The topic of child labor evokes strong emotions and old stereotypes, such as the chimney sweeps of Dickensian London.
The good news is that nowadays child labor can be more pleasant and more rewarding. The bad news is that the question of how to protect working children is more complicated. A lot of children are grossly underpaid — not necessarily by the master sweep, but by their parents.
More and more children, by which I mean minors below legal working age, are producing content as online influencers. A lot of Instagram, YouTube and TikTok accounts feature such children and they can be cute, endearing or (depending on your mood) annoying — as well as profitable. By one estimate, the most successful children working in this area — called "kidfluencers” — can generate more than $20 million a year in revenue.