Due to the appearance of popular social networks, people acquired new approaches to expressing themselves, spreading information, and communicating with each other. Everybody, including the young ones, has access to various chat apps, social networks, and blogs. And one of the outstanding spots in social networking is taken by the blogging platform Tumblr.
So, one may be still unaware and ask: “What is Tumblr?” To make it short and easy to grasp, Tumblr is a social networking space that comes as a micro-blogging platform. It is described as a micro-blog because all activities resemble the regular blog, but the content is shared in small pieces and excerpts. The platform is very popular among teenagers for the opportunity it provides to express themselves, follow other blogs, comment on somebody else’s posts, and collect media they like.
Kids adore this micro-blog because they can share and explore everything within their interests and, thus, entertain themselves. With Tumblr, it is possible to share texts, photos, videos, music, or links to other sources. But, still, how does Tumblr work, you wonder? Create an account, start your blog and make it appealing to others, find the blog you like and want to follow, comment on different blog posts, make friends and earn a reputation eventually.
Simple, isn’t it? Besides, Tumblr users don’t only leave feeds to their or other blogs; they can also follow and re-blog posts from other users. So, a board with content that belongs to a totally different user can be displayed in your personal account.
According to statistics from Digital Marketing Ramblings, 61% of children between the age of 13-19 years old state that Tumblr is the number one social network for them. To keep parents informed, the main reasons Tumbler entices kids are:
- Possibility to explore interests;
- An option to customize a blog and look the way you wish;
- Ability to post anything and share what you love;
- Opportunity to follow favorites and re-blog their posts.
Being so great, functional, and easy to use, Tumblr still has pitfalls to be avoided. Like with every other social networking platform, inappropriate Tumblr cases occur, too. Let’s inspect the main caveats and find how Tumblr may be harmful to children.
All Tumblr accounts are accessible to other users
Tumblr accounts are not private. Only blogs and blog posts can be privatized. Thus, children can be reached by false parties or have their personal information unwillingly exposed. Besides, the main blog is always public, and in order to create a private blog, a user has to start a second one that can be password protected.
An unrestricted online community exposes kids to danger in real life
In conformity with its policy, Tumblr allows anyone who is 13+ years old to join. To create an account, only an email and a username are required. Thus, there is no way to verify the proper age or user identity. This has caused numerous haters’ and trolls’ accounts to exist, hiding behind fake users.
Unmonitored content allows access to loads of bad, harassing, porn-related and lewd content
Tumblr is widely used to express ideas, show hobbies, and post compelling stuff. However, a decent part of all the content on the blog doesn’t correspond with common sense. A bunch of adult-oriented content, inappropriate material propagation, and offensive posts can readily attract kids. Trying to be hip, modern, and cunning, kids get under this kind of influence very quickly.
A private messaging function allows contacts with other users
Besides conducting blogs, users can also talk to each other via private messages. Obviously, a child may be approached by an online predator, a cyberbully, or just a spammer. Eventually, an innocent kid may get misled and prompted to harm himself or others or just get in trouble involuntarily.
When not misused, Tumblr is a great place for teens to explore their interests, pose themselves in a community by making comments or posts, and follow popular blogs to stay aware of what is on the agenda. However, the question still bugs: is Tumblr safe for teens? Nobody can say for sure, but parents can do a lot to prevent children from the possible noxious influence of the micro-blog.
First and foremost, it is communication. It is imperative to discuss online safety issues with kids and give examples of how online activity may be treacherous. Also, a great practice is to show children how to avoid traps doing things online. Finally, it is important to simply monitor the social networking activities of kids occasionally to be informed of what their internet life looks like.
Does your kid use Tumblr? Do you allow it?