“The rise of social media has given children new opportunities to earn a profit,” State Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria) said in a press release, according to Time. “Many parents have taken this opportunity to pocket the money while making their children continue to work in these digital environments.”
The law will go into effect on July 1, 2024. It requires parents of child influencers under 16 to set aside a percentage of earnings based on how often they appear in video blogs or online content created in the state. It must also feature children in at least 30% of the content in 30 days.
If earnings aren’t set aside in a fund accessible when the child turns 18, they can sue.
“The internet provides more opportunities for children to display their creativity than ever before,” Alex Gough, a spokesperson for Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, said in a statement, according to Teen Vogue. “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.”
The law was introduced to legislators by 16-year-old Shreya Nallamothu. After being assigned a school project, she researched the lack of legal protections for child influencers.
“I realized that there’s a lot of exploitation that can happen within the world of ‘kidfluencing,'” Nallamothu told Time. “And I realized that there was absolutely zero legislation to protect them.”
The issue was eventually brought to Sen. Koehler’s attention and immediately resonated with his staff members.
“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.”
Experts are hoping the law will lead to new legislation in other states. Although this may be a step in that direction, recent changes made to loosen child labor laws have occurred across the country. Iowa recently allowed teenagers to work more jobs and longer hours, while Arkansas eliminated permits requiring employers to verify a child’s age and a parent’s consent.