* The groups mentioned are not just strictly 18+. Many of them were started by minors, and are not private. In most cases, you don't even have to be a member of Goodreads to view the content. All you need is a link. *
Goodreads is a website known for book lovers all around the world. It’s membership exceeds into the 10 millions. Male, female, the young and old alike. And while it is known to be a place where hard-core book lovers can go in search of that next great novel, there is another “hard-core” secret that nobody wants to talk about. Okay, maybe it’s not such a secret after all, but it is true that nobody seems to be talking about it. I’m scratching my head and wondering … why?
While we live in an age where tragedies occur more often than we like, things like school shootings and child abuse, one of the most unknown events taking place right before your eyes, and on the computer no doubt, is children interacting sexually in explicit conversations with adults in public and private groups also known as, “Role-play groups” on Goodreads.
If you are a parent, you might want to see if your child is a member of Goodreads. And if so, you might want to go into their account to see if they are participating in one of these groups.
While some of these role-play groups can look innocent at first glance, and maybe some are, there are some filled with violence and hard-core sexuality beyond belief. The worst part of it all is, under-aged kids are often times role-playing in a sexual manner with adults. Does this scare you? Well, it should. But don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself.
*** Warning: some screen shots contain explicit words of a sexual nature ***
The following screen shots were taken by me (to which I have whited out my secret identity at the top right corner) and prove that these groups do in fact exist on the Goodreads website. In this screen shot, we see the banner for the group called Sexual Roleplay with 409 members listed. And while they do require everyone to check a box stating that you verify your age in order to join, under-aged kids can still gain access by simply checking the box and joining. They can also participate! And they do.
But this is just one group of many. Not all of these sexually charged groups require an age verification. (Not that it stops anyone anyway) Take for example the group, Love and Lustful Fantasies. (A group that appears to have been started by minors) As you will see in the following screenshots and links, proof that adults are interacting with minors in an explicit and sexual manner.
First, I want to show this screen shot of one of the role-play topics in this group, TEEN PREGNANCY.
Next, I want you to take a look at this Members List. Pay close attention the member who calls herself “I am a Fallen Angel” My research concluded that she is 15 or 16 years old.
Also listed in the member section is a man named Ian, and although his age is not mentioned, on his author profile, his bio indicates that he has written short stories and poetry since high school. Now, I am not one to judge, but I ask you, what are adults doing by being a member of a role-play group with minors where sexually explicit conversations are taking place? It just doesn't look right to me. In Ian's defense, he has not made any comments in the group as of yet. But the mere fact that an adult would place themselves in this kind of situation, let alone an author, is suspicious in of itself. It's just not a good position to place yourself in.
Also pictured in this next screen shot is a woman by the name of Isis, a 23 year old that has commented in the group and as you will see in the line of screenshots, is interacting with another girl (Just Joe) A 16 year old girl.
Now, I'm no expert where the law is concerned, but I'm pretty sure that an adult talking like this in a sexually explicit manner with a minor can't possibly be legal, is it? I'm pretty sure this is inappropriate. I do know one thing, if I had a child interacting like this with strange adults on-line, I would be livid, absolutely outraged! Not to mention that this is happening - not on a porn site - but a BOOK site!
But wait, it gets even more scarier. I want you to meet Dan. According to his profile, his interests includes, "spanking", "voyerism", "keeping girls panties as a trophy", "potential incest" and "domination". Wait! What? Potential incest? Keeping girls panties? Is Goodreads a sex site? Could someone please explain to me why this man, looking every bit of late 30's to mid 40's, is doing in a group where there are under-aged people talking in a sexually explicit manner through the "art" of role-playing?
First of all, I'm not quite sure I like it that kids are talking to kids in that manner on this Goodreads website, let alone, a grown man in the mix. And with the technology of screenshots, you will see the effort he makes attempting to interact with minors. (Dan has made 7 comments thus far in this group)
Again, I'm not going to sit and judge, but if I were a parent, this would scare the living crap right out of me. It's scary enough to worry about your child getting approached by adults on other social networking sites such as facebook and Twitter, or even on the streets, but to think that your child could be exposed to, and in danger of, predators on the Goodreads website is horrifying to say the least. This is not to say that anyone featured here is actually attempting to meet under-aged people off line, there is no cut and dry proof that they are, but let's face it, it doesn't look good in the least. Not very good at all! This is not the way adults should act at anytime on any website around kids, let alone on the Goodreads website. And while Goodreads has private messaging, can we say for certainty of what is going on out of the view of the public eye? The bigger question is, as a parent, would you want your children exposed to this? I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to know that this kind of thing lays the ground work for a potentially dangerous situation and outcome.
