Longform

4chan camgirl Loli-chan grows up

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She posted her screen name on the board and was courted by hundreds of men per day. She would chat with them for hours in the family computer room, where she had arranged the tower so it would block her parents’ view of the monitor.

Loli-chan’s images weren’t pornographic; many were even innocent, such as a video in which she rapped the theme song from the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In fact, that was part of the appeal for many of the fans who found her endearing.

But for some people, those images were just a precursor to something awful waiting to happen. One day, Jacqueline Singh, a private military contractor in Iraq who frequented 4chan, decided enough was enough.

Loli had posted a photo of herself wearing a uniform bearing her school’s logo. Singh called the school and told administrators about what their young pupil was doing online. Just after Loli began eighth grade, her parents were called into a meeting with the principal and head priest.

The conversation at home afterward was awkward, Loli recalls. Her mom and brother sat there silently as her father told Loli that all of her Internet privileges were being revoked.

“It was basically super-embarrassing, and he framed it in terms of me posting pictures for pedophiles, which wasn’t the way I looked at it,” she says. “Unfortunately, I saw my parents as my enemies and thought they would never understand, and I had the attitude that I was gonna keep taking pictures and save them and post them all when I was eighteen.”

But Loli didn’t wait that long; she just moved her Internet presence deeper underground, where her parents didn’t know to look, and posted when they weren’t around. She would upload images on places such as ChanSluts and check up on what she thought of as her “fan club,” which then numbered in the hundreds. (Even today, thousands of her photos are plastered across the Internet on image boards.)

Her first online boyfriend was upfront about the fact that he was thirty years old, even though she was only fourteen at the time. The two dated for eight months after chatting for a year. Loli never knew what her beau looked like until one day she received a picture of a fat, nerdy guy with curly dark hair. It disgusted her, and she ended the relationship.

The second boyfriend called himself George Peard and claimed to be only a few months older than Loli. He sounded young the one time they spoke on the phone, but his sexual interests proved otherwise. He would constantly describe sexual fantasies he had about his eleven-year-old girl cousin. “George” would pressure Loli into sending special photos, such as her in a skirt or wearing pigtails.

Long before sexting became the topic of national conversation, girls like Loli were setting the prototype for self-exploitation. And because they did so in the nascent days of the Internet, no one could have anticipated the consequences. Today, entire academic journals exist to study the effect of the web on attention-seeking kids, but nothing like that existed even a few years ago. The Chans provide pretty much the only longitudinal study on the fallout of oversharing.

And though parents today are at least a little Internet-savvy, their counterparts in the mid-’00s weren’t clear on how seedy the web could be. With no one watching, girls like Loli used the Internet to explore their sexual curiosities. Chans posted pictures of themselves in a liminal period between the invention of the web and the time when adults became as knowledgeable as their offspring. To Catch a Predator ― a TV show in which host Chris Hansen entraps would-be rapists ― is pretty much a pop-culture trope these days. However, the kids of the previous generation received little to no warning about such men.

Even though the mounting evidence against Loli’s boyfriend George was overwhelming, the fourteen-year-old still felt a certain amount of inertia. “I felt obligated every month on the same day that we started dating to send him a set of pics,” she says. “He never explicitly asked, but I thought I was doing it in gratitude for him dating me.”

After George persuaded Loli to send nude pictures, he posted them on 4chan. Other posters quickly derided her as a slut. She never dated anyone online again.

One day when she was sixteen years old, Loli met a scrawny boy named Lucien in a cemetery near her house. She had to sneak out to see him at first. But after a year, her parents agreed to meet him over some turkey clubs at a local Denny’s. Loli was enamored with his good looks, his jokes, and the fact that he knew nothing about 4chan. Soon she made him her first real-life boyfriend and began calling him by the pet name Lucien-Chan.

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Allie Conti
Contact: Allie Conti