Koehler law aims to ensure child vloggers are accurately compensated

SPRINGFIELD – With the rise of social media influencing, all someone needs to reach fame now is a cell phone. While traditional child actors are protected by the Child Labor Law, there has been nothing on the books for young social media influencers until now, thanks to State Senator Dave Koehler.

“The rise of social media has given children new opportunities to earn a profit,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “Many parents have taken this opportunity to pocket the money, while making their children continue to work in these digital environments.”


Under Senate Bill 1782, minors under the age of 16 featured in vlogs or other online content are covered under the Child Labor Law. The measure calls for the child – also known as a “kidfluencer”— to be accurately compensated.


The idea for the legislation came from Shreya Nallamothu, a 15-year-old high school student in Koehler’s district. Shreya brought her proposal to Koehler with concerns that money made by child influencers is not protected and that too many young people will fall victim to a parent or guardian taking the assets for their own use.


“When scrolling on social media, I always saw young children and families, called family vlog channels, posting videos online. After finding that users could make money off of platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, I learned that, often, these kids are made to participate in videos without any guarantee of the income generated from the content,” said Shreya. “I wanted to work with Senator Koehler to protect the money that these kids have rightfully earned.”


According to CBS News, kidfluencers with one million followers can earn $10,000 or more per sponsored post. Young children are often featured in social media content without any guarantee of the income they have earned. Because of the age restrictions on online platforms, the content is not created in the child’s name, but rather the parent or guardian who runs the account. While traditional child actors in Illinois have the Child Labor Law to safeguard their earnings, there is nothing in place for kidfluencers. Thanks to Senator Koehler and Shreya, Illinois is now the first in the nation to protect child influencers and ensure they are appropriately compensated under the Child Labor Law.


“This new digital age has given us tremendous opportunities to connect with one another, but it’s also presented legal issues that have never existed before,” said Koehler. “We need to work with our children to see the problems they face and tackle them head-on before any further harm is done.”

Senate Bill 1782 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect July 1, 2024.