I think the bigger question here is, where is Goodreads community manager Patrick Brown? Where is Goodreads site founder Otis Chandler? Are they aware of this kind of activity? I find it very hard to believe that they are unaware that this kind of thing is taking place on their site. How could they not know? If I know this is going on, and I can find it, then they would have to know it is taking place. But what are they doing about it? What are they going to do about it? Will they even do anything? Or will we get the same old song and dance like they gave us this past August during their so-called "ToS" changes regarding bullies? Yeah, I saw first hand how good to their word they are. You'll excuse me if I harbor doubt to their ability, sincerity and honesty.
Again, I am no expert in law, I do not know if this kind of thing is illegal or not, Although I don't see how it could be, but is it morally sound? Is it worth the risk to look the other way when clearly, adults are interacting in a sexually explicit manner with minors? Just to know that the potential is there for such a thing to occur is incomprehensible to say the least. In a world where too many children are getting abducted by internet strangers, do we as a society really want this kind of thing taking place on a book website? Is it really worth the risk? Or are we going to keep turning a blind eye to this until a child comes up missing, taken by someone off Goodreads? Only to discover later that it could have been prevented?
You make the call. I did my part, I have brought this very serious issue to light. Now, the rest is up to you, the people. It's up to all of you to take some kind of action. Who very well knows, the clock could be ticking as we speak. A child could be messaging right now with an adult on Goodreads, making plans to meet.
Think about it!
And while you're thinking about that, think about this. This next screenshot is of another "role-play" group with 182 members. It is called Romance Roleplay, and for the most part, appears to have been started by minors.
Personally, I find the topics in this group rather interesting. They offer "Gay" romance, "Lesbian" romance and "straight" romance, as the screen shot will show.
I have a screen shot of two people involved in their RP game in this group, in the lesbian role-play. One is a male who goes by the name of Sean. While Sean doesn't reveal his age, one thing I do know is that he is at least 18 years old, or older. And how do I know this? It's simple, if he were a minor then his profile would be "private" as per the Goodreads ToS, which makes clear that all people under the age of 18 has to have a private profile. He is role-playing with a girl, Little Melia, who has a private profile. Now, this could be an 18 year old girl because adults have the choice to making their profile private or public, however, do you think her parents would be pleased knowing that she is involved in a sexually charged role-play with an adult male if she is by chance a minor? Wouldn't it be reassuring to know for certain if she is or is not a minor?
And here is a little snippet of their sexual interaction.
The bottom line is this, that there is over 1,750 role-play groups on Goodreads. How many of them cater to sexually oriented themes involving minors and adults? That number too, could be staggering. And of all those groups, how many children are participating in these sexually explicit role-playing games with adults? And of those, how many adults are corresponding in private messages with these children? Even worse, how many may be corresponding through personal emails, away from the games and the Goodreads website? I don't think that I even want to think about it.
When word got out about this report, it was brought to my attention that Goodreads community manager Patrick Brown responded by making some changes. This validates my article! However, this action is focused only at the 18+ sexual role-play groups. This is not the biggest danger, far too many of these role-play groups are started up by minors. And they are public! (Anyone can join) Which means that you do not have to be a member of the group to view the pages of the topics, and what is being said. You can click on any topic and still read what is inside. Many of these groups are not advertising themselves as sexual role-play groups. Many are given innocent looking names, for example: "1x1's" role-play where their banner reads "Role-play Central". But when you go inside and look at the topics, some may indicate sexual themes, others do not. Even in the ones that do not suggest sexual themes as is the case in "1x1's", you can often times find sexually explicit role-plays playing out through many pages. Some go faster than others when it comes to "getting around" to the sex while others take longer, and you sift through page after page before you find it. And, adults involved with minors in those role-plays. No, it's not just about the obvious sexual role-play groups, it's about the ones that are well disguised.
