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Legislation Proposed To Regulate Social Media Child Influencers

Rep. Torren Ecker

Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) announced Thursday he will be introducing legislation to regulate social media child influencers and celebrities under Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Law.

“We always hear about the devastating later-life impact that childhood celebrity and wealth can have on those who experience fame early in life. Now, every parent or relative with a cellphone can work to make their children or relatives into social media celebrities that, without their consent, can deprive children of privacy, income from their work, and fair working conditions within the scope of current law,” Ecker said.

“As someone with an active social media presence and young children, I know there is a fine line between appropriate inclusion of young children on social media platforms and exploitation.”

According to his co-sponsorship memo, Ecker’s legislation will protect children under Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Law who earn money as influencers and content-makers or whose likeness, name, or photograph is substantially featured in a parent or guardian’s content that generates income for the parent.

Some childhood social media influencers make over $50 million per year.

In Act 151 of 2012, the General Assembly made major revisions to child labor laws and took steps to prevent the financial exploitation of children who participated in reality and documentary programs.  These 2012 revisions expanded upon the protections previously provided for children engaged in artistic performances and modeling.

“The media landscape has shifted to include short-length videos posted on video sharing and social media websites,” said Ecker about the last decade. “Our child labor laws must keep up.

“While I normally believe government should take a hands-off approach to regulating private business, protecting children from exploitation is of paramount importance in any society,” Ecker said. “We must make sure that we are putting children in the best possible position to have healthy and successful lives.”


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