What is 4chan?
4chan is an imageboard website that is mostly used by young males. Official demographics state that the most popular age group are those between 18 and 25. However, there are multiple personal stories online of teens who use 4chan.
It was originally created as an answer to Japan’s 2chan and used to discuss anime. However, it now has boards ranging from video gaming to adult content that is easily accessible by all visitors to the site. 4chan is also a source for many internet memes as well as political movements, hacktivism and cyber attacks. As a result, it has been at the centre of many controversies in the media and may impact your teen’s online safety.
How does 4chan work?
Those who use 4chan do not need to sign up. All images and discussion can be shared anonymously. When a user lands on the page, they can choose any of the boards.
A message will then pop up claiming that content is for “mature” users only, disclaiming any harm on the boards and requesting users read the rules. While the site rules state that 4chan is only for 18+, the use of “mature” could be misconstrued as some. For example, a teen landing on the site may consider themselves mature enough to view the content regardless of whether they are a minor.
Users can then ‘Start a New Thread’ with an image and choose to remain anonymous or type in a name. When posted, other users can then reply directly to the original post anonymously as well. However, users’ IP addresses are still tracked and can be banned if site rules are broken. These bans can be appealed.