One 13-year-old said, “I know it’s not appropriate for kids my age to do this, but it’s an easy way to make money. Some of the girls have thousands of followers on Instagram and they are attracting a lot of people and making a lot of money — so I want to be like them too.”
Thousands of people around the world – including celebrities, ordinary people, especially teenagers, are making money from creating their own pornography and selling it for money through OnlyFans. It’s easy for Beyoncé and Cardi B to endorse OnlyFans, making OnlyFans such an attractive site for young people.
So what is OnlyFans and why OnlyFans is harmful to children?
What is OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is an online platform and application created in 2016 where anyone can pay for content (photos and videos, direct links) through a monthly membership.
Content is mainly created by YouTube users, fitness trainers, models, content creators, public figures, to monetize their profession. According to OnlyFans policy, users must be 18 years of age or older.
UK-based OnlyFans is an increasingly popular platform for those unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also popular among sex workers.
Why are teenagers using OnlyFans?
Teenagers join OnlyFans because they believe they can easily make money through the platform. They have the misconception that some cases really don’t need to be naked to make money from OnlyFans. Besides, some people can earn up to 30,000 pounds/month.
This makes teenagers flock to use OnlyFans but not knowing that this is a very small percentage of creators actually making much money.
According to a 2020 report released by the Internet Watch Foundation, it has identified a 44% increase in the number of nude/semi-nude images created by children with the age group which generates this content the most are girls between 11 and 13.
What the OnlyFans ads don’t show, however, is that this is a fiercely competitive market where minors, often girls, can fall into a vicious circle.
In order to compete, your child will most likely have to up the game by sharing more and more pictures of their body and performing the sexual acts requested by the subscriber to maintain interest increase your popularity, and earn more money.
The increasing number of children under 18 years old joining OnlyFans
According to OnlyFans policy, users must be 18 years of age or older. In 2019, OnlyFans introduced a new account verification process where content creators now have to provide a selfie with their ID in the photo to prove their identity.
However, from the BBC’s research, a lot of underage users used someone else’s ID and created accounts without issue – suggesting that age verification isn’t strict enough.
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One particular case was a 17-year-old girl who claimed that she had successfully registered at the age of 16. She used an older friend’s ID, even though they didn’t look alike, and she successfully used OnlyFans for 7 months using various profiles.
Also, it is about OnlyFans’marketing strategies. Their strategies are contributing to this dangerous appeal to children. By branding itself as an “influencer” platform, OnlyFans has fueled these kids’ misconception that the way to become famous and influential is through selling their bodies.
OnlyFans intentionally blurs the line between the commercial sex industry and mainstream social media and argues that if you use social media and produce your own content, you should use OnlyFans.
Another 16-year-old girl shared with her school’s career counselor how much money she makes on OnlyFans, so she asked why she should listen and follow any career advice from her career counselor.
Dangers of OnlyFans for teenagers- being trafficked
While the majority of OnlyFans is the product of minors uploading their own produced content, police and child protection agencies are also uncovering cases of children being trafficked or take advantage of this platform to generate child pornography.
According to the Vice President of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, Staca Shehan: “In 2019, there were about a dozen children known to be missing in connection with content on OnlyFans. Last year that number of cases nearly tripled.”
The police force has also received complaints from children when others posted intimate pictures of themselves on OnlyFans without their consent. In another case, a minor edited his or her face on someone else’s body (i.e. “deepfake”) and the resulting pornography was uploaded to OnlyFans.
However, another minor reported to the police that she had been blackmailed for posting pictures on OnlyFans.
Ways to protect your kids from OnlyFans
According to a recent sex report “Look At Me – Teens, Sexting, and Risks,” girls between the ages of 14 and 15 are twice as likely to submit a pornographic image. Therefore, it is important for parents to:
- Have an EARLIER frank conversation with your child about taking pictures, sharing pornography and its consequences. Don’t forget to show your kids why OnlyFans is dangerous.
For example, you could teach them that what you send or post will stay forever on the Internet and you have a very high risk of online sexual assault, falling prey to sexual predators, extortion or even criminal behavior.
- Familiarize yourself and experience with social media: Don’t be passive, actively update and learn the platforms that are popular with young people. Don’t assume your kids won’t visit sites like OnlyFans. Risks lure children everywhere.
- Install a content filtering tool on their computer:
To ensure your child’s online environment is safe and healthier, you should consider using an additional online content filtering tool – considered by many parents as one of the best free parental control software to hide 15 types of harmful content on the Internet, including:
- Horrifying content like gore, accidents, ghosts, violence, murder, terrorism, etc
- Content about stimulants, addictive substances such as alcohol, beer, marijuana, drugs, etc
- Content with aggressive elements, hurting others like Hate speech
This free porn blocker extension can help to minimize your child’s access to harmful content, ensuring a healthy online environment for your child but at the same time, not invading their privacy rights.
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