Tumblr Website Poster Image

Tumblr

Rich microblogging site includes abundant iffy content.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to express themselves and explore interests as part of a blogging community. Kids who prefer visual expression will enjoy creating posts supported by Tumblr's emphasis on less text and more media. With customization options, new bloggers can design a cool publishing space. But Tumblr provides only the barest of instructions and tools. Watch out: Without guidance on Tumblr, kids could get lost in a seemingly endless photo album. 

Positive messages

Messages are a mixed bag. Some posts are positive with supportive comments; others are heavy on snark and pop culture.

Violence

Teens can find descriptions, images, and videos of both fantasy and real-life violence, which is sometimes bloody.

Sex

Tumblr prohibits "obscene, pornographic, abusive, indecent" behavior and members younger than 18. However, text, images, and videos depicting full nudity and sex acts are rampant on the site and extremely easy to find. Users can chat with each other if they follow each other's blogs, so it's possible that teens could chat with adults in real time. Privacy can be guarded — but only through an awkward workaround, because the first profile a member creates is public and can be viewed by anyone on the Internet. For full privacy, members must create a second profile, which they can password-protect. Porn is a possibility if kids are creatively searching.

 

Language

Blog titles and text have a full range of iffy language, including "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

Kids won't see a ton of ads, but many companies use blogs to promote their products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens can easily find blogs that include pictures and posts about drinking, smoking, and drugs, especially marijuana.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that that this online hangout is hip and creative but too raunchy for tykes. The microblogging site and app showcases a range of user-generated content including product ads, pornographic images, depictions of drug use, and plenty of offensive language. Though the keyword search does block terms such as "porn," "f--k," and "sex," curious kids could stumble upon racy, and even raunchy, images and writings. (There's really everything under the sun here -- positive and negative.) The terms of service specify that Tumblr should not be used by children under 13, but the app stores rate it as mature and for 17 and older. Note that posts are public by default and there's only one privacy setting which is only available on the website -- not the app: Users can turn off the option to let others find their blog through an email address. 

 

What's it about?

After setting up an account on TUMBLR, users are presented with several suggested blogs to follow or can search by keyword to find blogs; they can also create short blogs, or "tumblelogs." Teens can like posts or text and share photos, quotes, links, music, voice messages, and videos.  They can reblog other users' posts so they show up on their personal blogs. By tapping a smiley face icon, users can chat with bloggers they follow. If they don't disable push notifications, users will receive notifications when their blogs have been liked or reblogged.

 

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Though it's a potentially creative outlet where teens can connect with others, it also has a lot of mature content and almost no privacy options.Though some might pick Tumblr over Facebook or MySpace, it doesn't really compete in that space. It's more of a cross between a blog and Twitter. Think of it as a superblog, a streaming scrapbook of text, photos, videos, and audio clips, offering information a wide variety of topics. For example, there are how-to blogs about eating disorders and also support-oriented blogs about preventing them.

The lack of a commenting feature, the oldest blog tool in the world, is rather annoying. But the look is sleek and the features Tumblr has are often inspired. Users can curate their followings according to their tastes. Reading on the phone or tablet is easy and appealing, and posting quick blogs-on-the-go is super easy, with a graphical interface for entering text, images, quotes, links, videos, or simply a "hello" greeting.

The snazzy microblogging platform has something for everyone -- except kids. Lowbrow humor abounds alongside more thoughtful content. Users should be aware that the option to chat with other users opens up possibilities for teens to have contact with anonymous adults. It's also important to note that, in the app, there's no way to prevent people from finding your posts by searching for your email address, so the site actually provides more flexibility within the settings. Overall, Tumblr promises good, naughty fun for the under-30 crowd and can be a solid venue for self-expression, but parents should think twice about letting minors join.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss the wisdom of older teens joining a site such as Tumblr, which seems to have been created largely by and for 20-somethings. The content is by turns refreshing, juvenile, inscrutable, and sexually provocative.

  • Families can talk about how to responsibly use social-networking sites -- and how to react if someone posts something inappropriate. Set some rules for what is and isn't appropriate for your teens to communicate and post online. For example, discuss how text and pictures posted in a public forum are forever: Though it may not seem like a big deal to share something one day, posts with photos or comments about youthful misbehavior could come back to haunt them.

  • Families can talk about issues that teens may see on Tumblr, from sex, gender, and body-image issues to violence. Read our guides for ideas on how to broach these topics.

  • Remind teens not to give out personal information -- such as a full name, an address, or a school name -- to strangers. Some "meet-up" blogs have popped up on Tumblr in the past, and those are definitely not for kids.

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Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: writing
Skills:Creativity: making new creations, producing new content
Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: digital creation, social media
Genre:Blogging
Pricing structure:Free

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Teen, 16 years old Written byjerseyystrongg November 25, 2011

Parents Need To Stop Blaming the Internet for their Problems

Yes, you have to use caution on these websites. There could be predators anywhere. But there is no where that it is required for personal information. I don't have a scrap of information that reveals anything about me. The most people can gather is that I love poetry, art, and travel. Instead of criticizing the website, maybe take a little time to actually teach your kids to be smart on the internet. Parents, stop blaming the internet for all of your problems. Take some time and be a parent instead of following what parenting websites say to do.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written bythinbones April 16, 2011

It's what you make of it.

I found the general review to be very misleading for parents. I absolutely love tumblr myself, and I'm not saying it's a bad site, but it's definitely a site that can be customized to be incredibly inappropriate. Users can follow blogs entirely dedicated to porn, drugs, and gory imagery if they want to. As much as I whole-heartedly support the site as a whole, things that some parents would coonsider shocking are extremely easy to find for users. On another note, users are extremely interactive with one another and consider tumblr as a sort of secret society where outsiders are not welcome. I would not recommend the site for younger children, mostly because if other users find out that they are young, they will become incredibly malicious and will attack the young user through the sites "ask box" feature. Many a young teen and preteen has been mercilessly slaughtered by the unaccepting tumblr community.
Teen, 16 years old Written bySydneySays July 3, 2011

Please keep your children off Tumblr.

As much as I love Tumblr, it is absolutely NOT for anyone under the age of 15. It's not the images on tumblr that I'm worried about (the images that appear on a dashboard depend on who you're child is following), it's the people. I won't lie, I'm guilty of being a jerk to someone on tumblr just because they were 12, because if you're 12, you don't belong on tumblr. When I was 12, I had neopets, that's where your 12 year old's should be. For your child's sanity, and you're own, don't let them make a Tumblr, people ARE jerks and will use any excuse to act out on the internet.