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Experiences Dealing With The Over 18 Rule

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CookieGalaxy

New Member
Not going to lie about this one, I really hate this rule. It's like everytime I find a good partner, they only want over 18 people. Now I get that it's for reasons I already know but I don't like it that's is extremely common nowadays. I really hate it that's the rule is common all the time. Has anyone experience the similar thing with the rule or it is just only me?
 

Chordling

Bardbarian, the Divine Chordia of Concordia
Moderator
 

Onmyoji

HanGuang-Jun
Moderator
Supporter
In most cases people add this rule not because they think minors are bad writers.
It's for their own comfort.

Think about it that way, would you really be comfortable roleplaying with someone the age of your parents? Or even grandparents?
Would it be fun for you to talk to someone who doesn't relate to how you spend your day, never heard of the shows you watched, doesn't understand things you're into? Roleplaying is not only the story, it's also OOC interaction, and that's where some things become too uncomfortable for many. And it works both ways.

It really feels discouraging because it seems like people are excluding you. But realistically, there is no magic solution other than find players of your age or adults who don't mind roleplaying with minors. They exist! And can probably deal with the age gap thing better than others, as it's not something everyone is good at.
 

Jannah

I suppose I'm back. Hello again.
Not going to lie about this one, I really hate this rule. It's like everytime I find a good partner, they only want over 18 people. Now I get that it's for reasons I already know but I don't like it that's is extremely common nowadays. I really hate it that's the rule is common all the time. Has anyone experience the similar thing with the rule or it is just only me?

I sometimes get the opposite problem in that I'll find something I like but the person is under 18. Due to my age I'm only comfortable playing with those over 18. However, I generally don't ask anyone's age so if a person does not advertise their age then they may slip under the radar.
 

Jannah

I suppose I'm back. Hello again.
In most cases people add this rule not because they think minors are bad writers.

I honestly don't think this is why. As one of those who will not play with minors I'll say this has nothing to do with it. For me it is a comfort thing since I'm 30, but it's nothing to do with me thinking they're bad writers. I've seen plenty of minors who write better than I do.
 

Onmyoji

HanGuang-Jun
Moderator
Supporter
There is no contradiction. I meant it's NOT what most people would think. Even though I've seen arguments like "minors have less life experience so their writing is worse" but I don't think it's always true. They may have less experience themselves but they could have been reading a lot. Even adults have to research and read about things they don't know because you can't have sufficient knowledge of everything you might want to write about.

I think it's generally because of personal comfort.
 

GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
CookieGalaxy CookieGalaxy

I can understand the frustration about the rule that seems to be more and more common in role-playing these days. As someone who's over 30 I find it frustrating when someone puts out a rule that says "nobody over 21, please." Not nearly as common. But all the same when it does pop up I respect it... But it still sucks. Especially when the subject of the RP is of great interest to me.

Momentary tangent incoming, but it'll make sense in a little bit.

In role-playing and storytelling there is an element called "subtext." It's the "Show, Don't Tell" rule of storytelling applied to dialogue. And it means "the genuine meaning behind the words which are on the surface."

For example: When a character in a story says "I'm fine," but their body language conveys the sense that they want to leave or they're sporting clear injuries, we know that they're actually saying "I'm not okay but I don't want you worrying about me."

When someone puts the "18+ only" rule on a role-play, that's real life subtext. They're politely saying "I do not want to engage with anyone below the age of 18 because of (insert personal reason that they'd rather not make public)." That reason could be many things including bad experiences with minors in the past, personal comfort, or fear about their home country's laws and consequences of interacting with minors online.

That last one isn't talked about a lot, but it's a major source of concern for some adults in certain areas of the world where online interactions with minors can lead to a lot of personal trouble if anything goes awry. It only takes one harassment/threat report from a minor against an adult online (whether it's legit or not) to potentially trigger a criminal investigation which could have major consequences on their personal and social lives if it goes far enough. That, or a public outburst against said adult using text taken out of context from their conversations and the sharing of links to their profile and their personal avatar on the website in question to paint them as a pedophile or some kind of ageist or elitist asshole and make them the victim of cancel culture if the outburst hits the Twitter/Reddit scene. And while this is exceptionally rare, it does happen.

Is it fair to impose the rule simply because they had a bad experience (or a few) or don't feel comfortable engaging with minors? Not really.

But is there anything we can do about it? No. It's their right to create an RP and ask that their RP partners are closer to their own age.

I sincerely hope you don't give up on role-playing because of all this. I know it's not fun and I know it's extremely frustrating to see that rule everywhere especially when so many of the RP's are potentially of great interest to you. But it goes both ways. Some younger role-players don't want to engage with "older" role-players as well. And we all have to accept that reality too.

The best advice I can give is to start developing a resistance or a sense of indifference to it. If someone imposes the rule, then chances are high they're someone you wouldn't get along with anyway and it's not worth your time or the potential headache to dwell on it or confront them about it. Focus on those RP's which don't impose the rule, and let those who are imposing it have their way in their own space. Whether it's a comfort thing, born of fear about laws, or simply that they're closed-minded, it doesn't matter. Just ignore them and focus on yourself and those who are open to letting you share an experience with them.

Good luck!
 

