Illinois Passes First Ever U.S. Law Protecting Children Of Influencers

Many people are so desperate to go viral online that there are no lengths they won’t go to in order to achieve it. Influencers (and wannabe influencers) will stage fights, fake marriage proposals, or outright lie about major parts of their lives for views. Others will use their children to bolster their following, exploiting kids who have no say in whether or not they appear in these photos and videos. Now, Illinois plans to change that last part and do something to protect child influencers in the state.

  1. The Illinois Senate made a historic vote in March 2023. Senate members unanimously voted through a bill that officially became a law on August 11. The legislation will “entitle influencers under the age of 16 to a percentage of the earnings based on how often they appear on video blogs or online content,” per AP.
  2. The kids won’t be handed the money right away. Giving a 12-year-old buku bucks if obviously not a smart decision, which is why the law adds that all funds be held in a trust that can be accessed once the child turns 18. Smart.
  3. This is the first law of its kind. There is no other law in any of the other 49 states that aims to protect influencers at present. That means parents are free to exploit their kids for financial gain and the kids get no say — and no payoff.
  4. Illinois lawmakers believe kids deserve to profit in this situation as well. In a statement to Teen Vogue, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker spokesperson Alex Gough said: “The internet provides more opportunities for children to display their creativity than ever before. In the event that minors are able to profit from that creativity, they deserve to be shielded from parents who would attempt to take advantage of their child’s talents and use them for their own financial gain.”
  5. The bill was first introduced thanks to a teenager. An independent study project at school made 16-year-old Shreya Nallamothu realize that kids in this situation aren’t being protected against greedy parents. “I was like, I’m just going to shoot my shot,” she said. “I don’t really know what I’m doing, but we’re going to see where this ends up.”
  6. Nallamothu got in touch with Sen. David Koehler. He was really excited by the teenager’s letter as it showcased how passionate the younger generation is to make a change. “The younger the staff member, the more important this was to them,” he told Teen Vogue. “I wasn’t really aware of [this issue] until it was brought to my attention
  7. There was another part of the initial bill that was eventually removed. It was hoped that there could be a section of the bill that would require the parent to delete content featuring their child if the child requested it. However, Sen. Koehler admitted that there would be no meaningful way to enforce it, so it was eventually taken out of the legislation. However, they hope to look into it again in future.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill