Dangers of Tumblr
Tumblr was released in 2007 and has since risen quickly in popularity. Now occupying one of the top 10 app positions in the US, it has become increasingly popular with today’s teens. Why? It has relatively few filters and allows teens to connect with people across the globe with similar interests. Also, the likelihood that their parents are on Tumblr is slim to none.
Tumblr can be a great creative outlet for your teenager, as it allows them to blog about the subjects they are passionate about and connect with people of similar interests. However, as with any social networking site, there are dangers. Today, we will give you three major dangers. I encourage you to do the research for any app you notice your teen using and set reasonable boundaries based on that research. But, let’s be real… it’s so much easier to let someone else do the research for you. So, here we go…three dangers of Tumblr.
Danger #1: Privacy
To say that Tumblr’s privacy settings are lacking is something of an understatement. In fact, the mobile app does not even have that option. Posts on Tumblr are designed to be public; therefore, it is difficult to make your posts private. In addition, users cannot block other users. They can ignore the bad user (for lack of a better term), but this is one-sided and only prevents the good user from seeing the bad user’s material. The bad user can still see and share the good user’s posts. It does not sever the tie between users. Why is this a danger? Because teenagers have judgement lapses. They friend random strangers on social media without a second thought. The information they put online is permanent, and all someone has to do is share it a few times, and that information is there to stay. The people who have that kind of control over your teenagers should not be complete strangers.
Danger #2: Adult Content
Tumblr has a bit of a history when it comes to adult content. Apple even pulled it off of the App store for said content. Tumblr claims to have increased the sensitivity of the filters, but pornographic material has still gotten through. So has child pornography, which is part of the reason it was pulled from the App store. Teens do not even have to be looking for it to pop up. Seemingly innocent words and phrases in the search bar can bring back some not-so-innocent results. In addition, Tumblr has been known to allow for self-harm and suicidal content that can be very disturbing to a vulnerable teenage mind.
Danger #3: Trolling and Bullying
Now, trolling and cyberbullying are not unique to Tumblr, but the unmonitored nature of the platform makes it ripe for such posts and comments. Technically, Tumblr is supposed to be monitoring for these things. But, there are only 300 people working for the company, compared to the millions of comments and posts sent every day. Teens are particularly vulnerable to taking on other people’s opinions in the way they value and evaluate themselves. It is just part of being a teenager. What we allow our teens to expose their minds to will have an effect on them, whether positive or negative.
As the parent, you are the first line of defense. I know it does not feel like it sometimes, but your opinion is the most important opinion to your teenager. Sit down and have a frank conversation about being digitally responsible. Communicate to your teen that everything they put online is permanent and it can have lifelong consequences.
If they need a creative outlet, there are dozens of blog sites out there where they can be both creative and safe. If you choose to allow your teen to be on Tumblr, I recommend heavy monitoring. The app is not safe, and some strict guidelines need to be in place.