Featherstone

Fleet-fingered Father of Falcons
Yo! Similar experience here--I just turned eighteen this past January, and have been rping here since I was sixteen. Like you, I found that 18+ rule freaking infuriating, and honestly I still mostly avoid folks who have it just because it bothers me that much; even as I've gotten older, I do see the appeal in it. I've never found another minor on this site who I felt I clicked with, and there's been times where even I have felt a temptation to put that rule in my searches just to filter out more inquiries that will never work out, although ultimately I never have simply on the basis that I remember going through that and have no desire to put anyone else through the same thing.

Like Onmyoji Onmyoji and Jannah Jannah said, sometimes it's a comfort thing. For me, I've always found that incredibly bothersome--I understand that most folks click better with people around their own age, but I started taking college classes when I was in eighth grade. Most of my interests made me friends who were adults in their sixties since I was nine years old, and today, I have exactly one friend who is under twenty that I consider close and I vibe with, and I grew up with her since I was a toddler. Since I was sixteen--maybe younger--people have thought I was in my mid-twenties after real life conversation and interaction, on the regular, for meeting after meeting after meeting, until I disillusioned them. I started working towards my career (and have been on the same niche track ever since) before I was ten years old and ran into the same thing there--I was qualified more than adults around me were but still told 'no' or even had people get nasty just...because. Age. Even if, had they not seen my face, they never would have known.

Most of my partners, and my friends, are at least twenty; most of them are closer to twenty-five or in their thirties. Trust me: I understand what it is not to click with younger folks. That's been my entire life, as one of them, since before high school, and I don't want this to sound in any way arrogant or conceited--I wish I'd fit in better, and my neurodivergence comes with its heavy drawbacks. Frankly, that's one of them.

So my thought has always been--if you literally cannot tell that I'm a teenager, and I "pass" as someone in my twenties, then why in the world does that number matter to you unless it's for legal reasons? And I'll be straightforward here: I've met people in their 40's that act like 12-year-olds more than I ever did. I know people older than me who were worse writers with shallower characters and even less maturity--especially when compared to people who were only two or three years older than me, but were still allowed to write these people while I wasn't.

If academically, socially, and in terms of my writing quality, I read as someone in my twenties, how is it fair to tell me I'm not allowed as a byproduct of existing with a certain number? And for me, that was painful past writing. My friendships--then and now--very rarely come with younger people, and the internet has become my haven because real-life folks do find out my age through the weird little things that happen. Maybe my mom picks me up, maybe they run into my brother at the school, maybe we're grabbing a meal and my unemployed high school self has to figure out navigating not having a job and also being expected to be another adult--but this doesn't happen online. Online, it's just me. Me, and my partner, and my writing, and that works. It means I can have friends with people I can have conversations with, or participate in activities with other people that I'm on a closer wavelength to without feeling like an alien every third sentence.

This isn't to say I don't think people should have a right to write their own rules for their search threads, or that these frustrations are somehow their responsibility. I just wish people thought about it a little bit more and realized that there's countless immature people over eighteen, too; and that those of us who are younger and a bit weird for our age are in the exact same position as you are of searching for someone with maturity, but, unlike you, are constantly blocked by those age barriers at every corner. We don't get the luxury of sorting through people by age and, instead, are the target of those limits. Also, for the record, I don't rp with people who put down the "no one over x age," either--I find it equally stupid, I just don't have to deal with being targeted by it yet. Age is more than a number but it's also a huge generalization in every aspect.

I understand the annoyance of filtering through more people to find the right one. I understand that finding a new partner is exhausting as-is. I understand how often younger folks just...don't quite get there, even if they're excellent writers. I understand how much easier it is to just plop that rule in and already have that big filter in who hits you up for writing. But if you cannot tell the difference and it's not the law that you're worried about--what concern is it to you when I was born and how many years I've been on this planet?

As far as advice? My solution was to make my own search threads and never mention my age. Then, many people who only rped with 18+ would come to me, and not ask me my age. Now I'm not responsible for lying--because I'm not, they approached me, and usually I don't know if they use age barriers or not because they never put it in their introductions (usually I found out later in OOC)--but don't have to contend with the obvious age barrier. If the age is that much of a concern for them, it's their responsibility to bring it up when looking for a new partner, not mine to immediately tell someone how old I am and treat me with stigma for it. Same way I often prefer not to tell people I'm trans off the bat, I just tell them I'm a guy--if they're uncomfortable with that aspect of my identity for one reason or another, it's on them to say they only want to rp with people who were born male, or aren't in the queer community, or whatever (obviously the latter isn't so common but the general point still stands; if it matters to them, they ought to bring it up, rather than it being my responsibility to open myself up to being treated with prejudice). The other thing I did a few times was shoot people a PM who had the over-18 rule, bring a writing sample, explain my situation, drop in ideas, and implore them to consider me regardless. It rarely worked, but now and again it got me somewhere.

Good luck, and stick with it! You'll find some golden opportunities anyways. It just takes persistence and sometimes hucking a pillow across the room.
 
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nerdy tangents

art by tausune
Featherstone Featherstone
So I think something people forget about the under 18 rule, and I myself am guilty of this as well, is that a majority of the time it’s related to past trauma.

