Child Social Media Stars in Illinois Gain Rights Against Parental Exploitation

A landmark move in digital culture saw Illinois taking a pioneering step towards the rights of child influencers on monetized platforms, such as TikTok and YouTube. Now, if these young stars aren’t compensated for their appearances in videos, they can take legal action against those responsible, often their parents.

Senate Bill SB1782, introduced by Democratic Sen. David Koehler, received unanimous support and was recently signed into law. Slated for implementation on July 1, 2024, this legislation will modify the state’s Child Labor Law, ensuring that influencers under the age of 16 are entitled to a portion of the income generated from the content they appear in.

There are stipulations, however. The content must be shot within Illinois, and “at least 30 percent of the influencer’s compensated video content produced within a 30-day timeframe should feature the minor’s likeness, name, or photograph.”

Given the surge of child influencer content, this law mandates those producing the content, primarily parents, to meticulously record appearances of children in the videos and the number of videos that garnered earnings. These earnings must then be reserved in a trust, accessible when the child reaches adulthood. Failure to comply gives the child the right to sue.

Sen. David Koehler commented on the new legislation, “With the boom of social media, children found avenues to generate income. Unfortunately, several instances have seen parents misusing this scope, compelling their children to work continuously in these online spheres without fair compensation.”

The genesis of this law can be credited to 16-year-old Shreya Nallamothu, who brought the exploitation in the ‘kidfluencing’ realm to Koehler’s notice. Drawing from her observations, Nallamothu highlighted the widespread practice where kids often feature in videos without any assurance of the revenue they help generate.

Backing the importance of the new legislation, Alex Gough, speaking on behalf of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, said, “Children and teens deserve protection against parents who might exploit their talents for personal monetary benefits.”

Although several states contemplate similar regulations, Illinois pioneered this domain. The world of family vlogging, which initially seemed innocuous, has lately come under scrutiny, with numerous instances highlighting ethical, safety, and exploitation concerns.

Advice for Parents:

As digital culture evolves, parents must be cautious and ethical in their approach:

  1. Informed Consent: Always ensure your child understands the content they’re participating in and are comfortable with it.
  2. Balance is Key: Do not compromise on their education, playtime, and personal development for online content.
  3. Transparency: Educate them about the financial aspects and ensure they are fairly compensated.
  4. Safety First: Protect their digital identity and ensure their online presence doesn’t make them vulnerable to cyber threats.
  5. Ethical Boundaries: Avoid oversharing personal details or exploiting emotional situations for views and likes.

As parents, we must protect and nurture our children, both offline and online. As the digital age presents new challenges, it’s essential to approach them with care and consideration.

Jennifer Wilkens

Jennifer has a degree in communications from Utah Valley University and enjoys writing business and financial news articles. She loves snowboarding and spending time with her two kids.

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