So, what’s the problem? My online safety isn’t affected by people I’ll never even know.
If you’ve read any of our other stuff, you already know peeing a bit when you sneeze, cough or laugh is really not all that uncommon. At least it’s not as uncommon as it should be.
You’ll know around one in eight teen girls experience leakage, and though some just think it’s normal, others know it’s not, and they search out info online about how to stop it, often without thinking of online safety.
Over the last few months, we, like the girls we write for, have been searching the whole internet (ok, maybe not the whole internet, but a lot of it) for anything and everything about bladder control issues. We have to tell you, what we found was pretty surprising!
When starting our search, we knew we’d find a lot of questions online; girls looking for support and for someone to tell them whether they are normal or how to deal with their problem. We knew we’d find forums and Facebook groups, videos and diagrams, blogs and articles.
What we didn’t expect — and call us naive — is just how often we’d come across people, mainly men, sexualising bladder leakage (particularly nappy wearing), and getting off on the videos and articles that teen girls are posting in an effort to find some help.
First of all, gross. Yeah sure, we all know there are perverts out there, and now with the internet, there seem to be a lot more of them, or at least we hear about them more often. But this is a condition; it’s a challenging, upsetting and often embarrassing illness that so many girls and women experience, and these are people looking for help! How can people get turned on by that and think of it as something kinky?
The answer: they can, they will and they have!
Sex fetishes are everywhere online
Now, we’re not here to judge people who get turned on by different things. As long as those things are legal and don’t hurt anyone, what people do is their own business.
But it is important to realise that as well as being a great source for info and connection, the internet is a huge web of different fetishes you may never have heard of. If you don’t think about what you’re posting, you may end up as a pic or video on a site you definitely don’t want to appear on.
To help get your head around this idea, think of absolutely any topic. Any topic, go on. Got it? Ok, we don’t want you to Google, but if you did, we guarantee you’d find some kind of group who finds that topic all kinds of sexy!
As an example, there are groups out there dedicated to robot sex (robophiles), sex with cartoon characters (toonphiles), vampires, animals, furniture, machines (especially cars), sitting naked in cakes or icing, and that’s just naming a few.
One set of groups that did catch our attention, and raise alarm bells for some of the girls who we know seek support online, are those that gain sexual pleasure from wearing diapers, plastic pants or large pads, or seeing others do it. Some of these groups also sexualise the very act of leaking or accidentally peeing yourself.
So, what’s the problem? It doesn’t hurt to let them read from afar
The issue with these groups, and some (not all) of these people, is they can target young people who are just looking for help. For example, there are a lot of videos on youtube within which popular and preppy teen girls talk about moments when they’ve had a public or embarrassing accident — where they’ve held too long, laughed too hard or sneezed, and wet their pants.
For many of these girls (at least at the start), they post articles or videos as a way to connect with other young girls who want to know if they are normal, and need to feel they aren’t the only ones who have these experiences. In a lot of cases, the girls even add in references or links to places that other girls can go to find more information or help.
Likely, the girls think their audiences are mainly other young people who are part of their friendly and nurtured community of teens just looking for a sense of support or belonging. But if you look at the comments on videos and posts like these, the reality can be very different.
In exploring the comments sections, we were surprised to see the growing number of clearly older people who are watching these videos and not only making sexually explicit comments, but attempting to reach out to the video owner and other young girls. Based on the comments, these are people who are turned on by the story of pants wetting or adult diapers, and sadly, they haven’t sought out grown adults to connect with, but have touched base with vulnerable teen girls.
As an extension to this, in looking at the flow of videos coming from certain vloggers, some of these teenage girls are so desperate to up their subs or followers, that once they see the attention they are getting from these types or videos, they start to make more on the same topic. The issue with this is they are no longer growing an audience of other teens, but increasing their appeal and reach to potentially nasty pervs who are getting off on what should be educational content that creates a sense of support and community.
So, what can you do to avoid the pervs?
The reality is, it’s tough to avoid pervs online. While the numbers can’t be confirmed, it is suspected that on Facebook alone, more than 80 million accounts may be fakes or dupes — that means some of those 16 year old girls who comment about similar experiences and want to talk privately, may actually be 60 year old guys who are into nappy wearing!
In the case of videos like these, that talk about incontinence experiences or other personal issues that either may be sexualised, or give a perv info they can use to form a personal relationship with you, the best thing you can do, is to only share in safe places.
Creating YouTube videos that talk about really private things or health issues, or give away too much about yourself, can make you the perfect target for a perv. But that doesn’t mean you can’t both seek support and provide it to others, or become part of a community of support.
To protect yourself, try some of these tips:
- To talk about issues like incontinence, use forums or social media pages of recognised groups or programs, like ours.
- Try to find forums that are monitored and overseen very regularly by the providing organisation.
- Don’t give away too much detail about yourself online.
- Remember that tagging yourself in a location tells someone exactly where you are.
- Know what kinds of things should never come up in conversation online, particularly with someone you don’t know in real life: sex, violence, threats, hate speech, money, or questions about your body.
- Don’t meet in person with people you’ve met online without letting an adult know about it first.
- Try not to use names or photos (even cartoons) that are sexual or suggestive.
- Always question it if someone you don’t know in person is paying you compliments online.
The most important thing to remember when talking to people online or sharing information or stories about yourself, is that you don’t know who might be listening or watching, so share only what you would feel comfortable sharing with a group of strangers you don’t know (and imagine that group of strangers is all weird, old, pervy men!).