HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Pennsylvania is the latest state to take action toward protecting child social media stars. States like Washington and Illinois have introduced legislation to prevent the financial exploitation of children, especially those featured in for-profit family vlogs. 

"These kids are making, some of them, millions of dollars on all kinds of different videos. And there's really no oversight there for where that money's going,” said Representative Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland).  

Rep. Ecker is proposing a change to Pennsylvania's child labor law to protect children from financial exploitation in today’s digital age. He says in some cases, children, even toddlers, are generating millions of dollars in ad revenue and sponsorships deals for parents or guardians. 

“We see the rise of social media in our kids lives, and I think it's good to regulate it and make sure that we're protecting our children,” said Ecker. "We don't want family members or people to exploit children when really they're the ones that are the stars of the show," he added.  

Ecker’s legislation has not yet been formally introduced. He’s looking to build support from fellow House lawmakers. In a co-sponsorship memo, Ecker said the legislation would protect children whose “image, name or likeness” is used to generate income for an account.

"We want to make sure that we're protecting them and that they are actually getting that money someday,” said Ecker.

More states around the country are taking similar action in a bipartisan manner. 

“This is something that really does not need to, and in my opinion, should not be a partisan issue,” said Chris McCarty, a student advocate from Washington state and the founder of Quit Clicking Kids, a non-profit fighting the monetization of children on social media. “My senior year of high school, I cold called and cold emailed legislators, and I was like, I have this policy concept I'd like to talk with you about,” McCarty added. 

McCarty’s advocacy efforts helped spur legislation in Washington and Illinois addressing the financial exploitation and privacy of children in family vlogs. 

“There are a lot of family run for-profit social media accounts, and those accounts tend to feature their kids very heavily, using their kids to gain interest, to gain clicks, and then those clicks can lead to paid sponsorship deals,” said McCarty. "In a lot of cases, these families are sort of using their kids as a bridge to get revenue from their account,” McCarty added. 

McCarty says even though lawmakers are starting to trend in the right direction, the conversation must continue. 

"This is really important because social media is such a new industry. It's a new concept, especially influencing,” said McCarty. “But right now, not enough people are talking about it.” 

Ecker’s legislation has not been formally introduced, so it’s too early to know exactly what provisions in the bill will look like. However, in states with similar legislation, McCarty says it would only impact for-profit social media accounts that feature children and receive income.  

“If you're not monetizing your account, if it's smaller, if it's just friends and family, the legislation is not going to impact that at all,” said McCarty.