holmes vlogger 081123Young vloggers gain protections child actors achieved over past 80 years

SPRINGFIELD — Social media content has surged in the past decade, with many posts featuring influencers who promote themselves and commercial products on behalf of advertisers. Although a growing portion of that content features children, there were no laws protecting minors’ rights. Thanks to legislation led by State Senators Linda Holmes and Dave Koehler, Illinois is the first state to protect child influencers’ earnings.

“Our role as legislators is to ensure our labor laws reflect advances in technology and the economy, including the work of children and teens,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “In this digital age, parents should not profit off their children’s work, as was established for film and television in the years before YouTube or TikTok existed.”

According to CBS News, young influencers — also known as “kidfluencers” — with one million followers can earn $10,000 or more per sponsored post. Because of the age restrictions on online platforms, the content is not created in the child's name but rather the parent or guardian who runs the account. While traditional child actors in Illinois have the Child Labor Law to safeguard their earnings, there is nothing in place for kidfluencers.

Senate Bill 1782 amends the Child Labor Law to cover minors under 16 featured in vlogs or other online content. The measure requires parents to set aside a portion of the revenue generated by their online content into a trust the child can access once they turn 18. The legislation was inspired by Shreya Nallamothu, a high school student from Koehler’s district who brought her concerns to Holmes and Koehler about how child influencers’ compensation could fall victim to a parent or guardian taking the assets.

“I’m grateful my friend Dave Koehler and I teamed up on this measure to ensure young people aren’t exploited in any employment scenario,” said Holmes. “Knowing there are teens like Shreya taking interest and action in public policy to safeguard kids gives me hope for the future.”

Senate Bill 1782 was signed into law today and will take effect July 1, 2024.