Today, one of my coworkers asked me if my website was age censored… adult censored. Something like that. Anyway, what she meant was “Do you have one of those nifty screens that pops up and asks the user’s age before they get on your site and see… ya know.. stuff?”
There is no “stuff” on my website. If you’re looking for porn, it’s not here. If you’re looking for erotica… well, you heard me say that when I try to write erotica, it never really gets erotic. (True, by the way.) If you’re looking for sexual content… well, it’s scattered with great parsimony throughout the novel I’m blogging.
Still, the question got me thinking about that. Under what circumstances would I put an age wall on my website?
Half the time, I think the warnings are primarily marketing techniques. What erotica writer doesn’t want to remind you that her work is wildly inappropriate for children, much too exciting for the elderly, and quite frankly, anyone else should still consult a doctor before reading to be sure they’re healthy enough for literary activity?
And the truth is, without some kind of verification–a credit card charge, for example–an age wall doesn’t actually keep anyone out of a website. A little third grade math, and **poof** you know what year you were born in, if you’re “twenty-one” right now.
She asked about an age wall because I mentioned that someone left a comment that mentioned sex. Which I admitted was my own fault 😉 because of the content of one of my posts.
I told her there’s not an age-wall on my website. Why would there be? I used a word. I didn’t draw a diagram. Heck, I didn’t even define the word.
I could tell you which word it was, but that wouldn’t make much of a difference. People who have been reading my posts for the last week or so could make an educated guess, but it’s not important. I could tell you why the question surprised me, but that doesn’t really matter that much, either.
So, here’s the question. How much do you child proof a website that isn’t meant for children, and isn’t likely to attract them? How much bubble wrap do you use?