‘It’s not play if you’re making money’: how Instagram and YouTube disrupted child labor laws
‘Kidfluencers’ are earning millions on social media, but who owns that money?
They open boxes, play with toys, pull pranks and make slime. They sing, they dance, and they remember their lines: “Subscribe to my channel!” Children are among the biggest stars of YouTube and Instagram, earning millions through influencer deals with blue chip brands or YouTube’s partner program, which gives creators a cut of ad revenues.
Where network television gave us Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, social media produced identical twins Alexis and Ava McClure. Macaulay Culkin’s million dollar mug has given way to the toothy grin of Ryan, a seven-year-old whose toy reviews made him the highest paid YouTube star of 2018. The child-of-actors niche once occupied by the likes of Drew Barrymore is now filled by starlets such as six-year-old Everleigh Rose, whose adorable antics are a key attraction to her parents’ massively popular YouTube vlogs.