Illinois Passes New Law to Protect Earnings of Child Social Media Stars

Illinois Passes New Law to Protect Earnings of Child Social Media Stars_ 2 kid's hands manipulation phone

Dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, peo­ple spent more time indoors uti­liz­ing dig­i­tal enter­tain­ment like social media. This led to a rise in the pop­u­lar­i­ty of plat­forms like Tik­Tok where many users, includ­ing chil­dren, gained noto­ri­ety as influencers.

While social media influ­encer careers can be finan­cial­ly lucra­tive, espe­cial­ly at a young age, con­cerns have been raised about pro­tect­ing minors in these roles. Some argue par­ents may take advan­tage of their child’s online earn­ings with­out their consent.

To address this issue, Illi­nois became the first state to pass leg­is­la­tion estab­lish­ing new guide­lines. The bill, which was unan­i­mous­ly approved by the state Sen­ate in March 2022, aims to safe­guard the finan­cial inter­ests of social media stars under 16 years old.

As out­lined in the new law, child influ­encers who appear in at least 30% of con­tent over a 30-day peri­od and gen­er­ate 10 cents or more per video view will be enti­tled to a por­tion of the earn­ings. This mon­ey must be set aside in a trust fund acces­si­ble to the child upon turn­ing 18.

The reg­u­la­tions only apply if the con­tent is cre­at­ed with­in Illi­nois. Sup­port­ers see it as a rea­son­able way to ensure fair com­pen­sa­tion and pre­vent exploita­tion of minors in the evolv­ing influ­encer indus­try space.

The bill gained momen­tum due to the advo­ca­cy of teenag­er Shreya Nal­lamothu, who stud­ied the issue for a school project. After con­sult­ing with her advi­sor, she suc­cess­ful­ly lob­bied state leg­is­la­tors to address the issue.

By estab­lish­ing clear para­me­ters around child influ­encer pay, the new statute aims to pro­tect young social media per­son­al­i­ties’ finan­cial inter­ests while allow­ing their cre­ative tal­ents to be shared online. Only time will tell if oth­er juris­dic­tions fol­low Illi­nois’ mod­er­ate approach to reg­u­lat­ing this com­plex issue.

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