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Are Influencer Kids Safe From Exploitation?

The smiles in front of the camera don't tell the whole story.

BY Agnes Amondi

Mar 14, 2023, 11:52 AM

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I came across an article on Teen Vogue about influencer parents who ‘steal’ their children’s childhoods and coerce them to make content. The parents in this particular story even resigned from their jobs to boss over their child as they realised that the money the kid is generating from YouTube can sustain the home. 

This girl who shared her story anonymously is planning to go silent on her parents after she turns 18 and moves out. She feels robbed of her childhood and has been forced to take on parental roles of feeding the family. She was probably doing YouTube for fun and then her parents’ greed and laziness saw this as a chance to step off the gas and pressure her into making more and more content.

The rise of influencer parents and kids caught a wave worldwide and even here, we know kids who are already in the spotlight and influencing various brands. Whilst we admire them for everything, there are obvious dangers that come with this. 

We’ve not heard of any cases of exploitation here and we hope things will stay that way. One of the biggest questions around social media and parenting has always been ‘to post or not to post’. So let’s start from there.  

To Post Or Not To Post?

Social media is flooded with numerous videos of kids who’ve just been born. We get to see their first yawn and should the parents wish to continue providing updates, we are given an inside look at nearly everything, some parents restrain some information but for others, the more the better so we literally grow with the child. These kinds of videos gunner a lot of views because babies are just too cute to ignore

On the flip side, some celebrities to go great lengths to protect the identity of their children. When they post about them, they show their back or part of their body but never their face. 

Whilst this largely remains an individual's choice, should we be afforded the privilege of witnessing such private moments? Where do you draw the line as far as privacy is concerned? What about the safety of the child and consent?

Let’s think through these two questions.

We Talk A Lot About Consent But Are We Applying It Selectively?

Every child below the age of 18 is under the care of their parents. They are responsible for making decisions for them. However, in this case, are they taking it too far? The girl featured in the Teen Vogue article says that she didn’t consent to have a public life and be a breadwinner at such a tender age. 

She didn’t consent to be an influencer and have all these responsibilities. As much as some parents will argue that they want to secure their child’s financial future, what happens when your child, later on, finds their images online and decide to file a lawsuit? What if you are depriving them of exploring other opportunities? 


This one even hangs over our heads as adults. We conceal some of our details lest we find funny characters at our doorsteps demanding all manner of things. If you are so keen on your privacy, why not think about your child? 

We understand that you want to share some of your happiest moments with the world but when your child is 15, she might not appreciate what you did. If the images or videos you shared are embarrassing and are used to bully her, she will surely not like them.    

Robbing Your Child Off Their Childhood.

The reason why this topic remains to be contentious is that children influencers do not have a ‘normal life’. It’s the same with child stars. Due to the fame they enjoy, there is a lot of demand they have to put up with that they aren’t prepared for at all. They just want to be kids and do what kids do.

Unfortunately, they have to film, go for shoots, interviews and walk around with bodyguards around them 24/7. If their parents are exploitative, they end up working crazy hours and are always booked for things. They are forced to grow up and not enjoy the relaxed and ‘carefree’ life that other kids have. 

Are There Any Laws To Prevent Such Exploitation?

Elena Mozhvilo
The Department of Child Protection Services together with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) is drafting laws that will protect kids online. These laws cover cyberbullying and other related crimes like the sharing of intimate images.

That said, it doesn’t cover the exploitation of influencer kids by their parents. This will need the concerned parties to define terms like who an influencer is, and what exploitation is and looks like among other terms that seem straightforward but might not really be. 

Can The Labour Laws On Child Labour Be Used In This Case?

Our constitution was last amended in 2010. Influencing was not a thing then. Whilst it protects every child from exploitative labour, it remains unclear where influencer kids would fall and what would constitute exploitative labour for them.

As stated earlier, influencer gig is fairly new and its operations are yet to be scrutinised within the confines of the labour law although there are other laws that might regulate its practice.

What Can We Do In The Meantime?

Influencer parents should learn the limits and ensure that they do not put their kids at risk. They should know that she is not just another product they are promoting or should I say influencing. They should allow their children to experience childhood in its entirety and also teach them the limits.

Lawmakers should act fast and evolve with the times to include such protections for minors and adults.

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