OnlyFans Filter: A New Frontier in School Safety and CIPA Compliance

TikTok, YouTube, Instagram — the list goes on. Every day, K-12 IT departments are contending with an ever-growing number of social media sites, each with its own set of challenges.

However, none are quite as dangerous as OnlyFans. In this blog, we’re exploring what OnlyFans is, why it’s so risky, and what you can do to prevent students from accessing it on school-provided accounts.

What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans is a social media platform where content creators can earn money from fans who purchase access to their profiles via a subscription fee. In addition to monthly installments and one-time tips, subscribers can also pay for exclusive content, such as live streams or pay-per-view videos.

Although OnlyFans is a popular platform for content creators in various fields — fitness, photography, music, etc. — it’s primarily known as a source of adult entertainment. The majority of OnlyFans creators share sexually explicit content on the app. In fact, founder Tim Stokely and majority owner Leonid Radvinsky both have a history of operating pornographic websites.

According to a BBC report, OnlyFans content skyrocketed during the pandemic. The social media platform has grown nearly tenfold since 2019, now boasting over 120 million registered users.

Of course, because of its adult content, the OnlyFans website is restricted to people 18 or older. It uses two primary security measures to ensure users are of legal age:

  1. All users must submit a photo of their government-issued identification card.
  2. They must also share a selfie photo to verify their identity.

Unfortunately, minors may still find their way onto OnlyFans despite these precautions. Per the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, there have been numerous cases where adolescents have used fake IDs or a relative’s passport to bypass age verification.

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The Risk of OnlyFans

While OnlyFans is not inherently dangerous, it can present risks depending on how it is used and accessed — just like any other online platform. You may not realize it, but students could be using school accounts to create an OnlyFans profile, the ramifications of which are numerous.

Here are some examples of how the website could be harmful to your school district:

  • Exposure to inappropriate content: OnlyFans is known for hosting adult content, which may include explicit photos and videos. Students, particularly minors, should not be exposed to such material, as it can be harmful to their development and well-being. For instance, watching explicit content can have adverse effects on mental health. Exposure to unrealistic body standards and sexual themes may lead to low self-esteem and distorted self-image.
  • Privacy risks: It’s not uncommon for OnlyFans models to “sext” with their subscribers, which can involve exchanging explicit photos. Also, the lucrative nature of the website may entice students to create their own profiles. In the case of a minor, this would constitute child pornography. Additionally, this content could leak elsewhere online and haunt the student for years to come.
  • Safety risks: Students who access OnlyFans content may also expose themselves to sexual exploitation or stalking. Online predators can use the platform to groom potential victims, luring them with promises of bigger payouts. Some may even use explicit photos as blackmail, convincing kids to meet up in person.
  • Compliance: As for school districts, allowing students to access the OnlyFans website is a violation of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Per CIPA, schools must protect minors from inappropriate content, which includes violent, graphic, and sexual material.

These risks may seem unlikely, but in truth, they happen more than you’d think. In 2021, BBC News investigated several harrowing cases. According to their findings:

  • Underage content creators and users include victims of prior sexual abuse and those with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.
  • Police forces say children have complained about their images being uploaded to OnlyFans without their consent. One 17-year-old girl reported to police that she was blackmailed into continuing to post nudes on OnlyFans, or face photographs from the site being shared with her family.
  • Per the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there were around a dozen missing kids linked to OnlyFans content in 2019. One year later, those cases tripled.

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Why It’s Important to Filter Explicit Content

Platforms like OnlyFans seem to pop up more often than ever before. Across the vast and expansive internet, there’s almost no telling where your students might encounter sexually explicit content and other graphic material. Luckily, that’s where web content filtering comes into play.

In short, filters block websites that contain inappropriate content. Plus, you can tailor policies to your liking, thereby restricting any type or category of content you deem unsuitable for children. That way, you don’t need a separate Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube content filter — you can block everything with just one solution.

There are many reasons why it’s important to restrict access to OnlyFans and other platforms like it at school, including:

  • Maintaining a safe and secure environment: Educational institutions have a responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment for students. Content filters help prevent students from accessing potentially harmful or explicit material, which could include adult content found on platforms like OnlyFans.
  • Preserving academic focus: Accessing platforms like OnlyFans during school hours can distract students from their studies and disrupt the learning environment. Content filters help maintain a focus on academic activities by blocking access to non-educational websites and platforms.
  • Compliance with legal and ethical standards: Educational institutions must comply with legal requirements and ethical standards regarding the online safety of students. Implementing content filters demonstrates a commitment to upholding these standards and ensuring that students’ online activities are appropriate and secure.
  • Parental and community expectations: Parents and the community expect schools to take measures to protect students from accessing inappropriate content online. Content filters are one way to fulfill these expectations and reassure stakeholders that the school is actively managing online risks.

An Effective Content Filter for OnlyFans

What does the ideal content filtering solution look like? An effective filter should:

  • Block access to the OnlyFans website and associated domains to prevent users from visiting the platform.
  • Utilize URL filtering to block access to specific URLs associated with OnlyFans, including subdomains and pages within the site.
  • Implement keyword filtering to detect and block attempts to access content related to OnlyFans. This includes filtering out searches for “OnlyFans” or related terms, like “OnlyFans models,” or “OnlyFans alternatives.”
  • Employ dynamic content analysis techniques to detect and block attempts to access OnlyFans content embedded within other websites or platforms. For example, this allows you to prevent students from navigating to the website using a link embedded in a Google Doc.
  • Allow administrators to create custom whitelists and blacklists to manually specify which websites should be allowed or blocked, respectively. OnlyFans can be added to the blacklist to ensure it is consistently blocked.
  • Implement user authentication and role-based access controls to ensure that OnlyFans access restrictions apply to all users, including students, staff, and guests.
  • Provide real-time reporting and logging capabilities to track attempts to access OnlyFans and other blocked content, allowing administrators to monitor and enforce content filtering policies effectively.

Fortunately, you don’t have to search high and low for a tool that checks every item off this list. At ManagedMethods, our browser-based Content Filter product comes ready to go with all the capabilities you need to protect your students.

With thousands of pre-built blocklists, you don’t have to worry about building your own policies completely from scratch. But, as a customizable tool, you have total freedom to tailor rules according to your school district’s needs. For example, YouTube blocking can be managed more granularly based on keywords associated with a particular video, and by specific channels and videos.

Plus, you’ll get alerts if students are attempting to create an OnlyFans account or access another restricted app or website. Alerts notify administrators of risks in near-real time, which are viewable in an easy-to-use platform.

Ready to learn more? Discover how Content Filter can protect your students. Or, if you’d like a closer look, schedule a free demo today.

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