In a landmark move, Illinois has become the inaugural state in America to legislate the fair remuneration of child influencers on social media platforms.
The law, slated to take effect on July 1, 2024, was spearheaded by Senator David Koehler from Peoria.
The Senator pointed out the growing phenomenon of minors leveraging social media for financial gains, while also raising the issue of parents misappropriating these earnings.
The law aims to protect minors under the age of 16 who are active on revenue-generating online platforms, such as video blogs. Interestingly, the idea for this legislative action came from a 15-year-old resident in Koehler’s district.
In today’s digital landscape, family-oriented video blogs often delve into the personal lives of children, discussing everything from school performance to health issues. These videos, which sometimes secure brand sponsorships, can be lucrative.
Yet, the absence of regulatory oversight in this emerging “sharenthood” industry poses risks to the well-being of the young stars. For instance, popular TikToker Bobbi Althoff has chosen to stop featuring her daughter in sponsored posts due to privacy considerations.
While existing laws in several states already safeguard the earnings of child performers in traditional media, Illinois is pioneering in extending these protections to minors active on social media.
Landon Jacquinot, an expert on child labor laws at the National Conference of State Legislatures, expects similar legislative efforts to follow in states with a high concentration of family vloggers, such as California and New York.
According to the Illinois law, child influencers are entitled to a share of the revenue, calculated based on the frequency of their appearances in videos that garner at least 10 cents per view.
To qualify, the content must originate in Illinois, and the child must appear in a minimum of 30% of the total content over a one-month period.
Content creators are responsible for maintaining accurate records and must allocate the child’s earnings into a trust fund, accessible when they turn 18.
The legislation was set into motion by Shreya Nallamothu, a teenager who became aware of the potential for exploitation in the world of “kidfluencing.” She specified that the law is designed to regulate families whose primary source of income comes from child and family vlogging.
The legislation enjoyed bipartisan backing in Illinois and was enacted in May. Efforts to regulate the child influencer industry have been less fruitful in other Democratic-led states, while some Republican states have eased child labor laws to mitigate workforce shortages.
Adapted from Associated Press.