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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Family vloggers need to turn the camera off

Peyton McKenzie

With the popularity of certain social media outlets throughout the past decade or two, especially YouTube and TikTok, aspiring influencers have grasped on to whatever they can to have a chance at fame.

This includes parents who use their children to reach that goal.

There are children who have been in the spotlight since birth. Literally —-— -t-heir parents filmed them being born. Posie, Sunday and Zealand LaBrant, from the channel The LaBrant Fam, were all born on video. They don’t know what it’s like not to have a camera in their face throughout the day.

Even when they’re not physically in front of the camera, their parents are talking about their child’s business with all of the personal details.

I know how upset I get when my mom tells my family stuff about my personal life that I told her in confidence. It’s annoying. So I can’t imagine all of my business being told to thousands of viewers every day.

Recently, Ruby Franke, a mom and former family vlogger on YouTube was arrested and charged with six counts of felony child abuse.

Law enforcement reportedly found Franke’s 12-year-old son emaciated and with open wounds and duct tape on his wrists and ankles, after he had climbed out of a window and fled to a neighbor for help. Upon visting the home, Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was found in similar malnourished condition, according to NBC News.

For years, she filmed the ins and outs of her family on a channel called 8Passengers. She shared the most intimate moments of her children’s lives. She even blamed her daughter for her eating disorder and then claimed she was lying about having one.

The worst is that she and another mom, Jodi Hildebrandt, who held the same values, created a program for mental health counseling, titled “Connexions,” that also offers parenting advice. They preached cutting off those who don’t share your values and shame-based learning.

The LaBrant Fam were accused of having more kids to get more viewers. Together, the LaBrants have four biological children, and mother Savannah LaBrant has an additional child from a previous relationship.

The LaBrants titled a video in 2021, “She got diagnosed with cancer. (documentary.)” No one had cancer, their daughter had an asthma attack. In the description of the video, they even wrote, “This documentary explains the health scare we had with our little Posie.”

On TikTok, Jacquelyn Paul, the mother of 3-year-old Wren Eleanor, showed her daughter in clothes you would most likely see a teenager or young adult wear. The daughter was a toddler but was being sexualized by hundreds of older men on the app.

Users on TikTok, such as Bahbs Kirkpatrick, posted evidence in July 2022 of the comments that were sexualizing the child who was three years old at the time. Paul was aware of it, but made the same videos anyway because it was making her money. Her toddler daughter was being targeted by pedophiles, and she let it happen.

TikTok user STACEYCAKES even compiled evidence of men saying sexual things about the 3-year-old. These things included “She hot,” “Hear me out” and “can i be her daddy.” These comments were written about a toddler, with her mother aware.

Families like these make money off their kids. Viewers don’t watch for the parents, they watch for the kids. The more eventful their childrens’ lives, the more viewers they get. The more views, the more money.

So, they resort to dramatizing or even making up titles and stories to get more clicks. Kids can read comments. With internet fame comes internet bullies, harassment and even pedophiles. 

It’s awful to watch children be targeted because their parents are more concerned with making money than their childs’ safety and security. They have no privacy and they are going to grow up never knowing anything else.

Let’s be honest, it’s abuse. Their kids are a commodity in their eyes, so a lot of them choose to have more and more so that they can get more money. The LaBrants aren’t alone in this tactic. This method to grab views is used by other family vloggers such as the ACE Family and the Ballingers. Social media parents don’t look at their kids as kids, they view them as investments.

Parents calculate the titles and thumbnails of their videos so they can optimize their chance at views. What gets the most views? Births, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals and sad news. So they have more kids, use clickbait to make it look like something is wrong with them and alter the lives of everyone involved to get the most views possible.

What these parents should do is exactly what TikToker Maia Knight did. She originally showed her twin daughters’ faces until they were a little over a year old. She saw the dangerous people that were watching her videos and the creepy comments they were making. So, even though her views went down, she still doesn’t show her kids’ faces. She is a mom that is more concerned about her children’s safety than the views. That is the kind of parent all of these kids deserve.

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About the Contributors
Lillian Curtin, Associate Opinion Editor
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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