MEPs have called for stricter laws to protect influential children who have found fame on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

A report Published by the Committee on Digital Technology, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), it found that labor laws were out of step in the digital age and that some children were oppressed and exploited by their parents for financial gain.

“This report is a mirror of the problems that affect the industry, where for too long there has been a case of lights, cameras, inaction,” said Julian Knight, MP, chairman of the committee, DCMS. “Now the government needs to change the rules to keep up with the changing digital landscape and provide adequate protection for all.”

According to a 2021 Ofcom report, up to half of children say they have watched vloggers or influential people on YouTube.

The report says that while the culture of influential children can provide a platform for different voices and communities, it can expose young people to misinformation and harmful messages.

“With the speed with which online influencers are entering, security and safety measures are often at the bottom of the list of priorities for gaining followers,” said Jake Moore, Global Cyber ​​Security Advisor, ESET.

The report recommends that children, parents and schools need better support for the development of young people’s media literacy. He also found that the Advertising Standards Agency needs to do more to strengthen standards for online advertising for children.

“Some people still think security settings are too difficult to work with or set up, but the reality is that settings like two-factor authentication often take just a few seconds to add a stronger layer of protection,” Moore added.

Knight added: “Viewers of children who are still developing digital literacy are especially dangerous in an environment where not everything is as it always seems.

In response, the report called on the government to do more to address the gap in child labor in the UK and regulate enforcement.

The new influential legislation should specify provisions on working hours and conditions, protection of the child’s income, the right to cancel and place child labor agreements under the supervision of local authorities, the report said.

Another issue raised in the report is the poor compliance of influential people with advertising regulations in the United Kingdom.

In 2020, 35% of the 24,000 Instagram marketing posts of 122 UK-based influencers were not clearly labeled as ads, according to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

Child influencers: MPs call for employment law revamp to stop ‘exploitation’

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