The reason that writing with minors is “uncomfortable” to adults is almost always because they were personally in a toxic relationship with adult partners as a child or they know someone who was.

If you look at the worst experiences thread there some pretty chilling things about adults harassing, propositioning, stalking, bullying, etc people who were underage.

If that is your frame of reference for adults communicating with minors I think it’s rather justifiable to be uncomfortable.

I don’t think anyone legitimately thinks there is a writing difference or even a maturity difference between 17 and 18.

They just understand how upsetting it was for them to be put in a situation where they had to deal with pushy adults and don’t want to put another minor in the same situation.

Now do I necessarily think that any interaction between an adult and a minor is automatically going to be toxic or uncomfortable? Certainly not. I roleplay with people of all ages and treat them exactly the same.

But then again I started roleplaying shortly before I turned 18 on a site even stricter about “adult” themes than this one. So any toxic people would have been banned from the site long before they became an issue.

The site I went to next was much more toxic but I was an adult dealing with other adults who might attempt to cross boundaries. So it made me a little more confident then I would have been as a teen. (Plus again I was lucky in that I found mostly decent partners with only a few weirdos here and there.)
 

Merciless Medic

Walking Pokemon Dictionary
Yo! Similar experience here--I just turned eighteen this past January, and have been rping here since I was sixteen. Like you, I found that 18+ rule freaking infuriating, and honestly I still mostly avoid folks who have it just because it bothers me that much; even as I've gotten older, I do see the appeal in it. I've never found another minor on this site who I felt I clicked with, and there's been times where even I have felt a temptation to put that rule in my searches just to filter out more inquiries that will never work out, although ultimately I never have simply on the basis that I remember going through that and have no desire to put anyone else through the same thing.

Like Onmyoji Onmyoji and Jannah Jannah said, sometimes it's a comfort thing. For me, I've always found that incredibly bothersome--I understand that most folks click better with people around their own age, but I started taking college classes when I was in eighth grade. Most of my interests made me friends who were adults in their sixties since I was nine years old, and today, I have exactly one friend who is under twenty that I consider close and I vibe with, and I grew up with her since I was a toddler. Since I was sixteen--maybe younger--people have thought I was in my mid-twenties after real life conversation and interaction, on the regular, for meeting after meeting after meeting, until I disillusioned them. I started working towards my career (and have been on the same niche track ever since) before I was ten years old and ran into the same thing there--I was qualified more than adults around me were but still told 'no' or even had people get nasty just...because. Age. Even if, had they not seen my face, they never would have known.

Most of my partners, and my friends, are at least twenty; most of them are closer to twenty-five or in their thirties. Trust me: I understand what it is not to click with younger folks. That's been my entire life, as one of them, since before high school, and I don't want this to sound in any way arrogant or conceited--I wish I'd fit in better, and my neurodivergence comes with its heavy drawbacks. Frankly, that's one of them.

So my thought has always been--if you literally cannot tell that I'm a teenager, and I "pass" as someone in my twenties, then why in the world does that number matter to you unless it's for legal reasons? And I'll be straightforward here: I've met people in their 40's that act like 12-year-olds more than I ever did. I know people older than me who were worse writers with shallower characters and even less maturity--especially when compared to people who were only two or three years older than me, but were still allowed to write these people while I wasn't.

If academically, socially, and in terms of my writing quality, I read as someone in my twenties, how is it fair to tell me I'm not allowed as a byproduct of existing with a certain number? And for me, that was painful past writing. My friendships--then and now--very rarely come with younger people, and the internet has become my haven because real-life folks do find out my age through the weird little things that happen. Maybe my mom picks me up, maybe they run into my brother at the school, maybe we're grabbing a meal and my unemployed high school self has to figure out navigating not having a job and also being expected to be another adult--but this doesn't happen online. Online, it's just me. Me, and my partner, and my writing, and that works. It means I can have friends with people I can have conversations with, or participate in activities with other people that I'm on a closer wavelength to without feeling like an alien every third sentence.

This isn't to say I don't think people should have a right to write their own rules for their search threads, or that these frustrations are somehow their responsibility. I just wish people thought about it a little bit more and realized that there's countless immature people over eighteen, too; and that those of us who are younger and a bit weird for our age are in the exact same position as you are of searching for someone with maturity, but, unlike you, are constantly blocked by those age barriers at every corner. We don't get the luxury of sorting through people by age and, instead, are the target of those limits. Also, for the record, I don't rp with people who put down the "no one over x age," either--I find it equally stupid, I just don't have to deal with being targeted by it yet. Age is more than a number but it's also a huge generalization in every aspect.

I understand the annoyance of filtering through more people to find the right one. I understand that finding a new partner is exhausting as-is. I understand how often younger folks just...don't quite get there, even if they're excellent writers. I understand how much easier it is to just plop that rule in and already have that big filter in who hits you up for writing. But if you cannot tell the difference and it's not the law that you're worried about--what concern is it to you when I was born and how many years I've been on this planet?

