What parents need to know about Pinterest

What is it?

 Pinterest is a photo-sharing site used as an online pinboard. One can create collections of his or her own images and can re-pin photos from other people. Users can also share, save, and categorize pictures and ideas for everything from crafting, tattoos and photography to cooking, decorating and collecting stuff.

Pinterest started in 2010 as an artsy crafty platform for ideas around quilting, knitting and decorating. At the end of 2019, Pinterest reported having 322 million monthly active users worldwide. 71% of global users are women, according to Statista. 52% of millennials uses Pinterest everyday, company says.

Is Pinterest appropriate for children?

Compared to other social media platforms, Pinterest comes with fewer safety hazards. Inappropriate content could be the biggest issue, though. It can be easily found through keywords or links to websites with adult content. The app has no filters that parents can use to block explicit content and no efficient way of preventing children from seeing it (other than reporting it afterward).

There can also be people sending negative messages about things one pins, but the cyberbullying incidence is not as high as it is on other social media platforms. In summer of 2019,  Pinterest launched the “compassionate search”,  a collection of emotional well-being activities for users experiencing sadness, stress, anxiety, depression and beyond and they are planning to bring it to other countries in 2020.

How to protect children on Pinterest?

Pinterest is a good platform to find inspiration from people with similar interests from all over the world. To make sure your children have a good experience with Pinterest, you might think about the following:

1. Check all the privacy settings for Pinterest and decide together how much privacy the kids need. For younger children, maybe you should approve and keep an eye on all their followers.

2. Heads up about the “Private Pinning” feature that lets a user create “secret boards.” Once a board is set up like this, it will be shared only with certain people.

3. Hide the profile from Google and other search engines by activating this exact option from settings if you don’t want anyone to see your children’s activity on Pinterest.

4. Turn off the “personalization” feature to prevent the sale of your kids’ data to advertisers.

5. Discuss with your kids what they can post / view so as to keep them safe and encourage responsible behavior on social media. For example, they should avoid posting photos of themselves.

6. Unlink their profile from other social networks to minimize risks of cyberbullying.

Using Pinterest as a visual learning aid can be creative and fun.

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