Children in influencer advertising: how we deal with it as a society

Many mom or dad influencers commercialize part of their everyday family life. Companies and platforms have also discovered the advertising and click potential of children's or family content, but are usually afraid to face the consequences. The rights of children are often forgotten.

It's hard to imagine everyday family life without social media. Take, for example, the handling of family and children's pictures and videos. Who doesn't like to share beautiful moments with their community? Many mom or dad influencers go one significant step further and commercialize part of their everyday family life. Companies and platforms have also discovered the advertising and click potential of children's or family content, but are usually afraid to face the consequences. The rights of children are often forgotten.

First and foremost, parents are responsible for their children, but social media platforms and companies should also rethink their role. The protection and well-being of children and young people should always come first. However, social media is developed by adults for adults and is still not a child-friendly place. Unfortunately, this leads to the fact that children's content is not specifically protected and can be easily redistributed. Advertising guidelines are also not clearly regulated and vary greatly from country to country.

The Conscious Influence Hub has therefore set itself the goal of promoting a respectful exchange in the digital world and discussing precisely such topics with the players and experts involved and working together on guidelines and solutions. This is exactly what he will be discussing with content creator and father Fabio Zerzuben, a company and an expert from Child Protection Switzerland on November 9, 2023 at the WebStage Masters Social Media Conference in Engelberg as part of a panel.

The WebStage Masters is the largest social media marketing conference in Switzerland. The sixth task will take place on November 8 and 9, 2023, in a breathtaking setting in the middle of the mountains of Engelberg. The village can be reached from all major Swiss cities in less than two hours. Do you also want to be there? Then secure your ticket now on

"In Switzerland, legislation has not yet dealt with the topic to any great extent. This is partly because the reach of Swiss influencers is often limited due to the size of our country and the fact that it is quadrilingual. Things are different in France, for example, which was the first European country to introduce laws explicitly for influencers. In Switzerland, there are few mechanisms to effectively protect children from economic exploitation in the area of social media advertising. International agreements and guidelines, on the other hand, already provide a fairly clear direction here, and the platforms themselves are also gradually issuing rules and guidelines on this topic. We should therefore also urgently discuss children in influencer advertising in Switzerland. We definitely have some catching up to do. Exposing children on social media can bring up far-reaching discussion points. We need to think about fundamental rights (basic rights of children, also before parents), data protection law (DSGVO), labor law (child labor) and personality rights (right to one's own image)," says Isabelle Wildhaber, Professor of Private and Commercial Law at the HSG and Advisory Board Member at the Conscious Influence Hub.

Child Protection Switzerland is a partner of the Conscious Influence Hub and provides valuable tips and offers on the topic of "Children on the Net" and "Sharenting":

How do influencers deal with it

In the beginning, influencer marketing was mainly used in the lifestyle and beauty industry. As digital platforms have grown, so have the advertising opportunities on social media and for influencers. As the community has aged and become parents, new advertising opportunities have emerged for influencers. Thus, the phenomenon of the kidfluencer was born - managed by Mommy or Daddy. Although it's not really new, it's comparable to child stars.

Especially in the USA, "kidfluencers" represent a significant branch of industry and generate an industry value of around 8 billion dollars. It is therefore not surprising that there are four children's channels among the top ten YouTube channels and that the two Youtubers Ryan Kaji of "Ryan's World" (12 years old and earning 30 million US dollars) and Anastasia Radzinskaya of "Like Nastya" (9 years old and earning an estimated CHF 83 million) are among the top earners. In Switzerland, the business with "kidfluencers" is not (yet) booming. There are only a few children's channels. Moreover, Swiss influencers handle their children in very different ways on their feeds or in advertising collaborations. Some don't show them at all, others show them occasionally in the feed but make them unrecognizable, and still others show them deliberately and also build up their collaborations with them.

"You shouldn't just use the 'kidfluencer effect' for no reason - or just because. You see a lot of kidfluencers abroad. However, we wouldn't set up our own channel for our kids. In TV advertising, families/kids have been around for decades, so I'm convinced that advertising with kids can also have a place in the social media world. If a good set of rules and guidelines are given, this can be implemented professionally. In the meantime, there are many brands that deliberately don't want children in the picture. As a creator, you can be creative enough and have ideas to find other ways to create family content for promotional posts - without showing the kids," says Fabio Zerzuben, content creator and father, describing his experience.

How do companies deal with it

Baby food, diapers, toys or insurance, families and children are a popular target group for companies. Through social media, they have found a fast-growing sales channel. Advertising aimed at children is a huge business worldwide. It's no surprise that the fastest-growing genre on YouTube is videos for young children, which are naturally peppered with advertising. In Switzerland, companies spend millions of francs on advertising directed at families and children. (Swiss) companies have recognized influencer marketing with families as a lucrative advertising environment and are striking more and more advertising deals with parents promoting toys, food or other items. Whether or not the mom and dad influencers show their kids in these collaborations is not always left up to them. Some companies deliberately want the kids to be shown and actively involved in the content. Other companies, such as Unilever and Lindt, are consciously adapting their advertising guidelines and no longer targeting children under the age of 16.

Guideline on privacy protection with Racha from CI Hub


What does the Conscious Influence Hub do

The Conscious Influence Hub promotes respectful exchange in the digital world. The goal is to strengthen the core values of respect, empathy and transparency in the social media world together with influencers/creators. Since its founding in 2020, the association, with the support of experts from academia, media, civil society and the influencer industry, has developed a Code of Conduct developed. This provides ten easy-to-implement principles that offer Swiss influencers and social media actors a guide for responsible and respectful behavior. The Conscious Influence Hub invites all actors in the influencer marketing ecosystem to take an active role in shaping responsible behavior on social media and especially when dealing with children. To learn more, visit:

* An article from Anja Lapčević, Executive Director of the Conscious Influence Hub. The article was created in collaboration with WebStage Masters. 

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