As far as advice? My solution was to make my own search threads and never mention my age. Then, many people who only rped with 18+ would come to me, and not ask me my age. Now I'm not responsible for lying--because I'm not, they approached me, and usually I don't know if they use age barriers or not because they never put it in their introductions (usually I found out later in OOC)--but don't have to contend with the obvious age barrier. If the age is that much of a concern for them, it's their responsibility to bring it up when looking for a new partner, not mine to immediately tell someone how old I am and treat me with stigma for it. Same way I often prefer not to tell people I'm trans off the bat, I just tell them I'm a guy--if they're uncomfortable with that aspect of my identity for one reason or another, it's on them to say they only want to rp with people who were born male, or aren't in the queer community, or whatever (obviously the latter isn't so common but the general point still stands; if it matters to them, they ought to bring it up, rather than it being my responsibility to open myself up to being treated with prejudice). The other thing I did a few times was shoot people a PM who had the over-18 rule, bring a writing sample, explain my situation, drop in ideas, and implore them to consider me regardless. It rarely worked, but now and again it got me somewhere.

Good luck, and stick with it! You'll find some golden opportunities anyways. It just takes persistence and sometimes hucking a pillow across the room.

I agree with you there. I am not a fan of the stigmatization that hovers around the over-18 rule, however I believe that the reason the rule is there has nothing to do with being an asshole or anything else. I haven't made an interest check yet, but it's probably going to include a maturity rating. Most of the stuff I want to include are very heavy on subject material, not just your inclusion of your run-of-the-mill drugs and alcohol, but also subject material some people may not want to RP with (barring having the plot be mainly political, I don't do well with those plots). Of course, if something bothers someone, I won't include it in the RP. This would give teenagers who feel they are more mature have a gander at RPing with someone who is an adult. I just ask they treat the material with respect and not romanticize their usage, which a lot of starting RPers do (I was one of them), and most starting RPers are in their teens. Does it matter that they are younger? No, but it does mean they may not have the life experiences or sensitivity/understanding on how to approach these subjects without being unknowingly rude or ignorant. I should have more tolerance to it because I, too, used to take heavy materials and just kind of shit on it, but I know now that is just one way ticket to being dropped faster than a sack of hot potatoes and I do appreciate the research done with those subjects to be taken seriously. But I know I'll end up lecturing about it, and I want to avoid that unless people for some reason want that.

Personally, I won't get into details, but I have gone through a "family member" brought in by marriage who was very close to me, who was an adult and an authority figure over my 13-year-old self, and he abused it to try and groom me and it was obvious he wanted to push more with the advances. While nothing went too far, I have mentally shattered since then, so I am more than understanding when people add the over-18 rule. It is so they don't end up saying something that is taken wrong or go through issues regarding someone's age and helicopter parents (or just parents in general if they are not okay with their 15-year-old talking on the internet; I know mine wasn't until I was 17). Putting someone through an uncomfortable experience is something none of us (unless you are a particular kind of sadist or just don't care about people in general) want to put others through, especially those who may not know better. Of course, your situation is very different. You are more mature than most adults (I mean, I find some adults on here less mature than my own daughter, but that's just a sad fact nowadays). Which means you are alright with the material I'm okay with sharing (for the most part, and this is just a prediction).

Is it frustrating? Of course. Should it be changed? Not really. Those comfort reasons are not only because people may not click well with the younger generation, but it's also because some younger audience members will want to do things outside of their comfort zones due to wanting to experiment and possibly "look cool" or look like they know what they are doing sometimes that could put them in a very uncomfortable situation (I was also one of those kids) and we don't know what's going on through the other side of the screen. We can't read the emotion in writing most times unless it's spelled out for us or if the writing patterns change differently. Knowing their age can help mitigate how far some subject material can be taken (whether it's mental illness if they are particularly against it among others), so we can better make it a safer environment for the two RP partners without feeling they are delving into something they can't back out of. I know I felt roped into some RPs when I was younger, but I didn't want to tell them for fear I could lose the creative output even though it was actually bothering me and affecting my day-to-day life, regardless of how much I denied it taking up my life. While it may not be for every teenager out there, the rule is there to make sure that doesn't happen, regardless of maturity and how much they could handle.

When I'm talking about maturity, I'm also talking about emotional maturity and being able to handle things with an appropriate state of mind with reasoning and logic with a bit of a gut feeling or some emotion thrown in there. Not everybody has it, not even all adults have this, but I know that not all teenagers have a lack of this. It's just a little more prevalent in kids in middle to high school age is all.
 
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John Wellington Wells

Dealer in magic and spells
So my thought has always been--if you literally cannot tell that I'm a teenager, and I "pass" as someone in my twenties, then why in the world does that number matter to you unless it's for legal reasons?
I never really got this argument.

While yes, some minors are going to be more mature or better writers or whatever than certain adults, those are typically exceptions to the rule.

Some people are always going to be caught in the crossfire, so to speak, and while that does suck there's not much you can do about it. I mean, if you're going to make an exception for every minor who says they're mature, you're going to make an exception for every minor.
 

grimmmy

Junior Member
i'm going to also put my own experience forward too: i was never harassed or exposed to explicit content, but in my teens i rp'd and interacted majorly with a close knit group of adults ranging 20-27. there was a very clear power dynamic between me at 16 and the adults–for example, i was left out of a lot of conversations. it wasn't the same as having connections with people my age. i would genuinely encourage younger rpers, if they want to have those social interactions behind the characters they play, to make them with people around their age that they can relate to.

but you have anonymity on the internet, too, so you can take advantage of that. i majorly see a 18+ requirement on 1x1 rps. maybe try some group rps instead?
 

