In our efforts to continue to make deviantART an undesirable destination for online predators we looked into research regarding the behavior of these types of people in an effort to identify the greatest risk factors associated with actually encountering them.
Research into actual case studies on the subject show that what puts children at risk for receiving the more serious kinds of sexual solicitation online is not revealing personal information or having a blog or visiting a website or chat room but rather what puts them at the most risk is a willingness to talk about sex online with strangers or having a pattern of multiple risky activities on the web such as visiting sex sites, sexually oriented chat rooms, or initiating sexual discussions with strangers.
Notice a pattern there?
Currently the policies which we have had in place for years already address this primary risk factor; we have always forbidden sexually oriented discussion in any area of deviantART and we also routinely suspend those caught participating in such discussions and even go as far as to indefinitely ban those involved in severe or explicit discussions.
This news article is intended to serve as a reminder that we do not allow any sort of sexual commentary on site, which includes everything from deviation pages to the forums to your journal, account page and even the chatrooms on dAmn.
Anyone caught engaging in "cybersex" or any other explicit sexual discussion on site will be facing a suspension at the very least when it is brought to the attention of staff; this is a situation which we have always taken seriously and which we will continue to take seriously in the future.
The one area where the policies will be becoming stricter will be in regards to the deviantART Messaging Network (dAmn).
Currently we have a recurring problem with chat rooms created and used almost exclusively for sexual role play; the primary risk factor for risk of encountering an online sexual predator. While the actual number of rooms and the number of people participating is small it remains a highly undesirable situation.
Up until now penalties for being caught engaged in this sort of behavior while accessing dAmn has consisted mainly of closing down the chat room being used and perhaps a suspension from dAmn for those involved.
Over the next couple of weeks a new set of policies will be phased in to replace the comparatively more lenient dAmn policy in place now in an effort to keep deviantART an undesirable destination for predators;
Any user who becomes too sexually explicit in an officially recognized chat room will be kicked from the chat room. Repeat offenders will be suspended from dAmn for some period of time appropriate for the situation.
The standard penalty for sexual role play or explicit sexual discussion while accessing dAmn will be a two week minimum site suspension.
Chat room founders and operators will be considered responsible for sexual role play or explicit sexual discussion found in their chat room and will receive the same two week minimum suspension that is given to those found engaging in the behavior in their chat.
The standard penalty for the creation of a chat room specifically for the encouragement of sexual role play or explicit sexual discussion will be an indefinite ban from the site.
With these shifts in policy we hope to both curtail explicit sexual role play and also encourage room Founders and Operators to be more aware of what is occurring in their chat rooms and act to intervene before administrative action is necessary.
We encourage everyone to help keep deviantART a safe and comfortable community by denying online predators what they seek the most; being able to talk sexually with children.