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November 27, 2012 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Appropriate fanfiction websites for a 10-year-old?

A 10-year-old girl in my family is into shows like Adventure Time and Avatar. Lately, she has started looking for fan-created content, such as animations and fanfiction.

We noticed she created a fanfiction.net account, but we are aware there's a lot of adult content there. We asked her not to access the site anymore (and will tighten up parental controls), and we'd like to present her with a better alternative. Are there any child appropriate fanfic sites?

Yes, we are aware she'll find x-rated content somehow, or she'll access the site from her friends' homes. But I believe she's too young to read Marceline futanari fanfics.
posted by clearlydemon to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, not really?

The only places I've seen a strictly-enforced kid-friendly rules in fandom are on message boards frequented primarily by kids, who read and post fanfic amongst themselves. But Tumblr and the like are drawing a lot of young people away from old-school formats like that.

It MIGHT be worth taking a look at AvatarSpirit.net, assuming that's the Avatar you mean -- it's not as busy as it used to be, but see how you feel about it. People post links to non-kid-friendly stories, but I think most of the actual on-forum discussion is okay.

However, if she wants recommendations for kid-friendly fan fiction, particularly if she has a few specific things she's looking for, I would bet that people around here could help you come up with something.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:27 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

There's not really a better alternative, especially one that has multiple fandoms. Fanfiction is mostly written by adult women for other adult women, and while younger children do certainly write and read, they generally aren't the ones creating archives. All the big fandom sites like ff.net, AO3, livejournal, tumblr, are going to be filled with mature content.

I would suggest googling around to see if you can find fandom specific archives for the shows that she's into, many of them may be more G rated. Failing that, perhaps you could screen the stories on ff.net for her and curate a library for her to read?
posted by crankylex at 10:30 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sigh...yeah, I went to go and see if Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network have moderated official forums, and they do? But they're poorly organized and kind of lousy. Not sure if she would be interested.

There's one for Adventure Time, and one for Avatar, if you want to check them out.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:30 AM on November 27, 2012

I just took a quick glance at ff.net's Adventure Time offerings (it's the cartoon, right?) and while half of the stories are rated as kid friendly, the rest are rated as Teen or higher with a third of those rated Mature. And as Narrative Priorities has mentioned, usually the official, and therefore kid friendly, forums are terrible.
posted by crankylex at 10:38 AM on November 27, 2012

Response by poster: Yep, I meant Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Adventure Time (with Finn and Jake), the cartoon.
posted by clearlydemon at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2012

I would talk to her about what ratings are appropriate (because she is going to stumble across NC-17 stuff, unless you cut her off from the internet completely). I discovered fanfiction when I was like 13 and I actually did avoid reading things that were explicitly marked as pornographic for awhile. Unless she's the kind of kid who enjoys, say, watching R-rated movies, she might be able to set her own boundaries.

Another option is to curate fanfiction for her yourself. Any halfway decent archive has ratings - maybe you can find ones that look decent and skim them to make sure they're okay for her to read. My mom did this for me with Earth's Children - "okay, looks like there's a bad part coming up" (rape scene) so skip to X page. And there should be plenty of Avatar fanfiction without any dirty scenes in it, though regrettably none of it is very well written.
posted by chaiminda at 10:55 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think you're going to have a LOT of trouble doing this. I just don't know how you can point her to a site and feel confident that she won't hit adult content. I used to be all about the fanfic and basically every fandom I was in to was flooded with adult content, no matter how young the audience of the original work. I mean, seriously, even when just the first two books of Harry Potter were out, there was fanfic that was all kinds of adult and sexual. And some were seriously... well, I don't want to say peverse, but they were definitely out there. I even read one where Dobby and the Sorting Hat did the nasty...

What if you sit down with her and search out, like, 20 fanfic that she thinks look good and then she reads those, and then you can help her find more when she gets through those? She's probably have some themes and types of fic that she could tell you about that would help you guys find ones she'd likely enjoy. Not the most efficient option, but frankly I think it would be the only way to keep her from the adult stuff.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:55 AM on November 27, 2012

I have never heard of a large-scale kid-friendly fanfic place. Most kid-friendly places on the internet are locked down like Fort Knox - ToonTown Online SpeedChat won't let you say exactly what you want, for example. SpeedChat has set phrases, and SpeedChat Plus limits you to a small dictionary of possible words.