Werepunk

I live, I die, I live again
I'd like to chime in as someone who is 25 and strictly does not roleplay with minors. My absolute minimum age requirement for a roleplay partners is 18, and I would actually prefer people be at least 21.

I have a lot of reasons for this, and I hope I can reassure OP by saying that minors being "bad writers" is absolutely not one of them. I've absolutely seen writing samples from minors that have excellent prose. I have no doubt that there are plenty of minors who are just as good if not better writers than me, and I've also seen plenty of adults who aren't what most people would consider "good writers."

Here are my actual reasons:

1. Nearly all of my roleplays have some element of romance, and I'm less likely to stay interested in a roleplay with no romantic subplots. As an adult, I feel that roleplaying romance with minors would be deeply inappropriate on my part. Yes, even if there's no smut, even if the characters themselves are all appropriately aged... There's still a minor on the other end of that computer, and I would quite frankly feel like a creep if I were to roleplay with that level of intimacy with a child.

2. If a minor's parent/guardian were to find out that I was roleplaying with them as an adult I could get into serious trouble. All it would take is for your parent to read my post over your shoulder, feel like it's inappropriate, and decide to take action against me. My reputation could be severely harmed, and my life could be outright ruined. Even though the chance of that actually happening is probably tiny, I'm not willing to take that risk when there are plenty of adults I can roleplay with instead.

3. This is the biggest one. In one on one interactions between adults and minors, adults have a huge amount of responsibility imo. I'm not willing to take on that responsibility for a hobby. As an adult, I have to be very aware that I have some level of power over this minor that I'm interacting with; any line I accidentally cross, and any mistake I make in our interactions can have lasting consequences for them. So I would feel the need to carefully monitor every single thing I say, every joke I make, every tone I take, to make sure I don't accidentally hurt this young person. When I'm just trying to have fun with my favorite hobby, I am not willing to take on that level of responsibility, so I simply don't interact with minors in that kind of environment.

Furthermore, minors do not have the same life experience adults do, and it is a scientific fact that minors' brains have not finished developing. It would be irresponsible and unfair of me to expect every minor to have the same level of self-awareness, impulse control, and judgement that an adult should have. A minor might be literally unable to tell when someone is being inappropriate with them, or realize when they themselves are being inappropriate; therefore, I would feel obligated to police their behavior as well as my own in order to be sure that neither of us is being inappropriate. (And yes, I'm aware that not all minors have poor judgement and some are quite mature for their age, but I won't know that about you for sure just by talking to you for a short while. So I need to err on the side of caution to ensure that minor's safety as well as my own comfort.)


Sorry if this is too long or comes across as aggressive, but this is something I have given a lot of thought and feel very strongly about. I've seen some people imply that people with a "no minors" rule are wrong or bad, and I strongly resent it. I have this rule for my own comfort and safety, and there is nothing wrong with that.
 
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Jannah

I suppose I'm back. Hello again.
I'd like to chime in as someone who is 25 and strictly does not roleplay with minors. My absolute minimum age requirement for a roleplay partners is 18, and I would actually prefer people be at least 21.

I have a lot of reasons for this, and I hope I can reassure OP by saying that minors being "bad writers" is absolutely not one of them. I've absolutely seen writing samples from minors more recently that have excellent prose. I have no doubt that there are plenty of minors who are just as good if not better writers than me, and I've also seen plenty of adults who aren't what most people would consider "good writers." Here are my actual reasons:

1. Nearly all of my roleplays have some element of romance, and I'm less likely to stay interested in a roleplay with no romantic subplots. As an adult, I feel that roleplaying romance with minors would be deeply inappropriate on my part. Yes, even if there's no smut, even if the characters themselves are all appropriately aged... There's still a minor on the other end of that computer, and I would quite frankly feel like a creep if I were to roleplay with that level of intimacy with a child.

2. If a minor's parent/guardian were to find out that I was roleplaying with them as an adult, especially if it was a romantic roleplay, I could get into serious trouble. All it would take is for your parent to read my post over your shoulder, feel like it's inappropriate, and decide to take action against me. My reputation could be severely harmed, and my life could be outright ruined. Even though the chance of that actually happening is probably tiny, I'm not willing to take that risk when there are plenty of adults I can roleplay with instead.

3. This is the biggest one. In one on one interactions between adults and minors, adults have a huge amount of responsibility imo, and I am not willing to take on that responsibility for a hobby. As an adult, I have to be very aware that I have some level of power over this minor that I'm interacting with, and therefore anything I might say, any mistake I make in our interactions, can have lasting consequences for them. So I would feel the need to carefully monitor every single thing I say, every joke I make, every tone I take, to make sure I don't accidentally hurt this young person. When I'm just trying to have fun with my favorite hobby, I am not willing to take on that level of responsibility, so I simply don't interact with minors in that kind of environment.

