Back in the day, parents used to send their kids to camp to learn archery or canoeing. Nowadays, children are joining summer camps in droves to pursue their dreams of becoming professional creators. According to a 2023 Morning Consult poll, a whopping 57% of Gen Zers said they’d like to be an influencer if given the chance. Another 2019 Lego survey found that one-third of kids ages 8 to 12 listed “YouTuber” as their top career choice.
It’s no surprise that all these starry-eyed hopes are often exploited. For one, by the platforms and advertisers that use child star power to generate millions in profit. But also by the Instamoms and managers who know how lucrative raising a child star can be.
Just take a look at the rise of the family vlog genre over the past two decades. Some of the first creators to monetize their presence online were mommy bloggers. Since then, the practice of documenting family life has evolved to be a multi-million-dollar industry.
Yet, despite the participation and exploitation of children in the creator space, up until 2023, there were no laws protecting underage content creators in the United States. In 2023, Illinois passed the first-ever state-level law, SB 1782, to regulate the work of child social media stars. And now, one more state-level law might be coming to fruition.
On Jan. 30, the California State Senate passed Senate Bill 764, known as the “Child Content Creator Rights Act.” Democratic Senator Steve Padilla authored the bill. It intends to “ensure content creators under 18 earn fair financial benefits from the use of their image.”
“Social media has become so widespread in our lives that at the touch of a button, you can be in someone’s life more intimately than ever before,” Senator Padilla told Passionfruit. “As a result, children are having intimate moments of childhood exposed for profit. They deserve fair compensation for their part in their family’s financial success.”
The Child Content Creator Rights Act targets parents and guardians who are managing their children’s channels or featuring their children in their content. It does not target young teenage entrepreneurs who make money doing their own content.
Specifically, the bill requires any adult creator that features minors in 30% or more of their content (over a 30-day period) to set aside a “proportionate percentage of their earnings” into a trust. …