New Illinois law requires influencers to pay their children if they’re featured in social media content

Law covers children under the age of 16 who are featured on-screen for more than 30% of videos

File photo: influencer on phone (Pexels)

A new law that went into effect on July 1 requires that children featured on social media be paid for their work.

The bill amends the state’s Child Labor law to include children who are featured on their parents’ or caregivers’ social media.

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

The law covers children under the age of 16 who are featured on-screen for more than 30% of videos on monetized online platforms, including video blogs. It requires that they are paid 50% of the profits based on the percentage of time they are featured. The adult who makes the videos will be required to set aside the gross earnings in a trust account within 30 days for the child to receive when they turn 18.

Besides coordinated dances and funny toddler comments, family vlogs nowadays may share intimate details of their children’s lives — grades, potty training, illnesses, misbehaviors, first periods — for countless strangers to view. Brand deals featuring the internet’s darlings can reap tens of thousands of dollars per video, but there are minimal regulations for the “sharenthood” industry, which experts say can cause serious harm to children.

Washington, Maryland and California are also considering versions of the law.

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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