Furthermore, minors do not have the same life experience adults do, and it is a scientific fact that minors' brains have not finished developing. It would be irresponsible and unfair of me to expect every minor to have the same level of self-awareness, impulse control, and judgement that an adult should have. Therefore, I would feel obligated to always be the one policing their behavior as well as my own in order to be sure that neither of us is being inappropriate, because they might literally not be able to recognize when if they are being inappropriate. (And yes, I'm aware that not all minors have poor judgement and some are quite mature for their age, but I won't know that about you for sure just by talking to you for a short while. Therefore I need to err on the side of caution to ensure that minor's safety as well as my own comfort.)


Sorry if this is too long or comes across as aggressive, but this is something I have given a lot of thought and feel very strongly about. I've seen some people imply that people with a "no minors" rule are wrong or bad, and I do resent it. I have this rule for my own comfort and safety, and there is nothing wrong with that.

These are more or less my reasons for not RPing with anyone under 18 too. While not all my RP's are romantic in nature a lot of them do still deal with mature complex themes that some minors may not have the life experience to fully grasp or understand.
 

Werepunk

I live, I die, I live again
I originally edited this into my second post, but decided it'd be better suited for its own post.

After reading some of the posts here more closely, I'm a bit alarmed.

I agree that "adult's only" roleplayers absolutely bear the bulk of the responsibility in making sure everyone we approach for a roleplay is an adult; we should always do our due diligence, and if we don't, we're at fault. But it's also very unethical and wrong for minors to lie about their age to get an adult to roleplay with them, and this includes lies of omission.

It's really not okay to let an "adult's only" roleplayer believe you're an adult when you're not-- remember that they would not be consenting to roleplay with you if they knew you were a minor, and consent under false pretenses isn't consent. Again, just to reiterate, the adult in that situation absolutely should have been more responsible and they are definitely the one in the wrong. But that doesn't mean it's okay to violate their consent.

You don't have to tell them your age if you're not comfortable, and I'd actually encourage you not to. But you can say "I don't meet your age requirement" without giving a specific age. Or you could be more general and say something like, "I'm sorry, I actually don't think we'd be a good fit as roleplay partners."
 
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nerdy tangents

art by tausune
So I will say this re:life experiences. Not all experiences happen at the same age universally. To use a very simple example of this, let's talk college. Yes the stereotypical assumption is that you will graduate high school and go to college. But not everyone gets that privilege. Hell not everyone graduates high school at 18 in and of itself. My job has an entire program dedicated to helping adults finish their high school diploma and get access to a college degree.

So when I see people assume that "Oh well this person is under eighteen therefore they cannot possibly understand or empathize with my life experiences" I am genuinely perplexed. Similarly to Featherstone Featherstone I have spent most of my life gravitating towards older people for company. Whenever I was forced to go to Church I would spend far more time in the kitchen with the older women than I would sitting in Sunday school with the kids my own age.

And even now at 30 I rarely seek out people exactly my same age. I tend to befriend people purely based on their willingness to listen to me rant about Harry Potter for hours on end. Not because they meet a certain age requirement.

To be clear I am not saying this to convince people to change their under eighteen rule. I'm just putting in my experience as someone who both was the younger person hanging out with older people AND who will roleplay with minors now if they happen to be interested in my ideas. Teens are perfectly able to connect with adults without having shared their exact lived experiences. They might not necessarily understand the nuance of every situation but to be fair there are people my exact age who couldn't find nuance with a map and a magical spell.
 

Werepunk

I live, I die, I live again
So I will say this re:life experiences. Not all experiences happen at the same age universally. To use a very simple example of this, let's talk college. Yes the stereotypical assumption is that you will graduate high school and go to college. But not everyone gets that privilege. Hell not everyone graduates high school at 18 in and of itself. My job has an entire program dedicated to helping adults finish their high school diploma and get access to a college degree.

So when I see people assume that "Oh well this person is under eighteen therefore they cannot possibly understand or empathize with my life experiences" I am genuinely perplexed. Similarly to Featherstone I have spent most of my life gravitating towards older people for company. Whenever I was forced to go to Church I would spend far more time in the kitchen with the older women than I would sitting in Sunday school with the kids my own age.

And even now at 30 I rarely seek out people exactly my same age. I tend to befriend people purely based on their willingness to listen to me rant about Harry Potter for hours on end. Not because they meet a certain age requirement.

To be clear I am not saying this to convince people to change their under eighteen rule. I'm just putting in my experience as someone who both was the younger person hanging out with older people AND who will roleplay with minors now if they happen to be interested in my ideas. Teens are perfectly able to connect with adults without having shared their exact lived experiences. They might not necessarily understand the nuance of every situation but to be fair there are people my exact age who couldn't find nuance with a map and a magical spell.

I'd like to add that I do actually agree with this as well. Interacting with people with different life experiences can actually improve your writing and make for a better story, as different people can bring their own perspectives to it. For me, it's just that I can find plenty of adults with different perspectives than mine, so I don't feel like I need to open my roleplays up to minors to get the diversity I enjoy.

I also don't think there's anything wrong with adults who do choose to roleplay with minors (so long as everything's appropriate and the adult understands the responsibility they're taking on.) It's just not for me, that's all, and I'm hoping to convince people to be more respectful of that.