I am under the impression that these groups are moderated by adults of the Goodreads staff. If so, then why are they not catching this? If I can find it, and I am not even a staff member, then how is it that they can't see what is going on? It's against the Goodreads ToS. (Which you can view at the end of this article for yourself)
And while we're on the subject of the Goodreads ToS, why aren't these adults who are interacting with these kids being banned for doing so? What is the point of having a ToS if you are not going to enforce it? After all, let us not forget that I got banned just six short months ago after being bullied by members of the Goodreads group, "Badly Behaving Authors", which is moderated by Goodreads Librarians, and was covered by the website STGRB, but adults who correspond in sexually explicit role-plays are okay? Really? I also realize that there is a very good chance that I am going to be attacked unmercifully by these bullies from all sides. This concerns me deeply too, because this shouldn't be about our differences, this should be about protecting the kids.
I have only provided you with a few samples of what is going on. Just enough to prove that this is happening right now on Gooodreads. And with that thought, how many of these kids are in danger from a sexual predator? How many of them could there be at this moment planning to meet with an adult they met on Goodreads in one of these highly charged sexually explicit role-playing games? And again, I HAVE to ask the question, why in the hell is Patrick Brown and Otis Chandler allowing this to take place on their website? Don't they care about your children?
Let this be a wake up call. If this makes you angry like it does me, then take action! Contact Goodreads and let them know what you think. Let them know how stomach turning this is! And also, let them know that you're not going to tolerate this type of negligence on their part any longer! They must take action! Force them to take action! It's their responsibility because they are the ones in charge.
Maybe we'll never know if, or how many kids may have met off line with an adult from goodreads. Maybe we'll never know how many kids have been exposed to sexual predators. But ask yourself this, do you want to find out one night while watching Nancy Grace? And if this post can save just one child from being lured in by a sexual predator on Goodreads, then for me, it would be well worth it. But why stop at maybe saving one? Can't we try to just save them all?
Before it's too late?
Or is it already too late? Worse yet, what are you going to do about it? What is Goodreads going to do about it, if anything at all? If you have a child who is a member on Goodreads, I suggest you get into his or her account and take a look for yourself if that child is participating in a sexually explicit role-playing game with an adult. If so, you contact authorities immediately! But if you think you can contact Goodreads and get any satisfying action, take a look at this next screenshot. While the anticipation was building for the release date of this story, I was able to capture this comment left by an Anon on a blog called "GenXpose" which says: (Discussing this articles pre-release)
“The about page does imply it will have to do with bullying. He mentions a role play group, assumes minors have joined. I am a group moderator on GR, and they hold us accountable that underage members are not exposed to certain elements. Our group (as many) require members agree they are 18 and above. GR has other methods that also cover their ass when it comes to underage members. If he thinks to expose something along this line, he’ll be deflated. GR will shut down any group, status update, author page … ect that is found or reported to hurt kids. The fact he tried to have a romantic relationship with a 17 Y.O. minor member was no doubt a big part of why he was kicked off the site. My money is on him having nothing of credibility.”
First of all, there are three things I wish to address with this comment, other than the fact that I am fully aware it was made by an Anon. First, there is no evidence that I was ever romantically involved with an underage girl. I had a lot of friends and fans who were minors when I was a member of Goodreads, but I never engaged inappropriately with any of them. I kept everything on a professional and friendly manner. Rumors such as this have constantly been spread around the internet on various blogs by irresponsible individuals and still to this day, not one piece of evidence has ever been presented supporting their claim. And the reason why there is no evidence is because it never happened. However, this is an issue that I will be addressing in a future post. As well as the whole "Goodreads Bullies" issue. Right now, we must stay focused on the frightening situation at hand.
Secondly, "...assumes minors have joined? ...." - The evidence clearly shows that there are no assumptions being made here. Screenshots (and links) don't lie. Nor do your own eyes. If this really is a mod of a role-play group on Goodreads, I think I would be extremely concerned with that comment if I were a parent of a child who is a member of Goodreads. How irresponsible and uncouth can one be? The story wasn't even broken yet and already, there is talk about putting together a defense. This is very unnerving.
I was also alerted onto another disheartening post made on this particular blog, GENXPOSE that is of some concern. An article that is attacking myself and the website called STGRB who, just days before this release, ran a preview article covering this horrendous story. The name of the article posted is titled "Libel will take you many places (none of which you want to go)". In it, STGRB is accused of "harassing, threatening and bullying" people by posting a preview leading up to this story, using material I edited out of this article. This is alarming! For anyone to assume that by revealing the truth of what is taking place on Goodreads is considered harassing, bullying or threatening is imprudent to say the very least. Do you think I am making this up? Think again. You can click on the link I provided you to "GenXpose" or you can take the word of this screenshot I am supplying you as proof.
