ in 2015, a channel that has since been deleted.
‘8 Passengers’ offered viewers insights into the daily life of the Franke family and garnered over 2.3 million subscribers before doubts began to arise surrounding their activities around 2020.
During this period, concerns surfaced about Ruby and Kevin Franke’s treatment of their children. The initial criticism was ignited when their son disclosed that his bedroom had been taken away for seven months as a consequence of a prank on his younger sibling. This resulted in him having to sleep on a beanbag for almost half a year.
Over time, the family’s posting frequency declined, and allegations of mistreatment within the Franke household surfaced. The couple became closely associated with ConneXions, a family counseling service, where they dispensed parenting advice that many perceived as abusive.
In one of ConneXions’ videos, they purportedly shared that they withdrew their children from school and withheld Christmas gifts as punishment for “selfish behavior.”
On August 30, 2023, reports emerged that Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt, the founder of ConneXions, were arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse, with two counts each. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office stated that they were apprehended for “intentionally or knowingly committing aggravated child abuse.”
NBC news reported that the arrest was prompted by a child escaping from a residence in Ivins, Utah, seeking help from a neighbor. The child was found malnourished and bearing open wounds, with duct tape used to bind their extremities. Another child in a similar condition was also discovered in the same residence, which belonged to Jodi Hildebrandt.
Following the arrests, Shari Franke, aged 20, used her Instagram account to share several statements about the situation. Notably, she posted an image of a police car and an officer, along with the caption “Finally.”