What Is 4chan: Why is 4chan contentious, and what does it mean?

4chan: What is it?

The majority of users on the imageboard website 4chan are young men. According to official figures, the most popular age group is between 18 and 25. But, there are several first-person accounts of teenagers using 4chan online.

It was first developed as a response to 2chan in Japan and was used for anime discussion. But now, it features easily accessible forums for everything from sexual content to video games for all site visitors. Many online memes, political movements, hacktivism, and cyberattacks may all be found on 4chan. It may thus have an effect on your teen’s online safety and has been at the center of many media scandals.

How is 4chan used?


It is not necessary for users of 4chan to register. You can share any image or conversation anonymously. A user has the option to select any board when they land on the page.

After then, a notice will appear asking users to read the guidelines, saying that the content is intended only for “mature” users and denying any harm has occurred on the boards. Even though 4chan’s rules expressly indicate that users must be 18 or older, some people may interpret the word “mature” incorrectly. For instance, a teenager visiting the website might think that, although being underage, they are old enough to see the material.

After selecting an image to “Start a New Thread,” users can either fill in their name or choose to be anonymous. Once a post is made, other users have the option to anonymously comment on it directly. Users’ IP addresses are even so monitored, and violating the site’s policies can result in a ban. Appealing these restrictions is possible.

Is using 4chan safe for teenagers?

Because of the many accessible objectionable content on the site. The risk to children’s online safety, 4chan is only for users who are at least 18 years old. Every board on the web contains rules, although the most often used board, /b/, or “random,” has the fewest rules.

In actuality, it allows specific types of pornographic and obscene content also to hate speech like racism and transphobia. According to the site guidelines, this kind of content cannot be found outside of /b/.

Certain message boards bear the label “worksafe,” signifying that posting unsuitable content is prohibited.

There are no privacy settings or parental restrictions on 4chan. Users have the option to view any board they like and to remain anonymous. On mobile and internet networks, you can, but, install parental controls to restrict teenagers’ access to 4chan.

There are further websites, like 16chan and 8kun (formerly 8chan). Because 8chan’s content is not as controlled as 4chan’s, it is much less suitable for minors. On the dark web, 16chan operates anonymously and hosts unmoderated, illegal content.

What makes 4chan contentious?

4chan has been at the center of several debates due to the content that can be accessed on the imageboard. Prominent examples include child pornography, Gamergate, many cyberattacks, and threats of violence in the United States. It makes sense that there are worries about the community’s encouragement. Its about violence and misogyny throughout the website.

Teens may still use the website in spite of these risks to their online safety. This could be as a result of the amusing memes that are circulated around communities or the fact that the website’s developer was only a teenager when he founded it.

Why is it so well-liked?

Many young individuals view 4chan as a place where they can express their thoughts, passions, and humour without fear of negative consequences.

Although that seems positive in theory, there can be some very bad effects from it. Since the website gives those who feel alone and disenfranchised a sense of belonging and acceptance. which could cause them to adopt more radical beliefs or behaviours.

8chan: What is it?

Like how 2chan in Japan was modeled after 4chan in English, there are different variations of 4chan. It’s necessary to be mindful of these as well because some of them have more offensive information.

Some felt that 4chan was becoming too severely moderated, so they founded 8kun, formerly known as 8chan. 8chan is not visible in Google search results, in contrast to 4chan. Violent and unlawful content is allowed to remain on the website since there are less controls over what can be posted. It even started to serve as a catalyst for crime. So, it was shut down in 2019 and was replaced by 8kun, which had the same minimal reducing objective.

On 8kun, also referred to as infinitechan, users are able to create their own boards on any topic. Particularly in the United States, many 8chan/8kun organizations are believed to be the source of hate groups and violent crimes.

More 4chan variants to be mindful of:

The original imageboard, 2chan/2 channel/2ch, was intended to be a forum for unrestricted, moderation-free discussion about anime. It was created in 1999 and is currently mostly utilized in Japan.

4channel: an obvious imitation of 4chan, 4 channel bills itself as suitable for work environments. Whichever board a user chooses, there is always a notice about mature content. Its similarity to the original may cause confusion.

16chan: its founder and users are private, and it is exclusively accessible via the dark web. Like a lot of other dark web spaces, 16chan is home to illicit and hazardous content.

Furthermore, even though is banned on some IPs. It’s crucial to be aware of the potential workarounds that particularly astute teenagers might attempt. These could involve setting up VPNs and experimenting with various domain suffixes.

Which are a few of the concerns?

radical political

Political content belongs in the /pol/ board. It’s important to note that the vast bulk of political content uploaded on 4chan has ties to the far right.

While a lot of people use 4chan to locate people who share their interests or to enjoy its alternative humour. The site is also a breeding ground for radicalization. Users are sensitive to being drawn into radical online communities, especially those who are younger. Content may express opinions that are homophobic, sexist, or white supremacist.

Additionally, 4chan has come to be linked with the incel (involuntary celibate) lifestyle. This relationship has been brought to light by shootings in the US, when shooters have published their opinions on 4chan or referenced posts there.

/b/ board

Except for some unlawful or criminal content. Such as pictures of child sexual abuse, 4chan’s /b/ board, sometimes known as the “random” board, has a “no rules” policy that permits adult pornographic, racist, and brutally violent content.

The “random” board may seem free to some users, but its content may easily cross the line into misogynistic and racist terrain. It has also allegedly inspired a number of actual attacks.

coordinated investigations of trolling

A number of coordinated hate and trolling operations, most notably GamerGate in 2014, have also been linked to 4chan.

An organized campaign of online harassment, including threats of harm and murder, as well as the release of someone’s private information online, was launched against Zoe Quinn, the game developer behind Depression Quest.

Though some see 4chan as a safe haven for divisive viewpoints, GamerGate was a prime illustration of how that sense of community mixed with anonymity can really hurt someone IRL.

How to handle a teen that uses 4chan

Due to curiosity or peer pressure, many young people may find themselves browsing 18+ sites despite the risk to their online safety. They might expose themselves to danger because they think they are more mature than other people their age. You can take the following actions to ensure your teen’s safety:

Discuss age limitations and the reasons behind them in your conversations:

Websites restricted to users aged 18 and up exist to protect young users. They may contain traumatic content or unrealistic standards regarding relationships and life. It’s viable that a number of the groups on 4chan and 8chan recruit impressionable teenagers to enroll in them. Hatred and false statistics might be disseminated through these corporations.

Talk about their online activities. Engaging in a speech about their fashionable activities can carry you toward their digital international. Additionally, they might sense extra relaxed sharing when they come upon something alarming on-line.

Establish parental controls: Most gadgets and net packages come with parental controls that limit the sort of web sites your kids can get entry to. For family-extensive security, these parental controls can also be set through cell and broadband networks.

Perform habitual maintenance on their gadgets: ensure no greater software program, inclusive of VPNs or dubious apps that would get round restrictions, has been downloaded to their tool.


4chan remains a complicated and polarizing platform that has left an indelible mark on internet lifestyle. Its contentious nature stems from a blend of anonymity, diverse consumer base, and influential contributions to memes and subcultures. While 4chan may also live a supply of controversy, its function in shaping on-line discourse cannot be not noted, making it a subject of perpetual intrigue and analysis in the ever-evolving panorama of the digital global.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button