The Damage of OnlyFans

WORDS: Corrine Barraclough PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

If your teenage child is constantly on their mobile phone, flicking through social media and posting photos, you really need to read this Special Report into the damage OnlyFans is causing. Corrine Barraclough investigates.

In 2016, an internet content subscription service launched in London that would spread across the globe and change it forever.

By August 2021, it was reported to have two million content creators and 130 million users.

OnlyFans is a service used primarily by sex workers who produce pornography. That’s all well and good, you may say, they’re adults and in charge of their own lives and decisions.

But, like many social media trends, it’s spilled into mainstream culture. How would you feel about it if we told you that young Gold Coast teenagers are using the platform to make a living? And if we told you underage girls, as young as 11, are using it to make an income?

It started with sex workers and seeped through to physical fitness experts and musicians.

And then, it went wild as content creators of all ages realised they could use it to make a stack of cash from users who subscribe to their content.

Their “fans” either pay on a monthly basis, one-time tips or pay-per-view content.

For many sex workers, it’s provided crucial income, especially through COVID which meant many were stuck at home.

But there’s a dark side to this. The website has been widely criticised for insufficiently preventing child sexual abuse material from circulating.

The power of the platform was really demonstrated in August 2021 in the United States. A campaign to investigate it resulted in an announcement on 19 August 2021 that from October that year OnlyFans would no longer allow sexually explicit material. That decision was reversed just six days later due to widespread backlash from users and creators.

Since 2019, OnlyFans’s account verification process has involved a selfie headshot including an ID photo.

In 2020, a BBC Three documentary alleged that a third of Twitter profiles globally advertising ‘nudes4sale’ belong to underage individuals, many of whom use OnlyFans to share their content.

In May 2021, the BBC reported that OnlyFans was “failing to prevent underage users from selling and appearing in explicit videos” after an investigation. This included reports from UK Police, schools and child welfare charity, ‘Childline’.

OnlyFans has been widely criticised for child exploitation, sex trafficking and image-based abuse.

“Let’s go back a step and ask, ‘why would you do this?’” Meredith Fuller OAM, Melbourne psychologist tells ORM. “We’ve got a third generation coming through now of children – boys and girls – who are not attached to a significant other. There is a huge amount of attachment difficulties, an awful lot of broken families trying to survive. The divorce rate now is one in two, that’s massive. We’ve got family violence. We’ve got all these disruptors in how people are coping. Add COVID plus all the usual life stressors. Social media has pushed the idea of narcissism to a whole new level and taken people away from issues about purpose. Young children are now in a world where they think they need to gain acceptance through their two-dimensional appearance – how they look, how hot they are… and they’re 11? It’s distressing. They’re thinking, ‘I don’t feel wanted, I don’t have a place in the world, I have to try to find a way to be loved”.

They’re not looking at their own intrinsic worth, they’re thinking that if they get lots of social media likes and a flood of cash, they can have all these fabulous clothes and holidays and gain prestige.

“Our society is in trouble. A lot of these young girls don’t even feel sexual. They want to feel desirable, but they don’t even know what that is.

“Think of it this way: how many hours do you have to work at Maccas to get this kind of money? Are kids going to want to do it the hard way or the easy way?”

Fuller has a very valid point. Some of the amounts of earnings we’re talking about here are utterly insane.

“The saddest thing is these young people are getting a huge amount of money, but it doesn’t buy what they’re actually desperate for. No amount of money will ever be enough to fill that void.”

Reality stars?

“It’s become a career path. If you can land on reality TV, you can then lean on platforms like this to create income, then you buy a house, and so on. It’s become like any addiction; they’re chasing pleasure and seeking to avoid all pain. They chase the spotlight and the income because they want to be loved, they need a lot of claps. They need a lot of attention, they want to be adored and wanted, but this doesn’t fill the need, so they have to go and do more and more. What they don’t understand is that it’s not the real them that’s being liked on social media, it’s a commodity. People don’t care about you; you’re hot today and gone tomorrow. And what are you left with?”

Fuller adds, “There are many great things about technology, but there’s a dark side too, it’s changing our brains. We now only have seconds of attention, we need something to excite us, we’ve become an addicted society, and the baseline just keeps sliding.”

ORM spoke to a local Gold Coast teen about just how bad the situation has become.

“People my age constantly make jokes about OnlyFans, it’s become completely desensitised. My girlfriends and I often talk about how OnlyFans has affected the way men view women and the unrealistic expectations it creates. It’s normal now to have a boyfriend who looks at inappropriate images, like on OnlyFans. Lots of my friends share OnlyFans stuff on Instagram especially, which is something for parents to look out for. I’ve definitely heard of girls as young as 11 doing it; it’s very easy for underage girls to access, which is a massive issue.”

And what about teen boyfriends encouraging their young girlfriends to do this is, as a way of getting into this lifestyle too? Do they think they too can have this money, this glamorous lifestyle, so they apply the pressure?

“Yes, I’ve heard about OnlyFans being used in toxic relationships,” says our local Gold Coast school girl. “It opens so many opportunities for people to abuse and force someone to engage in OnlyFans for financial profit.”

Well, that’s all absolutely terrifying, isn’t it…


OnlyFans – the story in a snapshot:

  • Launched in November 2016 as a platform for performers to provide clips and photos for a monthly subscription fee.
  • Founded by Tim Stokely assisted by a 10,000 pound loan from his father who told him, “Tim, this is going to be the last one”.
  • Two years later, Ukrainian-American businessman Leonid Radvinsky, who also owns MyFreeCams, acquired a 75 per cent ownership.
  • The site experienced rapid growth after rapper Cardi B joined the platform.
  • Beyonce mentioned the site in her remix of ‘Savage’ in 2020. After that, it was reported OnlyFans was seeing about 200,000 new users every 24 hours.


Australian OnlyFans

  • Mikaela Testa, 22, based on the Gold Coast, reportedly earns more than $162,000 per month. selling X-rated images and videos on OnlyFans.
  • Bailey Scarlett, who lives in Bali, supports herself on OnlyFans after becoming a single mum.



“Ask yourself: what are all these reality shows setting people up for? What the hell are they going to do next? They’re being pushed beyond sense,” Meredith Fuller OAM, Psychologist, tells ORM.


Reality stars on OnlyFans

Kaitlyn Hoppe – The Bachelor (Season 9)

Subscription price: $8 p/month

Subscribers: 400


Emily McCarthy – Beauty & The Geek (Season 8)

Subscription price: $15 p/month

Subscribers: 1600


Holly Barnes – Heartbreak Island (Season 3)

Subscription price: $10 p/month

Subscribers: 400


Kacey Watson – Heartbreak Island (Season 3)

Subscription price: $39.99 p/month

Subscribers: 7,700


Vanessa Sierra – Love Island (Season 2)

Subscription price: $3

Subscribers: 21,400


Jessika Power – MAFS (Season 6)

Subscription price: $15 p/month

Subscribers: 6,000


Innes Basic – MAFS (Season 6)

Subscription price: $10 p/month

Subscribers: 2,000


Tamara Joy – MAFS (Season 6)

Subscription price: $15 p/month

Subscribers: 1,000


Mishell Karen – MAFS (Season 7)

Subscription price: $14.99

Subscribers: 1,000


Hayley Vernon – MAFS (Season 7)

Subscription price: $10 p/month

Subscribers: 1,000


Alana Lister – MAFS (Season 8)

Subscription price: $9.95 p/month

Subscribers: 13,000


Jaimie Gardner – MAFS (Season 8)

Subscription price: $12.99 p/month

Subscribers: 3,000