Illinois law makes parents pay child influencers

Child influencers can make bank. Illinois is making sure they see some of that cash.

The egg crack challenge has “momfluencers” smashing eggs on their kids’ heads. Some children seem perplexed or amused; others break down in tears, sparking heated debate.

child in front of a computer

Since the advent of the internet, parents have been exploiting their kids for likes. Now, they’re gonna have to pay up in Illinois.

No child works for free

Because children under 13 aren’t permitted to have social media accounts — nor can they open bank accounts or sign sponsorship contracts — parents typically run the show.

Illinois’ changes to its Child Labor Law will allow people 18+ to sue if they weren’t properly compensated for content they appeared in as children, per CNN.

  • Qualifying content must earn at least 10 cents per view, and the child must appear in at least 30% of the account’s content over a 30-day period.
  • Parents must put 50% of earnings into a trust fund based on the percentage of time the child appears in the video.
  • So, if a child appeared in 50% of a video, they’d receive 25% of earnings.

States including California and Washington have proposed similar laws, but Illinois is the first. Some states do have laws to protect child actors, like California’s Coogan Law.

Child influencing can be lucrative

  • Eleven-year-old YouTuber Ryan Kaji earned his family $25m+ in 2020.
  • Twin toddlers Taytum and Oakley Fisher earn $10k-$20k per sponsored post, per The New York Times.

But it can also be harmful

A psychiatrist told Newsweek that embarrassing your children online can negatively impact their mental health. (This was in an article about parents throwing cheese on their kids, BTW.)

Teen Vogue interviewed a teen whose entire childhood was posted online. When she expressed wanting to stop, her parents claimed they’d have to sell their house and wouldn’t have money for “nice things.” She is waiting to turn 18 to speak out and may go no-contact with her parents.

Fun fact: Coogan Law is named for Jackie Coogan, who sued his mother for squandering his earnings from his childhood acting career. Later in life, Coogan played Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family.”

Topics: Influencers

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