That's "Pinterest"ing

While to be politically correct, I would say that this blog is for everyone, let’s be real. A blog about Pinterest is for the ladies and the millennials. The statistics agree. Eighty-one percent of Pinterest users are female, and men only represent 7% of Pinterest pins. Pinterest is the ultimate idea board. I used it for wedding planning and party planning and fun new hair ideas and design ideas for the house my husband and I are planning to build. I have spent hours on this site, and I am sure I am not the only one. In fact, millennials use Pinterest as much as they use Instagram. Shocker? It shouldn’t be. While most Pinterest users are absolutely in love with the app, it would be foolish to think that Pinterest stands out as the infallible social media platform.

Boasting 250 million monthly active users, Pinterest has a wide following, especially in the younger demographics. It is therefore important to be aware of some possible safety issues within the app.

Danger #1: Adult Content

Pinterest has no filter, so even if you have a program on your computer to filter adult content, it will not work on Pinterest. Worse, it can be easily accessed just by a simple search. Pinterest is also reactive about it, so you cannot prevent your child from seeing it, but you can report it.

While this is a real danger, the good news is that you have to actively look for the adult content to find it. I have been using Pinterest for three years and only once or twice have I ever accidentally come into contact with adult content.

Danger #2: Strangers and Scams

This is a matter of privacy. Public boards can be followed by anyone. Scammers also love Pinterest. Sometimes they will pose as celebrities and invite collaborators. This is a scam. Come on. Celebrities don’t need collaborators, and they will not pick you. Or me. Or basically anyone who is not also a celebrity. These are people posing as celebs to collect your information. Also, as a general rule, posts that look too good to be true most likely are. Surely you have seen the posts that promise that you’ll lose a dress size in a week or the ones that promise you’ll make thousands of dollars a week sitting on your couch. It’s a scam. Most likely, it will take you to some obscure third-party website, where it will ask for your sensitive data to continue or plant a virus in your computer. Don’t fall for it.

Danger #3: Reputation Management

This is a real danger with children concerning the stranger danger issue. What they post on Pinterest should be just as clean and upstanding as what they post on Linked In or any other social media site. If they should happen to post an inappropriate picture and their profile is not entirely private, it could be shared and pinned for all the world to see, including on sites other than Pinterest.

Like we said earlier, Pinterest is not perfect, and there are some real dangers associated with using it. However, while I know that parents will want to bubble wrap their kids and take the phones away entirely, kids are clever. Rather than creating a tyrannical environment where your kids are not allowed to use social media, consider creating an open and honest environment in your home so that you as a parent are aware of what is going on. Trust me, your kids know technology better than you do, and they will figure out how to use it behind your back. It would be much better to train them how to use Pinterest and other social media platforms properly. Here are a few guidelines.

Tip #1: Private Profiles

Pinterest has several features that can put a profile on lockdown. Click on the SAVED tab on the bottom right in the app> Settings icon in the top right> Edit settings> Here you have several options.

Search privacy hides your profile from search engines.

Disconnect other social media accounts. Pinterest has the option to connect to Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Etsy, and YouTube. Ideally, you should disconnect all accounts, but use your judgement and be selective. Also be careful when setting up your profile. Do not add your location or any sensitive details about yourself. Use Pinterest for what it was meant for, and you should be fine.

Tip #2: Secret Boards

Pinterest has an option to make secret boards, where you can put pins you’d like to keep but would rather the world not see. Keep in mind, the whole point of Pinterest is to create and share unique ideas for arts and crafts, blogs, design ideas, etc. Not all of your boards have to be secret. Others cannot post to your boards if they are not collaborators, but they can see what your pin to your public boards. Again, use your own judgement to figure out what is best for you.

Tip #3: Boundaries

This is perhaps the biggest proactive step you as parents can take with your Pinterest-loving teens. Just set boundaries-healthy ones. Boundaries like no nude photos. That should be obvious to a teen, but who knows what goes on in those brains. Another good one is no cyberbullying. Set whatever boundaries you as parents feel are healthy and fair, but you MUST enforce them. Personally, I would target that phone. Inappropriate posts get 1 month of phone detention. (Also monitor the computer- they can access Pinterest from there). It’s entirely up to you what boundaries you set and how you enforce them. Just make sure that your kids are aware of the dangers. Sometimes sitting down and having an honest conversation about the dangers of any social media platform might just make them more cooperative than resistant, and at the very least, they will be informed.

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