I found these tags on that post asking adults to list their age. This is one of many who seem to agree with OP’s sentiment.
I think kids on the internet these days–and by “kids” I mean anyone under 18 honestly–need to be re-taught about internet safety and keeping your personal life away from your internet life, for safety reasons. I’ve been noticing this a lot lately, but I’ve found that the younger generations just never learned about Internet safety and keeping your personal information… well, personal.
Listen. I am a 90s kid in my late 20s. Yes, I do list my age on my description, because I feel comfortable doing so. But lately, there’s been an alarming trend where you, the younger generations, expect us to cater to all of your needs and keep you safe. And more, even.
The internet is a big, scary place. People my age and older, and some a little younger, grew up with the internet. We grew up with the dial-up noise and “get off the internet so I can use the phone!” and being limited in the way we interacted with the internet because it was expensive and strange and modems were not a thing. We also grew up with massive internet safety campaigns and worried parents scared of the unknown. Scared of the predator on the other side of the screen. It was normal for parents to be worried and assume predator until proven otherwise.
As such, everyone in my generation and older grew up with a massive internet safety awareness. Don’t give out your personal information, don’t tell them where you live, your name, your age, where you study or what. Say nothing. Share nothing. Most of us have created for ourselves internet personas, much in the way that I am Saku on the internet but someone else in real life.
Yes, the line has blurred somewhat, and over time people have lost the alarm and concern that the internet caused in them. But most of us still remember what it was like back then. Most of us remember the safety rules, remember the techniques and tactics to tell if someone was or wasn’t telling the truth, remember the golden rule about not sharing personal information on the internet.
Because the internet back then was a big, scary place. And the internet now? It still is a big, scary place. It’s just more…. normal. More a part of our everyday lives that we all just sort of take for granted.
What you kids are missing now is that we, as the older generations on the internet, the generations that grew up with the internet, still remember what it was like back then. And we still abide by our internet safety rules.
You all may think that sharing your age on the internet is not a big deal, but it is. Whatever you post on the internet can be used against you, regardless of how “safe” you feel. And one way or another, we are not responsible for you or your internet experiences. We protected ourselves back then, we policed and monitored our own internet content and use, and so should you.
The internet is not yours, it’s all of ours. And we got here first, way before you were even born, in some cases. I’ve been on the internet since I was 9, and that’s well over a decade and a half ago. If anything, fandom spaces are made up primarily of adults. Who do you think writes the good content that you consume? Who do you think produces the best art and the best fics? Who do you think writes the well-written, hot, sexy smut you shouldn’t be reading at 3 in the morning?
When we got here, we all assumed that everyone was older than us on the internet. For some reason that’s changed, and now people assume that everyone’s younger, or their age. But we’re all still here. We’ve been here for the past 15, 20 years. Even longer.
There is nothing wrong with us. We don’t owe you anything. You make your own safety on the internet, and you are the one responsible for making sure you’re safe. That’s not on us, it’s on you.
If you’re uncomfortable talking to an adult on the internet, then you’re more than welcome to unfollow, or block, or whatever. But it’s not our responsibility that you do so. If you want to know something, ask.
Most importantly, we’re not all predators. Don’t shame or fault us for existing on the Internet. We were here before you, and we enjoy things just as you do. They aren’t yours, you don’t own them any more than we do. And we have a right to be here too, without having to bend over backwards for you just for existing.
I find it so weird that people post so much personal information nowadays.
When I first joined the internet in the late 90s, i was in my mid-teens. The big thing was ‘never tell anyone your name’ so I used my nickname. 20 years later… i still don’t use my real name online, and I’m used to being called Cassie that I get confused when someone uses my real name!
Shitty people lie, you kids know that, right? Like how many times have we heard the “He said he was a senior in high school dating a sophomore, but he was actually 28 years old,” story? Why would you possibly believe if someone has their age on their profile? And if it’s just as likely to be a lie as the truth, why does it matter if it’s there at all? I honestly don’t understand this.
This is actually so important, because I’m 16, and I haven’t seen internet safety campaigns since I was in lower primary (like reception, year 1, year 2) which was a decade ago, and it makes me wonder if they teach kids about internet safety anymore. We would get shown videos in ICT about people pretending to be young, and about cyber bullying, and I never hear about them anymore, but I don’t think my younger sister does either, and there seems to be an assumption that kids just know this because they’re given internet access from such a young age, but they’re still impressionable, and so are teenagers, and we get taught about revenge porn but not internet harassment and it can lead to young people being stalked or worse because they dont have it drilled into them that they shouldn’t trust strangers
While I definitely want to and will try to do everything I can to protect the experiences of kids online, it does worry me that the public internet safety campaigns of yore aren’t common anymore… hell, I wasn’t allowed to access the internet in my own room alone until I was 18 and while I definitely didn’t follow that rule (sorry parents) it made me wary of the waters I was wading into.
Also like one of the commenters mentioned, kids, just because someone listed their age and says all the right things doesn’t mean they’re not a predator. Often predators are really fucking good at looking like unproblematic harmless people.
Curate your own experience. Watch yourself. Don’t put everything online. Don’t trust someone just because they seem to have all their information upfront. If you sense something is off, get out, log off, and don’t be afraid to talk to a trusted adult if you need help. This is BASIC internet awareness.
It’s an uncomfortable thought to confront, but if you think every person is safe to talk to just because their profile says they are 16 / close to your age, you’re going to learn the hard way that your wrong.
Even if it actually turns out they actually *are* 16, that doesn’t mean they’re automatically a good person to be friends with, or that they aren’t capable of fomenting an unhealthy relationship with you. “Predators” aren’t the only danger on the internet, and not all predators are x-years-older than you.
You need to keep yourselves safe, but this demand that everyone post their ages, as if age is the one-and-only way to tell that you shouldn’t be talking to someone, is only going to lead you into a false sense of security.
And if you’re young and putting your actual age up, it’s like waving a red flag at those who are *looking* for younger people to influence. Did none of you think about that before pushing for this age reveal bs??
I find your lack of internet safety disturbing.
For real, I have a fandom email account which does not have my real name attached. That Internet persona is eighteen this year. As far as anybody’s concerned, with about five exceptions, one of whom is my fiancé, that online persona is my name. I don’t use any other names online.
I do not use my real name online.