Also (I don't think you were addressing me, but I do want to clarify just in case) when I mentioned life experiences, I didn't mean it in the sense that "this person can't relate to me because I have more life experience." I meant that as an adult, odds are I am more experienced in life and more experienced in online safety, therefore I have an advantage over this person that I need to be aware of.
 

lady

𝐰𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐭𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝.
this is mostly a rarer case, but here's a quick story that recently came to my attention. as an adolescent and teenager, my internet friends were usually older than me. in particular, when i was fourteen/fifteen i roleplayed and was friends with a group of people who were all older than me: the youngest by only a couple of months and the oldest being at least nineteen/twenty (we'll call this person, D). whilst i don't think that sort of friendship alone is particularly inappropriate, D was (admittedly) very authoritative and everyone looked up to them in one way or another. and at the time D would always describe themselves as the "mom" of the group, but in hindsight there was an obvious complex where they almost saw themselves as a leader to the group; in a way, they saw themselves as bigger and better—they absolutely had a lot of influence over the group, and there was a power indifference. they weren't a particularly nice person either, despite them coming across as such. for example, D, a twenty old, tried making it out that i, a fifteen year old (who was going through a lot of personal stuff might i add), literally had narcissistic personality disorder—which affected me, in the long term, more than i care to admit. i also knew other people my age they treated poorly

anyway, i only found this out in the past week because i haven't been a part of this group for years. but all of this culminates when D must have been twenty-one/twenty-two at the time, and they eventually tried meeting up with a sixteen year old in the group and going on a date with them. of course, the sixteen year old brought their parent along and i'm sure you can presume the parent wasn't happy in the slightest

as i said, this is obviously much much more extreme but it's still a good example of why both minors and adults should be careful of interacting with each other. even excluding the part about D being a groomer, they had a huge, unhealthy amount of influence over people solely because they were a lot older, and (maybe consciously or subconsciously, i don't know) took advantage of that. like someone else mentioned, there are other cases where adults harassed, bullied, or were inappropriate to minors in roleplaying

this was kind of rambling, and my sincerest apologies if it wasn't even on topic, but as someone else mentioned: we, as adults, have an inherent responsibility over minors, and many do not want to take that on, which is completely valid and understandable. i, myself, have just turned twenty this past day, so whilst i've barely entered adulthood, i'm now relatively uncomfortable being friends with anyone younger than seventeen (i'm cool with someone being seventeen if they're almost eighteen). i may have brief conversations with those much younger than me but i won't try to become good friends nor share much of my personal life with them. the 18+ rule sucks, i get it, i was like that once, but it really is for the safety and comfort of a lot of people
 
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Featherstone

Fleet-fingered Father of Falcons
On mobile, so forgive length/poor syntax and grammar and any typos. I do want to make clear that I have 0 problems with 18+ rules around things like liability and responsibility, and I understand that precocious folks are in the minority. My annoyance is more with people who set that limit flippantly and/or off of an assumption that they can’t connect with anyone younger, explore more mature themes (ofc this feeds back into liability and such but I mean on a capability level), write as well, or other things of this nature.

Furthermore, I WHOLLY concur about lies of omission. Whenever I’ve discovered that someone I’m rping with has an age limit, I tell them if I’m outside of that limit—no exceptions. But if someone responds to my thread, never asks my age, never links me to their thread expressing a limit, I don’t feel under any obligation to put it on the table. But I absolutely am not supporting lying, nor do I think that people don’t have a right to put down whatever rules they want—it’s their choice.

Mostly, I just wish people were more willing to give younger folks a chance—and I know it can be a pain in the ass, again, I’ve run into the same struggle even as a minor—and thought more carefully about WHY they are setting this limit, and were more open about hearing “kids” out when they’re upfront about their age but are asking for a chance. Personally, I’ve never used an age limit (no duh) and am very choosy about partners—and I don’t keep most people I start rps with—and have generally found age to be of little influence. If people are mature and capable and we click, they find me regardless. If not, it doesn’t work out. Putting down higher expectations naturally draws older people because that’s more commonly where they’re at, and I don’t need to tell people no just bc of said age.

Not going into detail but I’ve been the target of creepy and predatory adults myself. I do understand the complexity and don’t think an age limit is wrong by default; I just think that often, it’s haphazardly tossed in bc “ew kids” and carries a close mindedness with it that can be harmful. No one is under any obligation to go out of the way for strangers that might or might not cross their path, either—but sometimes being open to that can really make a difference for someone like me. That’s all.
 

nerdy tangents

art by tausune
So lady lady I will counter that with my own experience as someone who again was a youngster surrounded by people older than me. Again ranging from maybe a year to maybe half a decade. One of the first really long term group roleplays I went in had a fairly active chat (I forget the name but it was basically the prototype for Discord). No one was ever inappropriate or acted like they were the queen bee. If anything the older members were really great about helping the younger members out. They helped us come up with characters, helped us write out storylines, and just in general chatted with us about our lives. The group was an X-Men roleplay so there wasn't really any kind of focus on romance, so there was never any kind of creepy boundary crossing that comes up in those type situations.

Looking back on it that group was pretty influential in me developing a lasting love for roleplay. It wasn't what introduced me to the medium but it was what introduced me to the sense of community roleplay can bring. That sense that I can talk about a shared interest with people who are totally different to me. Both in terms of how much they know about the interest itself and just how they grew up.

