I ended up with overplucked eyebrows and Hair Cuttery highlights as a result — but for teenagers who turn to the internet to quell their insecurities, the consequences can be much more serious. These forums were created specifically for teenager users, who post pictures of themselves and ask for constructive criticism about their looks.
The teenagers I spoke to told me about the messages they received from adults, from the faintly creepy to the graphic and sexual. They said they accepted these messages as a natural consequence of posting on these forums.
This message was sent to a year-old girl. But as soon as she posted, she said she knew something was off. The messages started streaming into her inbox — crude, sexual messages, sent with the full knowledge that Lauren was They came from guys she suspected were "older predators," an assumption she based on their own post history, where they identified themselves as adults on other forums, and the fact that they sent her private messages instead of publicly commenting on her post.
Riley said she tried to laugh about the messages, and even showed some of them to her sister, but ultimately they bothered her. The list of the group's rules was brief — only people 18 and under were allowed to post — and suggested that the teens "remember to smile!
The person who founded the forum is a year-old college student named Justin who sent us a picture of himself to verify his identity. Justin said that when teenagers come to any of the forum's moderators to complain about creepy behavior, they report the issue to Reddit admins and trust the company to deal with it "appropriately.
But in practice, the ability to report creepy messages after the fact doesn't stop them from being sent in the first place — and can a reporting process erase the impact unsolicited sexual content has on teens who receive it?
This user knowingly sent a year-old girl a link to picture of his penis from another Reddit forum One year-old messaged her and said that he was often approached by girls "her age" who wanted a break from "immature boys. Remo, a year-old boy, said that he actually gave his Kik information to a Reddit user who claimed they were a teenage girl.
From there, the "girl" demanded "two fully naked mirror pictures with your face in them. I would pay a lot of money! But I wanted to talk to some of the people knowingly soliciting underage people for pictures and sexual content. For the record, I look young for my age — like, "threaten to call the cops to prove my ID is real to the bouncer" young.
Within hours of posting, I was flooded with people who clearly did not just want to comment on my appearance publicly, which is the stated purpose of the forums. They wanted to follow me on social media and chat to me direct, asking for my Snapchat, Instagram and Kik. Others asked for more pictures, offered me money or sent me their cellphone numbers so I could send them more pictures. I experienced several instances of all of the above.
I received a cell phone number from this year-old man. He didn't pick up when we called him The user above who offered me money for a pair of my dirty underwear gave me his phone number so I could send him pictures after I told him my parents knew my email password. When I looked through his post history, I saw that he had identified himself elsewhere on Reddit as a year-old man.
Men upwards of 30 years old asked me how far I'd gone with boys, called me sexy, told me I had a "nice body" and asked me for pictures of myself "from behind.
Anybody want to show this grown man something special? Both forums specify that age is included in the title of any posting asking for a critique or rating, which means that everybody who messaged me was aware I'm, in my own words, 15 years old. A few of the Reddit users who messaged me also showed up in the screenshots sent to me by my teenage sources, or showed up in the screenshots sent to me by multiple teens. Pedophiles are messaging children. That's the definition of Not Allowed. Users who violate these policies are reported and actioned upon," the spokesperson said.
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