It’s not called deviant for nothing
If your teen is on Tumblr or loves anime, they have likely seen art and read stories from deviantART. DeviantART is a social network and market place for artists, photographers, writers and anyone else who want to showcase their creations. Today, deviantART has 31 million members and over 287 million pieces of art. According to quantcast, 20% of its users are under 18. Although teens will love exploring all the amazing images, parents and teens should know it is not called deviant art for nothing.
While deviantART does not allow pornography, it does have mature content. Mature content can include nudity, excessive violence, strong language and other mature themes. DeviantART relies on its members to tag their creations as mature. Although, images posted in certain categories, such as nudity or fetishes, are automatically tagged as mature and the artist cannot remove this tag.
DeviantART does have a filter for mature content. Anyone over 13 can register for deviantART and for users under 18 the mature filter is automatically turned on and cannot be turned off. With the filter on, any images or art marked as mature cannot be viewed by members under 18 or anyone not logged in to the site. For the most part, this filter does work to keep out graphic images. Even with the filter, teens can still semi-nude portraits and violent images.
Besides sharing their artwork, DeviantART members can connect with other artists. Each member has a public profile page. Here they can enter their name, bio and share their interests. Members can choose how much they share by leaving fields blank. They can also edit their profile to hide their birthdate and sex. On their profile is where other members can comment on their work, send them a private message, join a group or follow them. On deviantART followers are called watchers. Watchers receive notifications when an artist they watch updates their journal, posts new artwork or comments.
While cruising around deviantART, I found most of the comments were generally positive and constructive. Many comments offered suggestions regarding techniques for improving ones images or writing. I did find a few overly critical comments and I noticed most members simply ignored them. Members can also hide these comments on their profile page as well as block individual users. If someone continues to harass them, they can report them to deviantART. They can even decide not to allow anyone to comment and turn off this feature in their settings.
If your teen wants to go on deviantART-
- Take a tour: Let them show you the site and what areas they are interested in. During the tour, check out the type of images and content on deviantART.
- Register as under 18: If they join, parents should make sure teens register as under 18 so the mature filter is always on.
- Keep personal information private: Teens should be careful about sharing too much information such as their real name, location and birthdate.
- Talk about comments and messaging: If they want to post their own art or stories, parents should discuss the pluses and minuses to allowing anyone to comment on their art and share with them what to do if they receive a mean comment or an inappropriate note.
- Update Security: Some images do contain viruses and members report some buggy ads on deviantART. Teens and parents should make sure their computer’s virus protection is up to date and remind teens not to click on any ads.