Is the Pinterest App Safe for Kids?
A complete app review for awesome parents
Pinterest App Details:
Description: One of the most popular social media sites on the planet right now, where people “pin” creative ideas on their “boards” which are shared. Pinterest is best used through the mobile app but is still very useful through the “regular” website, www.pinterest.com.
Category: Social Networking
APP Store rating: 12+ for Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes; Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content and Nudity (FYI: it used to be rated 4+).
What Parents Need to Know about Pinterest:
Under the Surface, There’s Porn: Yes, everywhere. If using the app, you must log-in in order to search content. If using the web, initially, the site will force you to input a username and password in order to see your search results, but if you simply hit F5 to refresh the URL, it will show you the results without logging in. If you directly type in an inappropriate search word, the site will say, “we don’t allow things that are inappropriate” but that’s just not true. There are TONS of inappropriate pictures that just aren’t tagged with any inappropriate words that would be flagged by Pinterest’s filters. Through drilling into boards and followers, a user could find almost anything pornographic.
Some Blockage: the Pinterest app and website can be effectively blocked with OpenDNS on both Apple and Android devices, using the “social networking” category. If you delete the Pinterest app and force use through a filtered browser like Covenant Eyes, you can effectively block most (but definitely not all) inappropriate searches.
It’s not just recipes and decorating ideas: There is as much self-harm and suicide content on Pinterest as there is on Instagram. Use the tips at the bottom of this blog post about self-harm content on Instagram to have a conversation with your kid about this type of content on all social media platforms.
Digital Wellbeing: Pinterest is trying to help their users embrace self-care. If you type in “stress quotes,” “anxiety,” etc., then Pinterest will lead you to a page of mindfulness exercises (like show self-compassion or practice gratitude). This article has some great screen shots.
The bottom line: Is Pinterest safe for kids?
Pinterest is social media, just like the other large social platforms. Therefore, COPPA is applicable, and users should all be 13. That being said, Pinterest is actually a pretty attractive social platform for training kids what social media is all about.
This is because www.pinterest.com operates very similarly as the Pinterest App. And, by co-using www.pinterest.com through a filtered and monitored web browser, like Covenant Eyes or Mobicip, inappropriate content can be partially blocked, and for what does get through, it can be discussed when it hits monitoring reports. This makes Pinterest a very nice training ground for young users (who can then graduate to the app version once they prove trustworthy).
If you want extra assurance, then the Bark solution can monitor search words and posts for inappropriate or dark language, sending an alert to parents. Pretty cool (assuming you know their account information)!
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.