MPs are calling for tougher legislation to protect young social media influencers – and their followers – from exploitation.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Commission report says the rise of online influencer culture has provided significant new opportunities for those working in industries. creative industries and boost the UK economy.
“However, it is often the case that social media is involved, if you dig beneath the shiny surface of what you see on screen you will discover a world of complete darkness. where both influencers and their followers are at risk of being taken advantage of and harmed online,” said Julian Knight, chair of the committee.
“Child viewers, who are still developing their digital literacy, are especially at risk in an environment where things are not always what they seem, while the unfortunate lack of protection for those young influencers who often spend many hours producing financially lucrative content in the direction of others.”
In 2021, up to half of children say they’ve watched content from a vlogger or YouTube influencer, according to Ofcom figures.
The commission has called on the government to strengthen employment and advertising laws to protect children – both as viewers and influencers – and online performers.
The MPs said that children, parents and schools should be given more support in developing media literacy, and that rules around advertising to children should also be in place. enhancement, including pay and standards.
Its recommendations also include giving advertising regulators more power to enforce laws around advertising and close influencer loopholes.
The commission’s report said that during the investigation, concerns were raised that some children in the influencer economy were being used by parents and family members who often their online account managers who are looking to take advantage of the lucrative online market.
Mr Knight said “inaction” has left regulations behind in the digital world and authorities are now “caught in the act”.
“It’s been too long since the lights, the cameras, didn’t work,” he said.
“It is now up to governments to reshape rules to keep pace with the changing digital landscape and ensure appropriate protections for all.”