As such I think I never developed a lot of the unconscious fears some others in this thread have. I do not automatically sexualize interactions between adults and minors, nor do I find them "inappropriate" or "taking advantage". Because the behavior that was modeled to me was respectful, helpful, and extremely positive.

Therefore I walk into all interactions with minors in that same light. I see it as a fun opportunity to share something I love with a new generation and also to help give them tips that will help them into the future. If I can be even a small fraction as instrumental in their love of this hobby as the folks of that X-Men roleplay were for me then I consider it well worth it.
 

Daisie

RpN's demon dragon bodyguard
Moderator
What an interesting conversation!

Almost a year ago, this discussion popped up, as it does now and again. I remember providing some statistics regarding age requirements in the first page of the 1x1 recruitment section. Out of 25 threads, here were those statistics:

8 of the threads had some sort of age requirement.
7 of said threads demanded their partner to be 18+. 1 of them demanded 17+. 1 of the 18+ age requirements was not strict, the OP stating that they weren't stingy about it.

17 of the threads had no age requirements whatsoever.

I decided to check again today, and I thought it was interesting how that has changed. Here are the statistics as of just a few minutes ago:

13 of the threads had some sort of age requirement.
11 of them demanded their partner be 18+, 2 of them demanded 17+.

12 of the threads did not provide a limit.

So the number of age restrictions has heightened slightly! Of course there's some randomness/luck involved there, so naturally this will fluctuate. But still, I thought I'd share this tidbit. :) Continue!
 

Deadwood Deer

Overthinking Till My Death
My perspective is thus: I started role-playing when I was 13. I started on this site when I was 14-15. Now, almost 4 years later I'm 18, and now I'm looking back at what I used to write, and what many of my minor-friendly RPs were about, and I'm just not interested in some of that stuff anymore. The stories I want to tell, subjects I want to explore, etc, I personally feel like they aren't subjects that it's appropriate to RP with a 12-16 year old.

I'm not going to pretend there's a massive difference between age 16 and 17, because there really wasn't. Nor will I pretend that there's a massive difference between age 17 and 18, in terms of expected personal development. But now that I've joined the mystical realm of Being an Adult, now I have to tiptoe around some of the stuff I'm interested in with younger writers.

I don't want to say or write something that's going to get me in trouble for saying or writing that to a minor. I don't want to wake up one morning to some mom blowing up my inbox because she doesn't like the subject of the writing between myself and her kid. I don't want to get my account in trouble for broaching 18+ subjects, jokes, or themes with a 14 year old. I don't want to get some kid in trouble because someone looked over their shoulder and took umbrage to seeing a description of Character A crushing Villain B's throat such that Villain B's face turns colors and dies. And I especially don't want to wake up to the police at my door with charges of inappropriate activities with a minor.

Like Onmyoji said, it is for my own comfort, as well as my own protection. If my writing partner says they're 18 or older, then I don't have to worry so much. If some mom doesn't like what her kid is reading when he pops into an active thread, it's the mom's job to keep her kid away from that stuff, not my job to not do it. I don't have that (admittedly flimsy) protection with a minor.

I mean, I understand the frustration, but no one's picking on minors by doing this.
 

Jannah

I suppose I'm back. Hello again.
My perspective is thus: I started role-playing when I was 13. I started on this site when I was 14-15. Now, almost 4 years later I'm 18, and now I'm looking back at what I used to write, and what many of my minor-friendly RPs were about, and I'm just not interested in some of that stuff anymore. The stories I want to tell, subjects I want to explore, etc, I personally feel like they aren't subjects that it's appropriate to RP with a 12-16 year old.

I'm not going to pretend there's a massive difference between age 16 and 17, because there really wasn't. Nor will I pretend that there's a massive difference between age 17 and 18, in terms of expected personal development. But now that I've joined the mystical realm of Being an Adult, now I have to tiptoe around some of the stuff I'm interested in with younger writers.

I don't want to say or write something that's going to get me in trouble for saying or writing that to a minor. I don't want to wake up one morning to some mom blowing up my inbox because she doesn't like the subject of the writing between myself and her kid. I don't want to get my account in trouble for broaching 18+ subjects, jokes, or themes with a 14 year old. I don't want to get some kid in trouble because someone looked over their shoulder and took umbrage to seeing a description of Character A crushing Villain B's throat such that Villain B's face turns colors and dies. And I especially don't want to wake up to the police at my door with charges of inappropriate activities with a minor.

Like Onmyoji said, it is for my own comfort, as well as my own protection. If my writing partner says they're 18 or older, then I don't have to worry so much. If some mom doesn't like what her kid is reading when he pops into an active thread, it's the mom's job to keep her kid away from that stuff, not my job to not do it. I don't have that (admittedly flimsy) protection with a minor.

I mean, I understand the frustration, but no one's picking on minors by doing this.

This is precisely it. Back when I was a minor I would get into some of those themes, but it was with other minors. I think that's entirely different from an adult and a minor getting into the same content. Nowadays due to my age I simply stay away from RPing with minors. I'm 30 so it could almost come across as creepy RPing some of this stuff with minors.
 
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