Am I to understand that this blog supports children and adults interacting in a sexually explicit manner? Well, I can't answer that question, only the individual who wrote that article can answer that. Meanwhile, I am left shaking my head from the sheer horror of that possibility.
And finally, I want to highlight a section of this ANON comment from earlier that really disturbs me, and should most certainly disturb you. In fact, this should frighten the crucifix right off the priest.
“GR has other methods that also cover their ass when it comes to underage members.”
Really, Anon? They have ways to “cover their ass”? Thank you for the heads up. We’ll all most certainly take that under advisement and consideration. I'm sure the parents will sleep better at night knowing this as well.
And so the fear for the children continues to grow. First they want to try and make me into something that I am not and they have no proof of, and then they are not above trying to cover up this injustice against the kids. Now a blog comes out proudly proclaiming that they are against this article which is designed to bring attention to a serious problem, and hope that by doing so, positive changes can be made to prevent a tragedy that clearly, with a little effort and sensibility, can be averted.
Some people have no shame.
Don’t let that Anon comment, or that disturbing post on "GenXpose" distract from the real issue here. And that is, there are adults interacting with minors in an inappropriate manner, by way of sexually explicit role-playing on Goodreads. The proof has been shown with just a few groups having been featured out of over 1,750 that exist on their site. And despite what the Anon commenter says, and that article, it is not being properly monitored or addressed. This situation is a time bomb waiting to explode, and that explosion can go off right into the face of an underage child. And I believe it will explode eventually if something isn’t done about it soon. It is all about accountability.
And regardless of how the Anon commenter, and the people at the "GenXpose" blog wants to slice it and dice it and pretty it up or cover it up, or assert their irrational theories of harassment and bullying, the cold hard fact remains: No minor should even be involved with role-playing groups where sexually explicit role-playing is going on. Not even among themselves - much less with adults in the group, and interacting with them. It’s just too much of a Pandora’s Box. Even when I think about about many kids could be creating secondary accounts to "pose" as an adult in order to perhaps sneak into one of these adult groups, I also shudder at the thought of possibly an adult "posing" as a minor just to role-play with kids in a sexually explicit manner. The pendulum swings both ways I guess. Still, I have to wonder, does Goodreads really need this sort of thing for a book website?
So the final question is, what are you going to do about it? What are we going to do about it? And when is it going to be done? Don't wait until it's too late. The next child that role-plays in a sexually explicit manner with an adult - on a book site called Goodreads.com - could be yours.
I’m Carroll Bryant - And this is The Looking Glass.
What we learned today
* Kids are role-playing with adults in a sexually explicit manner on Goodreads.com.
* There are over 1,750 of these "Sex Role-Play" groups on Goodreads.
* Goodreads isn't doing a good enough job policing it.
* There runs the possibility of a potential cover-up
What you can do to help the children
Contact Otis Chandler (Founder of Goodreads) and insist he makes it safer for your kids by banning all sexually explicit role-playing games for both kids, and adults. Remind him that Goodreads is about literature, and not a sex site. Good wholesome role-play is fine. Not sexually explicit ones. He can do this. He does have that power. Tell him to do the right thing!
Contact Patrick Brown (Community manager of Goodreads) And demand that he start enforcing the Goodreads ToS. He can do this. He has that power. Tell him to do the right thing!
Contact Goodreads Investors and let them know what is going on at Goodreads. Share this link with them. Bring this ungodly situation to their attention, and let them know you won't tolerate this kind of thing.
Also, you can share this story with your friends. Send out group emails with the link to this site. Share this post on Twitter, Google, Facebook, and any other social website you are a member of. Get the word out!
Contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations if you come across an adult on Goodreads role-playing with a child in a sexually explicit manner. Flag the role-play conversation and let Goodreads know what you found. Demand the adult be banned. In fact, you could do a lot of good by flagging, and reporting any and all Goodreads ToS violations, including acts of bullying! And libel! It's about time for the decent people to take a stand and expect Goodreads to deliver what they promise in their ToS, a safe and pleasant atmosphere for which TRUE lovers of books can enjoy. Hold Goodreads accountable!