Children Are Making It Big (For Everyone Else): The Need For Child Labor Laws Protecting Child Influencers

23 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2023 Last revised: 26 Sep 2023

See all articles by Madyson Edwards

Madyson Edwards

Texas Tech University, School of Law

Date Written: February 8, 2023

Abstract

Child influencers, children with large social media followings, are a large part of social media’s advertising success. Child influencers earn millions each year, with the most successful of them earning upwards of $29 million. They make their money from sponsored content and monetizing their social media platforms. Currently, child influencers have no legal rights through traditional child labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or state-based child actor laws. As a result, the risk of financial, physical, and psychological exploitation of child influencers is immediate. Because of the immediacy and growing nature of child influencers and the lack of regulation or legislation to prevent the exploitation of these children, Congress needs to enact federal legislation to ensure the safety of children across the nation.

This Comment addresses the fact that child influencers are working and should thus be afforded protection through a child labor regime. Additionally, this Comment details how child actors face their own unique risks—apart from other traditional child employment—which requires their own tailored laws. Specifically, this Comment proposes federal legislation that would help to solve possible financial exploitation by requiring 15% of child influencer earnings to be put into a trust account, similar to a Coogan trust (which protects child actor’s earnings in California). Further, the proposed legislation provides production regulations that will ensure that child influencers remain in school (whether traditional in-person schooling or homeschooling), imposes restrictions on the number of hours child influencers can work, and requires that if a child influencer is working on advertisement campaigns outside of the home, that parents must be allowed to accompany their child throughout all stages of the process.

Keywords: Child influencers, child labor laws, social media, influencer, Coogan, kidfluencer

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Madyson, Children Are Making It Big (For Everyone Else): The Need For Child Labor Laws Protecting Child Influencers (February 8, 2023). UCLA Entertainment Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4351827 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4351827

Madyson Edwards (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University, School of Law ( email )

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