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21st Aug 2023

New law created by 16-year-old to protect the children of influencers

Ellen Fitzpatrick

A new law has been introduced in Illinois to protect the rights of influencers with children who are featured in their content.

The state has passed a law that will require financial compensation for young social media influencers who are featured in any content that is monetised regardless of their role in the video.

Content creators are now required to set aside a portion of the earrings from any videos and posts which include names, photos or even stories involving a minor.

The percentage of earnings is then based on how much the minor features in the content and those who do not follow this can be hit with a lawsuit.

The law has been passed after 16-year-old Shreya Nallamothu, a junior in University High School, Illinois, pushed for changes to be made surrounding the children of influencers.

She said: “I definitely wanted to create policy and legislation around child influencers because I felt like Illinois could be kind of a trendsetter and a precedent-setter for this issue.”

Shreya wrote in a letter last year to state senator David Koehler that there needed to be protection for children being exploited online for views and monetary gain.

She said she disagreed with parents who are compromising the digital safety of their children and was willing to push the bill in order for protection to be implemented.

“I know that it’s not 100% perfect, and I wasn’t expecting that going into it,” she said. “But I didn’t want an obsession with it being perfect to stop real progress being made, because this is a first step and I’m just excited to see child influencing being legitimized and on the book”.

The law is set to come into effect in July 2024 and follows California’s Coogan Act, 1939, which protects the earnings of any child performer.

The law is not without its issues, however, as both compliance and legal action is up to individual families and does not protect children from their right to request that content is removed from the internet.