Thanks for this, it hits a lot of points I agree with, as well. Ultimately, even when I wasn't officially a minor, people who were older than me put me in some very uncomfortable positions online. While I know I would never harass a minor, I also don't feel comfortable roleplaying the themes I usually roleplay with anyone isn't an adult. No, I don't want to play simmering, slow-burn romantic tension on a war-torn backdrop with a sixteen-year-old. I'm twenty-two.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.
And the term roleplay has enough sexual connotations with it to the point that when I mention to someone that it's one of my hobbies, I have to specify exactly what I mean and that no, my biggest hobby isn't all smut with strangers online. I understand why someone's parents would be wary. I grew up in the era of the internet where adults being creepy online was one of our biggest fears, and it happened so often that just about every young woman I know who was internet-savvy back in the day has a bad Omegle experience up her sleeve. I swear I'm not trying to patronize any younger people here, but people are right to want to keep you safe, because there are people out there who would prey upon you. It happens every day. Because roleplays, many of which are 1x1, are by nature a closed, personal space, there's room for a lot of harm to take place if you happen upon the wrong person. It doesn't have to be harm around mature themes, either. It can be someone being able to pressure you, or thinking they can because they're older, into replying faster or more often, into making you doubt your ability to write compelling plots because you're younger so you go along with what they want to write. There's a power imbalance when there's an age imbalance. I would be very careful in partaking for that reason.
Like Werepunk said, whether we know it or not, we're influenced by older people when we're younger. It doesn't mean you're weak, it doesn't mean you don't have worthwhile things to contribute to a roleplay, it means our societies are set up to make us give older people and their opinions more weight. So adults do have more responsibility in exchanges with younger people. I come here to have fun and write, and making sure I'm not accidentally being inappropriate to you on the basis of your age is not an exercise I signed up for. I don't want to be watching what I say OOC in case you interpret it wrong or measuring the darkness of what my character is about to say to make sure your parents wouldn't be uncomfortable with that in-game interaction. That is entirely my right. I agree that the line between minor and technically an adult feels arbitrary and you don't gain a ton of maturity the night before your eighteenth birthday. It's still valid for me not to want to roleplay with you if you're under eighteen.
And I guess that last part is the part that's really important to me. There are so many threads about how people having an age preference is exclusionary and discriminatory and makes younger people feel bad. Fair. But when I examine my reasoning for not wanting to roleplay with you, I don't think any of it is inherently cruel or bigoted, so I find it perfectly valid. And honestly, even if it wasn't, the same way people are allowed to only want to roleplay fxm pairings which I don't agree with, I'm allowed to roleplay with only the people I want to roleplay with. You're allowed to be annoyed by other people's preferences. They're allowed to still have them. It's not against you personally.