OnlyFans: What parents need to know

It’s like TikTok, but for sex - and with the promise of easy money thrown in for good measure.

Like TikTok, OnlyFans hosts user-generated content of all kinds, from workout videos to cooking clips. 

Also like TikTok, its popularity has exploded during the pandemic. 

But unlike TikTok, OnlyFans allows creators to receive cash directly from their “fans,” through subscription fees, pay-per-view posts, and tipping. 

Also unlike TikTok, OnlyFans specialises in nudes.

It’s a business model is best described as direct-to-consumer pornography.

And if that sounds a lot like traditional webcamming, it is - but with a dangerous difference: the sites’ attraction for amateurs creators, so-called “vanilla” users who are experimenting for the first time with sex work.

Underage users

And it's that that makes OnlyFans a special risk for underage girls, lured by the opportunity to make easy money.  

Although the site has introduced an account verification procedure requiring that creators provide a ‘selfie’ along with their ID in the image to prove their identity, a recent BBC investigation showed that youngsters using borrowed or fake ID’s were readily approved. 

Users need only supply an email address, name, and a password and sign up for an OnlyFans.com account. They also need to subscribe to individual users' pages to view content on the site.

Costs vary widely, with some subscriptions free and others ranging up to $250. Creators receive 80% of the revenue they generate.

But even browsing the subscriptions on offer supplies users with plenty of semi-nudes and suggestive poses.

As strip clubs, massage parlours and brothels started shutting down, sex workers and their customers turned to the digital world. OnlyFans’ transactional business model offered a ready-made alternative. 

The site claims 85 million registered users worldwide - that’s an increase of more than tenfold over the past 12 months - and has paid out more than AU$2.7 billion globally to its one million creators.

As strip clubs, massage parlours and brothels started shutting down, sex workers and their customers turned to the digital world. OnlyFans’ transactional business model offered a ready-made alternative. 

But while professional sex workers have flocked to the site, amateurs have seen an opportunity too.

One creator, a Queensland-based single mum based who was the target of sexual harassment in “every single regular job that I had,” told The Guardian she now makes a much better living on OnlyFans, posting naked or semi-nude images and selling “solo sex content” by subscription.

But while professional sex workers have flocked to the site, amateurs have seen an opportunity too.

A spokesperson for OnlyFans insists that “Creators use OnlyFans in a variety of ways, however, and not all of them are making content with the intention of it becoming their primary or even secondary source of income, and many use the site simply because it’s their preferred platform.”

An 'empowering' experience?

Although it’s true that OnlyFans wasn’t developed specifically for sex work, user-generated porn has become its stock in trade. Interestingly, the site also attempts to prohibit creators and “fans” from taking their relationship offline.

For instance, using the word “meet” in a post generates an instant red flag, while the use of other prohibited words can result in an account being summarily deleted. 

Some creators insist that their OnlyFans experience has brought empowerment. 

Notes one, “I control my work hours. I don’t need to feel guilty for staying home to take care of my sick child … If a man abuses me or harasses me I can just block them instead of having to deal with them every day.

“It has definitely changed my life.”

What parents can do 

That’s fine - but if you have young people in your home, you definitely don't want OnlyFans changing their lives.

Experts strongly recommend having open, regular, and non-judgmental conversations with kids about the images they may be encountering online - and about what healthy, real-life sexuality looks like.

They also recommend the use of strong parental controls that automatically filter adult content on children’s devices, wherever and whenever they connect online.




 

Use Family Zone to block adult content on all your children's devices - and so much more!

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Topics: Cyber Bullying, Parental Controls, Screen time, Pornography, Mobile Apps, Excessive Device Usage, online pornography, Family viewing, OnlyFans, user-generated porn

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