child labor laws and vlogging

Child Labor in the Internet Era

In 1938, when child labor laws were enacted to protect kids from exploitation and harm by employers and parents, “family vloggers” didn’t exist yet.  Family vloggers are parents that create income-generating blogs and videos about their journey through parenthood, usually featuring their young children.  These children often have their most intimate childhood moments–from their first diaper change, to their first day of school, to their tearful last goodbyes to family pets–broadcast to the world.  While the parent rakes in profit from sharing these videos, the children are left with little to no compensation.

Family vloggers rose to prominence in a time of uncertainty and change in the area of child labor.  The Department of Labor reports that instances of child labor were high last year, lending credence to the concern stemming from the flood of viral news stories that shed light on United States-based companies engaging in child labor law violations. While major companies face lawsuits and criticism from consumers and labor advocates, some organizations have been pushing, with some success, to rollback general child labor laws at the state level. Such rollbacks could have lasting impacts: studies suggest that children that have experienced child labor are more likely than their peers to develop physical and mental health issues that can last a lifetime.  

Advocacy regarding child labor is an ongoing process on the other side, too.  Advocates like Chris McCarty, a teenager in Washington, have turned their focus to creating new protections for child workers to reflect the changing realities of child labor.  McCarty and other advocates are working towards creating limits on the amount of work that children can do in industries like family vlogging, as well as requirements for the child to keep a portion of the profits from videos that they’re featured in, and options for the child to destroy all content in which they were featured upon reaching adulthood.  These proposed changes would address concerns about exploitation, in instances where children are made to work without compensation. Equally importantly, they would address privacy, mental health, and safety concerns that occur when children are subjected to the public eye of the Internet.

In short, the children of family vloggers are growing up fast, and with them, labor laws must mature into a modern era or else risk failing those that need their protection the most.

About Forester Haynie

Forester Haynie takes minimum wage and FLSA violations very seriously. These violations happen because limitations within the law allow some employers to pay their employees below the federal minimum wage. Forester Haynie’s attorneys are dedicated to making sure that people are being lawfully compensated for their labor. More than $10 million have been recovered for pizza delivery drivers across the nation. Case settlements often take time, so you will have to be patient with us while we fight for you. Forester Haynie does not charge our clients any up front fees or case costs. Unlike many firms, we only get paid when you do.

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