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OnlyFans is a subscription-based social media app used to share pictures, videos and live streams. Creators can charge their fans a monthly fee to follow their account and view their exclusive content. Content is often created by popular YouTubers or social media influencers, but also includes fitness trainers and models amongst others. It seems to also be a popular platform for amateur professionals hoping to springboard their careers by gaining a paid for portfolio of work. OnlyFans is particularly known for its popularity amongst sex workers, who sell images, videos and live footage to their followers. Not all creators charge a fee for their content, but you must add credit card details before you can subscribe to any creator’s account. OnlyFans charges a 20% fee for any content sold via the platform. At the time of writing, the platform has 30 million registered users plus 450,000 content creators.

Official age rating

The minimum age for OnlyFans users is 18.

To create a creators account, users must provide a selfie along with photo ID to confirm age. To create a subscribers account, there are no rigorous age verification methods.

Research suggests that these age verification methods are not robust and users under 18 have been able to create an account and share content.

OnlyFans is not available on Apple App Store or Google Play due to X-rated content.

Find out more about age ratings in our A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games.

How children and young people use the app

The main appeal for young people to join OnlyFans is the notion that it is an easy way to make money by selling user-generated content. The app is often referenced in popular culture and is well known for its capacity to make people large amounts of money very quickly. Users can also follow curated content (that isn’t necessarily sexual) made by influencers which they are interested in- this can only be accessed with a monthly membership. The paywall can make the content seem more exclusive and more appealing to young people as a result. However, a large majority of the content and the app’s popularity stems from its sexual content made by users, as well as celebrities and other popular figures online that young people may already follow and therefore find appealing.

Potential risks

Content

As OnlyFans has an adult age rating, and it is unregulated there is a high risk of viewing inappropriate materials and mature content is to be expected. A large proportion of the content on OnlyFans is highly sexual and creators often use the hashtag ‘NSFW’ to let their subscribers know to view their posts in private. Creators also have the ability to post uncensored, X-rated pictures and videos as well as host live streams where followers can engage with creators in real-time. OnlyFans also has a messaging feature, which allows creators to engage with their viewers directly. Again, there is the potential for bad language and mature content to be shared via this feature. Encourage children and young people to speak to you if they encounter any content they find upsetting or disturbing. If they have set up a creator account, talk to them about the dangers of sharing nudes or semi-nudes. It is important to remember that any sexual images or videos containing children under 18 is child sexual abuse material.  It is not recommended that young people under 18 access the platform.

Connecting with others

The 18+ age rating of OnlyFans suggests it is only intended to be used by adults. However, due to lack of vigorous age verification methods, it has been found that users under 18 have been able to access the platform, both as subscribers and as creators. The unregulated nature presents a contact risk for those younger users on OnlyFans, as they will be able to interact with users of all ages. Speak to your child about the risks of connecting with strangers and explain the importance of not sharing any personal or identifiable information within chats or interactions on the platform. Remind users to tell you if they have been asked more personal questions or to chat privately using a different app.

User behaviour

The notion of making money quickly and easily on OnlyFans can be very appealing to young people. It is important to explain that all content can be screenshotted, saved and widely shared. They always need to think about the content they share and consider whether they would be happy for everyone they know to see it.

Design, data and costs

OnlyFans is a subscription-based service, where creators can make money from the content they share. It’s important to talk about the dangers of selling personal content and the risks of being coerced into selling more extreme content for larger sums of money.

The minimum subscription price is approximately £3.90 per month and the maximum subscription price is approximately £39.00 per month. Creators can also opt to make their content free.

Creators can set up tips or ‘Paid private messages’ starting at a minimum of approximately £4.00.


Tips for keeping your child safe

  • As OnlyFans has an adult age rating, there are very few parental controls and settings available.

    You can explore the parental controls on your individual devices and broadband service, which allow you to put filters and blocks in place.

    To enable ‘Two-step verification’:

    • Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Account’.
    • Tap ‘Two-step verification’.
    • Note: OnlyFans encourage users to do this and suggest Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator work well for them.
  • As OnlyFans has an adult age rating, there are very few parental controls and settings available. The way the platform works means you only see content from those you choose to follow. Users can always block accounts that they no longer wish to see.

    To limit exposure to explicit content, explore the parental controls on your individual devices and broadband service, which allow you to put filters and blocks in place.

  • You can report and block users who may be bothering you or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To block a subscriber:

    • Go to ‘Settings’ and tap ‘Subscribers’.
    • Tap the three dots next to the name of the user you want to block.
    • Select ‘Block’ or ‘Restrict’.

    To block another OnlyFans account:

    • Go to the account your wish to block.
    • Click on the three dots at the top of the page then select ‘Restrict’ or ‘Block’.
  • As OnlyFans has an adult age rating, there are very few parental controls and settings available. There are some settings you can change to help manage time and purchases.

    To disable notifications:

    • Go to ‘Settings’ and scroll to ‘Privacy and settings’.
    • Toggle ‘Show activity status’ to off.

    To manage purchases:

    • When you create an account, users need to provide their bank details. Explore the parental controls on your individual devices and broadband service, so that your child does not have easy access to your or their bank accounts.

Key features and terminology

  • Creators

    Those who post and share content for their subscribers.

    Subscriber

    Those who subscribe and pay to view someone else’s content.

    Commissioned work

    Work completed via private message and a private fee is paid.

    Like

    Similar to Instagram, a heart-shaped button below each post allows users to Like it, showing the account holder their appreciation for the photo or video.

    Post

    A ‘Post’ refers to the photo or video a user adds to their account.

    Comment

    Below each post, users can add a comment. This can be in a written format or through the use of icons known as emojis.

    NSFW

    This means ‘Not safe for work’ so users know which content should be viewed in private.

General tips

Yoti, the facial analysis technology, has found a large number of underage users have been able to set up creator accounts by using fake ID. It is recommended that no child under 18 should have an OnlyFans account, either as a subscriber or creator.

While OnlyFans is not a pornography site, it has become increasingly popular amongst sex workers.