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Wattpad is a website (and a phone app) where you can read stories and articles written by other people. You can also share your own stories with the community.
It was created in 2006 as a platform for young writers to get their work out there. It has grown at a swift pace ever since.
What is Wattpad?
Trigger warning: This post includes discussion of sexual content, sexual assault, and incest.
Children love to get lost in immersive worlds like the ones they find in books, movies, and other media. They often create these worlds with the toys and characters from those stories.
Do they love to create their own story, or are they fans of the ones already out there?
Wattpad is a writing and publishing platform where people submit and read stories on their mobile devices.
It is a popular social storytelling platform where people can share their original stories and read those of others.
Wattpad is a fantastic resource that allows you to share your ideas and stories with a large audience of readers.
What kind of content is on Wattpad?
Wattpad focuses on creating a community for readers and writers who enjoy reading and writing. Its users are mostly young females.
Readers can find stories in all genres and tastes.
There are many subcategories of genres, such as fan fiction, mystery, paranormal, werewolves, and LGBTQ+, for readers to choose from.
Wattpad allows people who write to add an air of legitimacy to the writing process, making the process of posting content easier and more attractive.
You can also create book covers to make it seem more realistic.
Stories published on Wattpad can be voted for quality, and readers and writers can see stats on the stories, like the number of views, favorites etc.
Wattpad And The Promise of Publication
Teen author Beth Reekles’ story about a kiss that changes the course of a young girl’s life landed her a book deal after only four months of publishing on Wattpad.
Netflix bought the rights to the book shortly after its publication and made it into a popular film.
Since then, multiple deals have followed for other writers on Wattpad, and they continue to show no sign of slowing down.
This is a big part of building a successful career in writing. It’s the chance to be paid for your work on the platform.
It’s really simple to see how this could entice kids to use their creativity to create stories that could eventually lead to fame and fortune.
I think it’s always a good thing when kids want to write, but Wattpad does have a dark side that parents should know about to keep their children safe.
Inappropriate Content is Rampant on Wattpad
Romance is one of the most popular genres on Wattpad, and these stories often end in a Mature rating.
On Wattpad, content rated Mature can contain explicit sex scenes and graphic depictions of violence. However, there are no restrictions on content based on a user’s age.
As soon as you take a deeper look into Wattpad’s guidelines, it seems to ban almost everything else that could possibly be harmful to its user’s content and the user’s experience.
To get around the Wattpad restrictions, many writers, and commenters will use misspellings and asterisks.
However, like any user-generated content based website or platform, identifying and removing stories that violate the terms will take time, which means people would be able to read these stories till they are taken down or edited.
Dangers Kids May Face on Wattpad
Dark and dysfunctional parts of many peoples’ lives are expressed online through Wattpad, but children that stumble upon stories that contain such content may not be prepared to handle the subject matter.
Graphic descriptions of anorexia may encourage kids who struggle with disordered eating to engage in this behavior.
Glorification of predatory or incestuous relationships is yet another danger, which include student and teacher, daddy and daughter, or daddy and son situations.
These short stories could make kids think these types of relationships are OK or normal, when in reality they’re both illegal and highly dangerous.
Apart from that, it’s important to remember that Wattpad is like any social platform, there’s always a possibility that a stranger could initiate communication with kids, both in private messages and in story comments.
Predators often use flattery and compliments to get into kids’ lives and make them feel special. That’s why we need to teach our kids how to spot predators before they get in.
Talk with your child about using Wattpad, including their desire to use it, what concerns they have, and the dangers of online bullying. Ask them about what Wattpad is known for, and why and how they use it.
You can also talk to them about their favorite stories on the platform so far or encourage them to read their stories aloud in your presence to get an idea of what kind of content is being read by them.
At the end of the day, encouraging your kids to write can be a great thing, but they should also know that they can always come to you with anything that they feel isn’t appropriate for their age or audience.
Your Child’s safety starts with you. Your communication with your kids and what you teach them about the world and its harms can play a great role in how safe they are on the Internet. Specially nowadays, when every kid has a phone or a laptop.