“Sexual Predators Are Grooming Young Teens On Wattpad, A Storytelling App Beloved By Gen Z”

Wattpad is a platform for self-publishing stories and books. “To the 94 million people that use it every month, storytelling platform Wattpad touts itself as a safe space for education and community on the internet, a nurturing place for self-publishing and reading creative writing produced by people as young as 9.”  But Wattpad has a problem. The platform is also a place where youth can be targeted and exploited online. This article helps explain the platform, the struggles Wattpad has with predators online and the overall failing of the platform to remove those stalking youth who use this site. 

From the article: “When Forbes inquired about how it moderates content on its platform, Wattpad spokesperson Hopkinson responded: “When it comes to content violations, our process and philosophy is simple: We don’t debate violations, we delete them from the platform.”

Yet the site is riddled with material that violates these rules. A search for “rape” yielded 152,300 results on Wattpad, including many accounts of sexual assault. A search for “incest” returned 729,000 results. Many of the books Wattpad hosts not only detail nonconsensual sex, but romanticize grooming, rape, pedophilia, self-harm and even eating disorders. A Forbes review found dozens of stories that appear to violate the company’s rules. In one particularly egregious story, the protagonist talks about being repeatedly raped by her brother, starting when she was 9 years old.”

Start the conversation. Ask if your child/student uses Wattpad. Ask them what kind of content they read/write. Open the doors to allow them to talk to a trusted adult. ~Ryan

Read the Forbes article.