The number of children who earn money on YouTube or Instagram, for example, has almost tripled in recent years. At Influencer Agency we also see this trend, we get approached by a lot of moms (yes, mainly moms) that want their kids to become an influencer or they want to monetize the social media accounts of their kids.
We’re not only talking about high school kids, but also children that still go to primary school. In other words, they’re super young. Some even have a manager. More and more experts are concerned that being an influencer will have a negative effect on the children’s quality of life and wellbeing.
We see toddlers with hundreds of thousands of followers. Their mom or dad dresses them up nicely and as with older influencers content is posted to Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and other social media channels. Some of the little ones have partnerships with brands and we even know toddlers with their own clothing line.
An often heard argument is that the parents are exploiting their children to make money. Initially, this type of work will not immediately make you think of child labor, but if you look closely this can also be a form of child labor. Psychologists state that having a successful channel can be detrimental to the development of a young child and the money might create enormous pressure for the child. At a certain point you will earn less if you post less. Furthermore, the young influencer will derive your self-esteem from the number of views and the money you earn. A vlog is not a spontaneous movie, it’s work.
We do understand that these young influencers have millions of followers and therewith make millions of dollars. Look at these two, they’re just adorable.
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The French government is now the first in Europe to amend the law, especially for young influencers. Measures will apply to both parents and advertisers. For example, only 10 percent of the income may be paid out directly. Advertisers must apply for a permit. If they fail to do so, it can even lead to imprisonment.
Just as in almost any other country the US law hasn’t kept up regarding kid influencers. In this very interesting article regarding this subject: Companies make millions off kid influencers, and the law hasn’t kept up they accurately describe the issue “When kids go on set for TV or film there are a lot of rules. There are no rules yet for what you can do in the privacy of your own home.” This is something we see happening in a lot of countries. The digital world is changing super fast and governments aren’t keeping up with this rapid change.