Why is this website 13+?
The short answer is that I want to give people the chance to click away if they're not okay with a site that swears now and then, talks about tough topics, and may not always be suitable for younger children.
- If you're a teenager or younger, then please give this section a read. There are a few things that I want you to know (both about this website and about the internet).
- If you're anyone at all, then please read this section. I've written out a list of some things that might crop up on this site so that you can make an informed decision. I can't (and won't) list every possible topic, but I do set rules for myself when writing articles for this website.
For everyone: what this website may contain
- Occasional profanity: I try not to swear much in articles, but sometimes it's necessary to prove a point or tell a story. This can include the rare F-bomb.
- Heavy topics: not everything I write will be bunnies and rainbows. Sometimes, I might write about things that could be upsetting or confrontational. Heavier topics are not warned for in individual articles, so consider this your advance notice.
- Fictional violence and body horror: some of the stories I write depict people and/or animals being hurt, killed, or physically distorted. Sometimes, this is described in detail or drawn. There will be no real-life gore on this website, but fiction is fair game.
- Links to sites that may contain difficult content: this website links to a lot of other websites. Some linked pages may be more mature or confrontational in nature. I'm not linking porn, but click with caution.
- Other 13+ topics: inevitably, there will be something on my site that's not on this list. What matters is that I always try to write my articles with teenagers and adults in mind. If I knowingly write any articles that aren't appropriate for minors, then I'll mark them as such.
Why no article content warnings?
Content warnings serve a purpose: they allow people to make a more informed choice about what they read. Unfortunately, they also encourage avoidance and may worsen the exact problems they hope to solve. I figured that an age recommendation is a happy medium between pasting a laundry list of warnings into every article and doing nothing at all.
For kids and teens: what you need to know
...about this website
There are a few pages on this website that use curse words, talk about tough topics, or could upset strict parents. These pages do not have any special warnings on them. If you think that this might be a problem for you, then please talk to a trusted adult about it or click away. Reading some articles written by a stranger isn't worth getting in trouble.
If you're under 13, then please get permission from a trusted adult before exploring this website. I know that it's frustrating to be told that you need an adult to do something (especially if you're 12!), and I don't ask you to do this without a good reason. I want there to be a safe adult to support you if you come across something confusing, upsetting, or even scary.
...about being online
You've probably heard a few things about internet safety by now. Some advice gets shared over and over: "don't share your real name online, strangers are all evil, yaddah yaddah yaddah". I was annoyed by that as a kid. It felt like people wanted me to avoid making any friends on the internet. These bits of advice have a point, though. It's important to know what to do if you run into trouble, and you can avoid problems if you're careful in the first place. Take your online safety seriously and learn how to protect yourself online.
Internet safety tips only go so far. One thing that they don't talk about much is grooming. Grooming is when someone builds a relationship with you, then uses it against you to make you do scary and harmful things. You probably won't realize that someone is grooming you at first. They might seem like the best friend you've ever had. Groomers are very good at making their targets feel special, and it can feel good to have their attention. The danger is that enjoying something doesn't mean it's safe.
If you know what grooming looks like, then you can cut off groomers before anything bad ever happens. Grooming can happen to both kids and adults, and it's hard for other people to spot. It may be up to you to keep yourself safe. Learning the warning signs is really important.
One more thing: please, please keep your internet self separate from your real-world self. I've seen a lot of kids sharing real-world information on their social media profiles recently. That scares me. My job is learning about how criminals attack people with computers. I've learned that it doesn't take a lot of information to hurt people. Keeping your real-world information private is a very easy way to protect yourself from a lot of scary problems. Don't share your name, address, medical diagnoses, or other real-world information online.