OnlyFans. What you should know
(Hint: It’s not for kids!)
OnlyFans is a subscription-based social media platform that was introduced in 2016, but really took off during the pandemic and is currently growing by 500,000 users a day.
So, what is it?
It’s an online streaming platform that allows users (fans) to pay for private content – photos, videos, and live-streams – with a monthly subscription. It’s a way for models, musicians, artists, and other content creators to monetize their influence behind a paywall. However, unlike Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media platforms, OnlyFans allows explicit sexual content, and has become a hub for sex workers and porn.
Since OnlyFans is by subscription only, creators can share nude photos, live stream pornographic videos, and even virtually interact with their subscribers. Fans can also pay more to message back and forth with creators and “tip” to get content created on demand specifically tailored to their taste or interest.
Is OnlyFans only for adults?
While technically the site claims to only allow access to individuals 18+, many teens find ways to bypass the age restriction. Don’t assume that your kids don’t know about it or that they won’t try to get on the site. Teens are attracted to the growing list of celebrities, the access to exclusive content, and the chance to be a part of something with a naughty reputation. They may also be lured by large sums of quick money they have heard people with many followers can make on the platform. For example, Disney’s Bella Thorne reportedly made over $1 million on the platform in only 24 hours.
What are the risks?
While the site is considered relatively safe for adults there are risks for both the creators – dangerous behavior from subscribers, like stalking and harassment, and having their content leaked to other websites; and for their fans -phishing, malware attacks, etc. However, it’s much riskier for kids to be on this site. What better place to hunt for vulnerable young performers? One of the scariest things about OnlyFans is that you can’t choose who subscribes to your channel. So, even if your teen is streaming fun content about applying makeup, a predator can subscribe and begin speaking with them. This kind of relationship can go south quick, especially if a predator or sex trafficker is encouraging them to slowly post more and more sexual videos or images. Predators are skilled at this kind of grooming.
How do I talk to my kids about OnlyFans and keep them safe?
First, we always recommend having open and non-judgmental conversations with kids about online safety. This should include discussing images they may be encountering online – and about what healthy, real-life sexuality looks like. You should also regularly reinforce that what they post can live forever online. Be real with them about the lurking dangers. Encourage them to be very careful about what they post and who they interact with online. We also recommend taking advantage of parental controls and privacy settings.
The Takeaway – OnlyFans is not for kids.
Kids and teens under 18 should not be on OnlyFans. Older teens and young adults on the site need to be very cautious and understand that only a very small percentage of creators make significant income. They also need to keep in mind that being exposed to porn or being a porn performer can negatively affect mental health. In addition, sharing explicit content on OnlyFans or other sites can make you a target for online predators and sex traffickers. If you need help understanding parental controls, privacy settings or are experiencing a social media crisis, Smart Gen Society can help. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.