This week continues my regular series “What Parents Should Know.” This week’s question comes from a parent in Melbourne, Australia. Have something you’re wondering about? Send me a message and I’ll do my best to find an answer: email@example.com
I have really had no interest in the Vine app, though I am often asked if I have a Vine Account. Until I sat down to write this post, I didn’t. I’m a hands-on learner so I have downloaded and began using the app to get a better idea of what it’s all about.
Vine was created in June of 2012 and acquired by Twitter in October of the same year. Vine is a mobile app which allows users to create and share short video clips with other users. Since its inception, the app has been used in many ways including coverage of important news events and advertising.
Many of the “vines” I have seen come from friends in the comedy world and are a lot of fun to watch. Friend and TV personality Justin Willman often posts behinds the scenes vines from Cupcake Wars which can be a lot of fun to watch.
That being said, to the question, is Vine safe for children? Should parents be concerned about Vine?
Privacy does exist on Vine (at least in the Android version that I have). Under settings, select “Your Content.” This will being you to a screen which gives you the option of setting your Vines to private. Which this setting in place, your Vines can only be viewed by users that you have approved (much like privacy on twitter, those you approve are able to follow your content feed).
While there is this option, it doesn’t stop content from leaking out into the online world. There are web sites out there dedicated to showing recent vines from users, bringing videos from the app to the web. These sites even allow for viewers to record the content onto their computer. Don’t believe me? Check this site out.
If you know Instagram at all, you already have an idea of how to interact with others on Vine. You are able to follow users to create a feed of content for you to view.
When users post or comment they can use hash tags which allow others to search for similar content.
Users have the ability to “like” and comment on content.
Vine also gives me the opportunity to throw back to an earlier post about Kik Messenger. A lot of the mature content I found on Vine had the posters also revealing their Kik Username and encouraging users to get in touch with them if they like that they see.
Speaking Of Content
It really didn’t take long for me to find inappropriate posts on the app. Pornography isn’t against Twitters guidelines so those posting graphic content do so without fear of punishment. Because pornographic content violates Apple’s terms of service, on February 5, 2013 Twitter raised the minimum age limit to download the Vine app from 12 to 17 following a request by Apple. Unless you have set restrictions for content on your child’s phone, they are going to still be able to download the app.
Who is on Vine?
The site allows you to follow just about anyone from friends to celebrities. Though there is no set age restriction, the site does comply with COPPA in that users under 13 are not allowed (though it doesn’t nothing to check the age of its users despite the plethora of inappropriate content).
Josh, You’re On Vine?
For now. I created an account to learn more about the app. I plan on playing around with it to get a good feel for it. I may end up keeping it! Who knows!
I suggest parents use their better judgment which it comes to their kids using the app. It’s important to keep in mind that while kids over 13 may join up, the app is rated for users 17 and over. The site does offer a creative outlet for those interested in video and animation, though the availability of pornographic content is cause for concern. If users under the age of 18 are creating this content it can lead to some pretty serious charges against the creators and those looking on.
Do you have a questions about an app or social networking site? Please feel free to e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to find you the answer!
Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com
You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.