What is OnlyFans? What Parents Need to Know.
DEC 07, 2023
What is OnlyFans? What Parents Need to Know.
Warning: Reader Discretion Advised
The following content may disturb readers as it contains graphic material that discusses predators, self-generated child abuse material, human trafficking, sexual abuse, and ways kids can hide explicit content from caregivers.
We believe it is important for parents to be aware of children’s potential exposure that normalize these societal ills.
Through education, parents make informed decisions and successfully navigate tough conversations with their kids.
The first time I heard of OnlyFans, I thought it was a sports app.
Spoiler alert—it’s not. And it’s really unsafe for kids.
OnlyFans is a subscription-based social media platform primarily known for its sexually explicit content.
OnlyFans launched in 2016 as a website (and now an app) where people can pay for photos, videos, or live streams created by other users. While some OnlyFans pages are used by fitness instructors, content creators, and celebrities for other purposes, 98% of all content on OnlyFans is explicit adult content.
Awareness is the first step to helping your children avoid the risks of OnlyFans. This article discusses the dangers of OnlyFans for minors, how kids get access to OnlyFans, and what parents can do to help.
Kids on OnlyFans
OnlyFans is an 18+ service, however there is no age or consent verification when signing up. The small print says you “confirm you are at least 18 years old” simply by starting an account.
Without proper verifications in place, it’s no wonder minors are getting on OnlyFans.
An email account is all they need to start an account to view content. If a child wants to become a content creator on OnlyFans, an ID is required.
This sounds more secure, but a BBC investigation found minors got around this with fake IDs or by using a caregiver’s ID.
How kids hide OnlyFans from parents
Once on the app, youth can try to hide OnlyFans from their parents. One of the most common approaches teens use is to hide apps on their smartphones.
OnlyFans’ website can also be accessed without an app from a device on any internet browser. Some internet filters and internet parental controls can get circumvented via a proxy site or a VPN.
This isn’t to suggest that protective measures are not worthwhile. Especially determined kids can find ways to get around almost anything these days, but it is still worth a parents time to put these protective layers into place.
Giving a child the right tech at the right time is one of the best ways to help them learn crucial digital skills. Guardrails can prevent accidental exposure and may help slow down or deter a child from seeking out unhealthy websites.
How to hide OnlyFans payments
OnlyFans offers some free content, but much of the content on the platform requires payment. Kids can find ways to hide the fee every month to access content on OnlyFans from their parents.
If a child has their own debit or credit card without parental controls, caregivers may be unaware what their kids are spending money on.
Thankfully, there are now credit or debit cards made for kids with parental controls. This adds a great support for kids learning to manage money, as well as controls for parents to block companies they don’t want their child purchasing from.
Again, determined kids can still find ways around those guardrails. One way to be aware of is prepaid credit cards (often given as gifts) and used to pay for OnlyFans. The charge for the prepaid card would show up as a purchase at a grocery or convenience store, so OnlyFans never shows up on a bank statement.
As with any digital danger, the best way to keep kids safe is to have regular, candid conversations with them about the risks. If your child feels they can talk to you candidly about what they’re experiencing online, then they’re less likely to sneak around guardrails and more likely to seek your help when they do come across objectionable content online.
Is OnlyFans Safe for Kids?
No. OnlyFans is a very dangerous place for children and teens because of the pornography, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), and human trafficking risks.
Kids can access pornography on OnlyFans
Kids on OnlyFans can find a combination of photo, video, and live streaming sexual content.
For children with developing brains, pornography is especially damaging.
Pornography is a performance, but kids can confuse it with how sex works in real life. This can give them unrealistic expectations and possibly damage current or future real life relationships.
Furthermore, pornography hijacks the brain by increasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing their brain to crave pornography more.
This does not mean that a child viewing pornography is automatically addicted, but pornography can be extremely addicting, so it is a danger to be aware of. Medical professionals can support you and your child if an addiction is suspected.
Being curious about sex is developmentally normal, and parents can talk openly to their children about pornography in age-appropriate ways. These conversations can be a series of ongoing, open talks that develop appropriately as a child grows.
The best sex educators can be parents, not the internet or social media.
Child sexual abuse material on OnlyFans
OnlyFans has been accused of hosting Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), more commonly know as child pornography. A BBC investigation found kids circumvented OnlyFans ID system with fake IDs or using their IDs stolen from caregivers.
The Internet Watch Foundation recently saw a 77% increase in “self-generated” child sexual abuse material—any self-produced, sexually explicit images or videos of minors.
We don’t want to frighten people, but we do want to build resilience to the threat of self-generated sexual abuse of children.– Susan Hargreaves, Internet Watch Foundation Chief Executive
This is more than kids sexting nude photos privately (although that has dangers of its own). Lured by the prospect of making money and gaining fame, an increasing number of kids and teens joined OnlyFans to sell sexual content they produced. Some started an account for non-sexual purposes, but were lured into posting explicit comments by viewers.
Comments and DMs (private messages) to children are unfiltered, and it’s not hard to imagine how damaging the feedback can be. DMs from viewers with nude images, pressure to post increasingly explicit content, or requests for 1:1 live streams with strangers are all possible on OnlyFans.
Sexual exploitation and human trafficking on OnlyFans
Law enforcement investigators found sex traffickers and other criminals use OnlyFans to monetize their criminal sexual activity, and many of the victims are children whose sexual content was uploaded without their consent.
This could be an image sexted to a person who then shares it on OnlyFans to make some cash without consent, a video of a child being sexually abused that is uploaded to make money, or a teen who is being forced to post explicit content by human traffickers.
As if it couldn’t get worse, AI-generated deepfake pornography has made its way onto OnlyFans.
In fact, OnlyFans is on the “dirty dozen” list of the most dangerous sites according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
Minors creating OnlyFan accounts have public comments on posts and DMs. This opens up risks of being lured by predators online and sexually exploited.
Tragically, sexual abuse today can happen without ever being physically present with your abuser.
If a child posts a sexual image on OnlyFans, others can use that content to sexually blackmail (aka sextort) them, using threats to demand money or more sexual content. A growing number of sextortion victims are dying by suicide.
What Parents Can Do
This is a heavy topic. It can feel discouraging to discover what kids today are up against. But as a parent myself, I would rather face the discomfort of knowing than leave my kids to face this alone.
Talk to your kids often, even when you don’t think they are listening.
A great starting point is asking what they know about a topic. This helps you access their current knowledge, correct any errors in what they have heard, and build an ongoing conversation from there.
Assure them that if they make a mistake online, you will always love them and they can come to you for shame-free help.
You can also give your kids a better chance of avoiding digital dangers by using protective tools such as kids-safe phones, internet filters and parental controls on everything from computers to video games.
By reading this article, you are already on the right path. Awareness is powerful, and you are not alone
These conversations are hard, so take it easy on yourself and your kids. It takes a community to do this, so please share your thoughts below.