How did you earn your pocket money as a child? Washing cars, or mowing lawns? A newspaper round, or babysitting?
Well, not for Generation Z.
Children as young as six are going online to make money, whether it’s as an influencer on social media, selling clothes on eBay, gaming, or playing the markets.
16-year-old Woody Harrison started by buying limited edition trainers to resell online, on sites like eBay, but also Depop.
Then, like many of us, bored during lockdown and looking for something new to do, he discovered cryptocurrency through YouTube videos, and TikTok tutorials, where he learned what and how to trade.
He told us: “I took some of the money I made selling clothes, trainers across Depop and other re-selling platforms and then invested that into various coins. That was a £250 investment and over the last two years I’ve watched that grow.”
That is now worth more than £1,000, which he wants to invest in his fledgling clothing business.
It’s not just teenage entrepreneurs. Much younger children are also looking to make money online.
Naomi Castelo, is an influencer. She is paid to feature and review products on her Instagram and YouTube channels, from clothes, to toys to restaurants, and can earn more than £150 a post.
The only difference is, she’s 10 years old, and often appears in videos with her mum, Isa.
It started when Naomi saw other children with YouTube channels and wanted to try it too.
Now brands will approach them to collaborate, and, Isa said, they decide together how to showcase the products.
Naomi’s favourites are when they do catwalk shows together.
Isa turns down those she doesn’t think are suitable. She says her daughter is in a safe environment and enjoys it, and it allows her to save for the future.
“I think it’s good that she can earn this money for university. We put it in the savings account”.
Naomi said it is helping her realise her dreams already.
She said: “My dream is to have my own brand and become a fashion designer for clothes. Yes. I think it’s very nice to do”.
And, she said, her friends think it’s cool.
“They say wow, I can’t believe you have all these toys. I wish I had them”, she added.
Given that regulators are already struggling to keep up with tech platforms, and there are concerns about the impact social media is having on young people’s mental health, there are bound to be questions about this new frontier, and if there are sufficient safeguards to protect children from being exploited.
GoHenry offers a pre-paid pocket-money payment card, and an app to help educate children about finances.
The co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Louise Hill said there are huge benefits to children taking advantage of this explosion of online opportunities.
She said: “The world is changing. There’s a lot of things available online, and some of those are really positive and really good. When we talk to parents of the kids that are doing this. They are overwhelmingly positive about it.
“They talk about the creative freedom that it brings their kids and the fact that their children can do that independently from their bedrooms, the connections with the outside world that it allows them to make, it’s overwhelmingly seen as positive”.
It requires plenty of spare time, and crucially money already available to invest in making more online.
Just like adult entrepreneurs, it helps to have some seed money to start.
But, as more and more of us socialise and work online, it’s not surprising that children are turning the internet from their playground to their workplace too.