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What is AO3? Everything Parents Need to Know


You may never hear of AO3, but you must know fanfiction. AO3, short for Archive of Our Own, is a website that allows people to create and share their fanfiction works. In addition, the platform is often used to find and share fan fiction of popular TV shows, movies, books, and so on. According to the statistics, Archive of Our Own hosted 9,350,000 worksin over 40,000fandoms as of May 2022.

However, this website's various content and popularity have worried many parents. What is AO3? Is AO3 safe? You will find all the answers you've been looking for in this guide.

What is AO3?

Archive of Our Own(AO3) is a hosting site for fan fiction and other transformative works. It was created in 2009 by the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting fan creativity. They aim to support and promote fan works and the transformative works they create.

AO3 has an extensive user base, so you'll find readers for your stories here. In addition, it has many features that do fanfiction reading and writing more accessible, including bookmarking, tagging, and filtering by length and rating.

The site calls itself "the best place to build and share your fanfiction with the world." It offers easy uploads and downloads and various tools for creating and managing your work.

One of the most significant benefits of AO3 is its extensive tagging system. You can tag your work with details, from characters and relationships to tropes and genres, making it easy for readers to find exactly what they're looking for.

AO3 has also become known for its rigorous moderation process. All submissions are screened by hand before making them available to the public.

AO3 Age Rating

Since its inception, Archive of Our Own (AO3) has been a fanfiction site catering to all age groups. However, the site has no age rating system; instead of relying on users to mark their works as appropriate for different audiences.

Lacking regulation has led to some concern among parents and educators about the content available on the site, which varies from educational, horror, love, to adult, etc. Thus, the content may be inappropriate for audiences under 13.

Is AO3 Safe for Kids?


There is no simple answer to whether or not AO3 is safe for kids, but parents can make the site safer for their kids. There is no doubt that kids' interests in writing and reading can be developed a lot on this platform, but they can be exposed to adult and mature works, which may cause kids to become over-addicted to this kind of writing.


Develops kids' reading habits: Kids fond of reading will enjoy using AO3 to share their stories with others. According to research, early literacy skills significantly impact future cognitive and academic achievement. By developing good reading habits early, your child will be better equipped to learn in school and excel in any career.

Increase knowledge and understanding ability: The website has interactive content that helps develop readers' comprehension, logical reasoning skills, problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, etc. In addition, there are various articles on different topics, such as science fiction, history, math, etc., which help children improve their understanding of the world around them.


Get addicted to inappropriate content: As this platform has no restriction for content, violence, or adult things like porn, kids might get addicted. While this cannot be guaranteed, children who use AO3 may become used to accessing explicit and violent images and videos without consequence, which can have severe consequences when attempting to access similar material on their own or when encountering similar situations in life.

Away from traditional reading: Another potential con of using AO3 for kids is that it can lead them away from conventional reading practices. By spending more time on social media than reading books, online activity becomes their primary form of entertainment. And as we know, too much screen time isn't good for our health or development.

Domestic Violence: There is also the potential for domestic violence if sensitive information is shared online without proper safeguards. Suppose your child shares personal information such as addresses or phone numbers online. In that case, it will become accessible to other individuals who may try to intimidate or hurt your family members.

Tips for Parents on AO3


On the fanfiction website Archive of Our Own (AO3), users can post their stories and fanart for others to enjoy. However, parents, these days have to be very careful about what they allow their children to access on the internet.

While sites like AO3 can be an excellent resource for finding books and reading material, they also pose potential risks for kids. For parents, it can be challenging to understand how the website works and how to keep their children safe while using it. Here are a few tips to help parents feel more comfortable with AO3:

  • Set up an account for yourself on AO3 and give it to your child, which will allow you to see all the activities on your child's phone. If they get addicted to inappropriate content or domestic violence, you can see their browsing history to check.
  • Talk to your children about appropriate content for them to view on AO3. There is a lot of mature content available on the website, so make sure your kids know what they're looking at before giving them free rein over the site.
  • Set some ground rules for using AO3. You may also want to limit the amount of time your child can spend on the site each day.
  • You can push them to read offline rather than online reading. AO3 develops reading habits, but it costs traditional reading.
  • If you are a parent who wants to keep track of your child's activity online, you can use any parental supervision app to do so. These apps allow you to see everything your child is doing online, including what websites they are visiting and downloading files. In addition, using a parental supervision app can help ensure that your child is safe while using AO3.

Parents need to be aware of the potential risks associated with using AO3. While the site can be an excellent resource for finding and sharing fanfiction, it is essential to avoid exposure to inappropriate content.

Can Parents Restrict Kids from Accessing AO3?

Nowadays, parents can use parental supervision apps to restrict kids' online activity, including prohibiting them from accessing the AO3 site.

Wondershare FamiSafe is one of the most reliable parental control apps parents can trust to ensure kids' online safety. The app can be used to block websites or apps to protect kids from accessing any harmful content.

Here are the specific steps to use FamiSafe:

Step 1. Install FamiSafe and FamiSafe Kids. on your and your kids' devices.

Step 2.Launch FamiSafe on your device and sign up.

Step 3.Check the app's pairing code after signing in successfully. And then, open FamiSafe Kids. on your kid's device.

Step 4.Sign in with the same account on FamiSafe Kids. Then follow the instruction to fill in the pairing code.

Step 5.Grant permissions to FamiSafe Kids. to monitor your kid's device.

Step 6.To restrict kids from accessing AO3, please tap Web Filter on the navigation bar.

Step 7.Click the Exceptions option on the top line, then tap Add Exception to add the URL of Archive of Our Own: https://archiveofourown.org/

Step 8.Choose Block, then tap Save. Now your kids can not access this site anymore.


AO3 is a fantastic site perfect for fanfiction and other creative writing. However, the writing genres vary a lot, and kids may be exposed to harmful content, making it essential to monitor kids' online activity to ensure their physical and mental safety.

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