What Parents Should Know: Vine Becomes PG-13

Just over a year after its debut, Vine (a Twitter-owned platform) had brought about a major change in their Terms of Service. Last week, Twitter announced and immediate change in the terms banning all pornographic and sexually explicit content.vine001

Twitter and, by extension, Vine had no rules against pornographic material though they did supress the content by putting up disclaimers over the video before playing and kept them from the trending videos pages. Shortly after launching, the app did take action by raising the rating from 12+ to 17+ or a mature rating in app stores.

With little to no restrictions in place, Vine quickly became  home to both shared and homemade pornographic material including explicit videos created by underage users. Though there was an outcry about this content, it seemed to quickly slip out of the limelight and the problems continued albeit under the radar.

Vine became a hot button topic recently when a teen posted explicit videos of himself performing sexual acts with food items.

With that in the news, Twitters announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. In a statement Twitter’s leadership wrote:

“We introduced Vine to make it easier for people to find, watch, create and share videos right from their mobile phones. As we’ve watched the community and your creativity grow and evolve, we’ve found that there’s a very small percentage of videos that are not a good fit for our community. So we’re making an update to our Rules and Terms of Service to prohibit explicit sexual content.”

The new rules prohibit all videos containing sexual acts or any type as well as animation or photographs containing nudity. Exempt from these rules are videos/photos deemed to be containing documentary, artistic or educational materials. Sexually suggestive content is also exempt as long as people in the video are clothed.

While a large number or users are not affected by this change those who are were warned about the change ahead of time. Users were given time to remove content. Those still uploading or refusing to remove content are suspended until they comply with repeated offenders being removed from the site.

Vine, like it’s competitor Instagram, will not be monitoring content full time and will rely on its users to report inappropriate content via the “Report this Post” option.

For more information about this app, check out my post: What Parents Should Know About Vine and Vine vs. Instagram.

As always, if you have a questions about a web site or app send an e-mail to info@joshgunderson.com and we’ll get you an 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.

Vine vs. Instagram: Which Is The Better Choice For Your Child

Last week’s entries about what parents should know about Vine and Instagram (with video) have created an interesting response in my inbox. Many parents want to know- which is better for my kid?

SPOILER ALERT: The winner is going to be Instagram.vine-vs-instagram

Privacy

Both Instagram and Vine give users the ability to keep their content private. By selecting this option (click “Edit My Profile” in Instagram, “Settings” followed by “My Content” on Vine) the only people that can see posts by a user and the ones that have been approved by the user to follow them. If you do not approve a user to follow you, they cannot see anything you are posting but your profile is still public. (I’m not sure how this applies to “revining” a video as its new to the latest update and I’ve had Vine for about two days).

I will also note that, until the most recent Vine update, there was no such thing as privacy on the app. This is important to know because if you are using the app and now wish for your content to be private- you can do so!

Content

The problem I have with Vine (and the reason that it is the loser in this game) is the content. Within minutes of being on the app I was able to locate pornographic material. Lots of it.

Twitter (who owns Vine) has no policy when it comes to inappropriate content on its site. This has lead to a large amount of mature posts onto the app. Though the app does restrict certain words from being used in hash tags (which users can search to find certain content, like puppies, why aren’t there more puppies?) this has just caused “mature” users to get more creative in how they tag posts. On that falls through the cracks is #NSFW (Not Safe For Work) which you can imagine will be posts that you don’t want to be watching at work.

This lack of content filtering is what lead Apple to request that the age limit for Vine be changed from 12+ to 17+. If you have set age restrictions on your child’s device, they won’t be able to download the app.

Facebook (who owns Instagram) has different views when it comes to inappropriate content. They forbid it. Within the Terms of Service for Instagram you will find the following: “While we respect the artistic integrity of photos and videos, we have to keep our product and the content within it in line with our App Store’s rating for nudity and mature content. In other words, please do not post nudity or mature content of any kind.”

Inappropriate content on Instagram can be reported by users and subsequently investigated and removed by Instagram. Repeat offenders will have their accounts suspended.

So there you have it. If you’re wondering which app is best for your child, I would go with Instagram. You will certainly be able to rest easier knowing that their access to inappropriate material is restricted to the point of non existence (though it’s important to know that borderline inappropriate material can and does exist, it’s likely to be less graphic).

If you’re curious as to which app’s features and interface are the best, I suggest checking out this awesome side-by-side comparison by TechSplurge (I’m also going to take this moment to give them credit for the graphic I used for this post- you’ll recognize it from their entry).

Do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments section below!

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.

What Parents Should Know About Vine

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: info@joshgunderson.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

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?

Maybe.

Privacy
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.

User Interactions
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 info@joshgunderson.com 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.