4chan is an anonymous image board website. This site hosts boards dedicated to a variety of topics such as anime, manga, television, film, video games, literature, music, history, politics, sports, weapons, and many adult subjects—including a section labeled “cams & meetups.” 4chan does not have an app for iOS devices, but there are third-party apps like Read Chan and Omnichan that are workarounds available on Android devices. Although there is no specific, designated 4chan app, anybody can view the website in their internet browser. This platform does not require users to sign up or create an account so it is completely anonymous. Once a user clicks on a category, a disclaimer appears warning viewers that the website is for mature audiences only, it is illegal for minors to access mature images and language. The disclaimer also warns that the user cannot hold 4chan responsible for any damages from the person’s use of the website and everything on the website is not posted by 4chan itself but its users. Due to its highly inappropriate content as well as various connections to online extremism, 4chan is a very controversial website and platform. However, it has still gained popularity in the United States. According to a November 2022 report from Statista, a recent study from 2020 found that the United States had the highest number of 4chan posts per 1,000 users.
Anyone can freely post any content they desire, regardless of its appropriateness.
- 4chan does not allow illegal pornography. Users still frequently cross that line, but the platform bans users who post illegal pornography.
- Hate speech, graphic violence, pornography, and other inappropriate content is abundant and rampant on this platform due to the anonymity that 4chan offers.
4chan is partly responsible for the imageboard website known previously as 8chan, Infinitychan, or 8kun. It also serves as a gateway connecting users with other very inappropriate websites.
- 8kun is a far-right website where users post about topics like white supremacism, neo-Nazism, the alt-right, racism, antisemitism, hate crimes, and mass shootings.
- Users have been connected to several mass murders—including 2019 El Paso shooting, 2019 San Diego synagogue mass shooting, and 2 mosque shootings in New Zealand killing over 50 people.
Due to the site’s graphic content, we strongly advise parents should not allow their children to go on 4chan whether by visiting the website or using third-party apps. 8kun (formerly 8chan) is another website children should not visit under any circumstances. After was taken down, the site has been struggling since 2019 when 8kun or Infinitychan rose up as a replacement. Experts are warning parents and the general community to be aware of these sites as well as Discord for giving a platform for extremists to connect with one another. These sites are used as an avenue for recruiting members to their causes and ideologies. These groups know how to exploit and manipulate youth—likening their “missions” of violence and murder to video games. Parents are strongly encouraged to be proactive and have open conversations about the dangers of these online chat rooms and what to do if they view inappropriate content. Young children may be naïve and unaware of the dangers of visiting a website such as 4chan along with the negative effects it can have on communities. Parents can use parental controls and monitoring tools to help manage their children’s devices and online activity, and we have a resource explaining the pros and cons of the most popular Parental Controls and Monitoring Tools to help parents make informed decisions.
Want To Learn More?
There are several resources with more information to help parents talk to their children about hate speech and other acts of violence associated with 4chan. You can view helpful articles on Bark, Common Sense Media, and InternetMatters.