I suggest you curate stuff for her for a while - and also let her know you will be checking to see what's she read, when she's had a little bit more experience and can navigate more independently. Also teach her how to find stuff on FF.net that's rated K and K+. My dad did something similar (he should have been checking & reviewing more carefully) when I started using BBS's on my own as a small kid. It helped that members of the community started feeling like they ought to be protecting me (they realized I was like, 7 years old.)

I was on my own online (completely) by the time I was 12, and the only thing that would have helped is a firm open door policy re: stuff I'd seen, and lots of discussion about what I was reading. Having multiple trustworthy grownups to go to (including adult women who wouldn't blab about every last little thing I had questions about) would have helped a LOT. That time period makes me wish I had older siblings.

You might consider publicizing your curated list, BTW. Other parents will be glad to have it.
posted by SMPA at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I got into fandom at that age (Sailor Moon, in my case), and in my experience, no there are not archives that are specifically kid-friendly. Almost all archives will have ratings though, and many fanfiction authors will use content warnings. In my case, I self-censored and didn't read anything M/NC-17 until I was 16 or so, and if I did read something with sex scenes, I skipped them. Not out of any prudishness or feeling that I was breaking rules, but because I just wasn't interested in them. In the same way that your young family member might skip past any fics featuring Lumpy Space Princess because she's just not interested in her, she'll skip past fics that are full of adult content she doesn't like or understand.

I would second the recommendations to either curate yourself, or let her know that someone will be keeping an eye on the kinds of things she reads. That way if she does happen across something more adult, you can speak openly with her about it. Though honestly, I was left to freely roam the wilds of online Harry Potter fandom when I was 12-18, and though I was exposed to some seriously perverse shit, it didn't irreparably scar me or anything.
posted by yasaman at 11:40 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding SMPA's recommendation to curate and then post your recs list. I recall seeing "PG-rated slash" recs lists for Harry Potter and Star Trek fandom about a decade ago; the tide of fandom's turned quite a bit since then in the non-kid-friendly (or the non-doesn't-want-sex-in-fic-friendly) direction.

Unfortunately, like so many other things with fandom, the only response to "it doesn't exist" is "make it yourself."
posted by Electric Elf at 11:57 AM on November 27, 2012

I'd actually say that building your own recs list, and having it based on Archive Of Our Own (and their amazing filtering), would be the best option.

See, here, for example: Adventure Time, General Audiences, Gen Category.
Avatar: The Last Airbender, General Audiences, Gen Category.

You can keep an eye on those pages, find the stories you think are appropriate, and then send them to her. And if you think she can handle other things, like Marcelline and Princess Bubblegum holding hands and kissing, then you can alter the filters as appropriate.

You can't stop her from clicking on more links, but if you make it clear to her that she should stick to the green, then it should fairly okay.
posted by Katemonkey at 12:06 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I read fanfiction when I was about the same age, and yes, self-censoring. Also, ff.net has a tool to search by rating. If I remember correctly, the Mature rating will also mean that you need to answer to a pop-up which asks you if you're over 17. Somehow I just never felt like lying, but it depends on your daughter.
posted by undue influence at 5:16 PM on November 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all your great answers. Having no children of my own, I forget issues like these need parenting solutions, instead of technical ones.

We both love and bond over Adventure Time, so it makes sense to spend some time creating a custom fanfic list for her, instead of trusting whatever site to do it for me. Guess I'll have to get into Avatar, too.

And if you think she can handle other things, like Marcelline and Princess Bubblegum holding hands and kissing, then you can alter the filters as appropriate.

Well, that's practically canon!
posted by clearlydemon at 5:29 PM on November 27, 2012

It's not quite as "social" as fan fiction sites, but there is an official (?) Adventure Time Fan Art tumblr that seems pretty age-appropriate overall (it's linked to from the official Frederator site so I assume someone there is behind it). It may, at least, be a fun thing for the two you to look at together.

Also, different and offline, but if the two of you aren't reading the Adventure Time comics (and for that matter, the Avatar comics, although those may be slightly old for her), you should be. It would give you something else to bond over and a way to extend her interest in what she likes in an age-appropriate way.
posted by darksong at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, darksong, she'll love that Tumblr.
We are reading the Adventure Time comics and she asked for the Avatar comics for Christmas.
posted by clearlydemon at 7:26 AM on November 28, 2012

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