By Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland)
Child social media influencers can earn as much as $100 per 1,000 followers, yet Pennsylvania does not have a law to protect them from exploitation. I’m working to change that.
Some of these online celebrities are as young as 2 years old and, no matter the age, the social media accounts, and likely the bank accounts, are run by their parents. Ryan Kaji, who is known for his Ryan’s World YouTube channel, was the site’s top money-getter in 2020 when he raked in just shy of $30 million. That same year, he made an additional $200 million through merchandise. He was just 9 years old at the time.
As you can imagine, there are opportunities for these children to be exploited, much like what we saw previously with underage television and film actors.
That is why I introduced legislation to put guardrails on working conditions and conduct of child influencers and content creators. Among other things, my bill will protect children who earn money as influencers and content-makers, or whose likeness, name or photograph is substantially featured in a parent or guardian’s content. These protections include requiring parents set aside a portion of the gross earnings earned from such content.
While I am normally one who believes government should stay out of private enterprise, I also firmly believe government does have a role to play in protecting children, especially when their labor may be exploited, their earnings taken and their futures put into jeopardy.
Representative Torren Ecker
193rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross