Harness the Power of Social Media Influencers: Empowering Children to Seek Legal Redress against Parents

**Illinois Becomes First State to Ensure Compensation for Child Social Media Influencers**

Illinois has become the first state in the U.S. to pass a law that guarantees compensation for child social media influencers. The bill, sponsored by Sen. David Koehler of Peoria, will take effect on July 1, 2024. This groundbreaking legislation aims to protect child influencers and ensure that they receive financial compensation for their work on monetized online platforms.

**Child Influencers: New Opportunities and Exploitation Concerns**

The rise of social media has provided children with new opportunities to earn money. However, there have been cases where parents have taken advantage of their children’s digital work by pocketing the profits. Recognizing this issue, Sen. Koehler brought forth the legislation after being approached by a 15-year-old in his district.

Family vlogs, which often share intimate details and moments of children’s lives, have gained immense popularity. These vlogs can generate significant income through brand deals, but there are minimal regulations in place to protect the children involved. The lack of guidelines in the “sharenthood” industry can potentially harm children.

**Recognizing the Need for Regulations**

Many states already require parents to set aside earnings for child entertainers who work in traditional settings such as movies and television. However, Illinois’ new law marks the first specific measure to address the compensation of child social media influencers. Other states with a high number of family vloggers and social media influencers, such as California and New York, may consider implementing similar legislation in the future.

**Key Provisions of the Illinois Law**

The Illinois law ensures that child influencers receive a percentage of earnings based on their appearances in video blogs and online content that generate at least 10 cents per view. To qualify for compensation, the content must be created in Illinois, and the child must be featured in at least 30% of the content within a 30-day period.

Vloggers are now responsible for maintaining records of children’s appearances and must set aside their gross earnings in a trust account until the child reaches the age of 18. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in legal action by the child.

**Protecting Children’s Rights and Talents**

Children deserve to be protected from parents who exploit their talents for financial gain. Alex Gough, a spokesperson for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, emphasized the importance of shielding children from such exploitation. The law aims to create a safer environment for child influencers and ensure that their earnings are preserved for their future.

**Origin and Future Implications**

The inspiration for this legislation came from Shreya Nallamothu, a teenager who noticed the potential for exploitation within the world of “kidfluencing” three years ago. She realized that there were no regulations in place to protect child influencers and decided to take action.

Illinois has taken a significant step by passing this law, but other states have faced challenges in regulating the child influencer industry. Washington state, for example, faced obstacles in passing a bill aimed at protecting minors being monetized online.

There is hope that the Illinois law will inspire other states to implement similar measures. Chris McCarty, the founder of Quit Clicking Kids, an advocacy organization focused on protecting minors being monetized online, expressed optimism about the momentum generated by the Illinois legislation.

**Contrasting Approaches: Child Labor Laws**

While Illinois has taken steps to protect child influencers, some Republican-led states have loosened child labor laws to address workforce shortages. These divergent approaches highlight the varying priorities and concerns of different states regarding child labor regulations. For example, Iowa recently passed a law allowing teenagers to work more jobs and longer hours, while Arkansas eliminated permits that verified a child’s age and parental consent.

In conclusion, Illinois has emerged as a pioneer in ensuring compensation for child social media influencers. The new law aims to protect the rights and talents of child influencers and prevent exploitation within the “sharenthood” industry. By setting a precedent, Illinois may inspire other states to enact similar legislation, creating a safer environment for child influencers nationwide.

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