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Illinois Law: Child Influencers Can Sue Over Unpaid Earnings Next Year

August 16, 2023 | By Kali Girl

A groundbreaking legislation championed by Senator David Koehler of Peoria has been signed into law, marking a significant step.

AP News reports, starting from July 1, 2024, this new law ensures that young social media influencers under 16 years old are fairly remunerated for their content on monetized online platforms, encompassing video blogs (commonly referred to as vlogs).

“The rise of social media has given children new opportunities to earn a profit,” Koehler said in an emailed press release after the bill was signed Friday afternoon. “Many parents have taken this opportunity to pocket the money, while making their children continue to work in these digital environments.”

The inspiration for this law emerged from a 15-year-old residing within Senator Koehler’s district, highlighting the proactive approach Illinois has taken in safeguarding the rights of youthful online creators.

“In the world of family vlogs, beyond the entertaining choreography and adorable kids’ quips, parents now reveal deeply personal aspects of their children’s lives to a vast online audience.

From school grades and potty-training progress to health struggles, misbehavior, and even sensitive milestones like a child’s first period – are all open for strangers to watch.

These popular online families can earn substantial sums, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars per video, through brand partnerships.

However, the largely unregulated realm of “sharenthood” has raised concerns among experts, who emphasize the potential harm it poses to children.

While various states already impose regulations requiring parents to set aside earnings for child performers engaged in conventional platforms like movies and television, this law marks the first targeted effort to encompass the burgeoning world of social media influencers.

“We could see other states looking into doing something similar, especially in states that have a high volume of family vloggers and social media influencers,” such as California and New York, said Landon Jacquinot, who tracks child labor legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“It’s kind of a new world.”

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