Recently, a growing number of “influencer” families have taken advantage of the massive gains available through collaborating with brands and posting content on social media. Instagram and Youtube are the primary platforms hosting this content, but youtube in particular provides an option to monetize posts through selling ads on videos. Companies featured in the ads pay, on average, 10-30 cents per 30 second viewing or click; this revenue is then split between youtube (45%) and the creator (55%). This translates to brands saving millions through ditching traditional forms of advertising, influencers profiting massively in minutes, and youtube reaping the benefits of all of this. Although instagram does not provide a means of monetizing posts through including advertisements, likes and views generate profit, and when considering that some influencers have over a million followers, these accrued benefits become far from modest.
However, there is an evident controversy when considering that many of these influencers are under the age of 13 and did not choose to be influencers. Some families with a strong following have new kids that are born into the influencer industry, meaning their parents begin sharing their lives with the world from birth, essentially. Taytum and Oakley, two three-year-old twins who have over 3 million instagram followers, just had a baby sister born a half a year ago who already has 596k followers. The baby sister, like the girls, is already being dressed up in brand name clothing, generating even more money for their family business. Critics have claimed that parents of kid influencers are putting their children through child labor, and further, that they are putting them in danger through sharing their private lives with the world. This is where kid influencers on social media differ from child actors/actresses: instead of performing an act to pretend to be someone on a show, the show is the kid. Parents retaliate in saying that it’s a family endeavor, that their kids are having fun, and that the profits are being spent on the children or stored away in their savings. Until regulations catch up with this new and rising industry, which is projected to be worth 15 billion by 2022, there seem to be virtually no obstacles and very few rules standing in the way of parents collecting massive gains from sharing their children’s lives with the public.