A parent’s guide to social media: Part 2 – Tumblr
By Allison Tait | August 20, 2014
Social media - Tumblr

It’s a brave new world out there in cyberspace. A place full of Kiks and Tweets and anonymous questions. It’s also a place full of children – your children – and unfortunately, many parents don’t seem to be aware of its presence, let alone its pitfalls.

We look at one of the world’s most popular micro-blogging sites – Tumblr.

Tumblr (tumblr.com)






What is it?

A micro-blogging site slanted towards ‘creative self-expression’, rather than Facebook’s ‘life as I know it’ vibe, Tumblr allows users to create collages of photos, videos and quotes. Whether your ‘thing’ be cats or 1D, you can express your love on Tumblr through words and pictures.

How does it work?

Users can write their own blogs, reblog content that interests them, ask questions, talk to other users, follow people and repost their content.

Why kids like it

Tumblr offers kids a way to navigate contemporary culture. They can follow the Tumblr blogs of celebrities, fashion designers and their favourite sporting heroes.

What you need to know

Age requirements: Tumblr requires users to be 13 years or older to create an account.

Tumblr is well set up for dealing with cyber bullying or any kind of online harassment, making it easy to report and block a specific user and/or their Tumblr blog. Unfortunately, for every I ♥ Tumblr there’s an XXX-rated option, so you’ll need to talk to your kids about inappropriate content, as well as being smart about following links that may lead to malicious applications and computer viruses.

Don’t forget the basics

In the swirl of ever-changing technology, it’s easy to forget that there are some basic rules every kid needs to know before they venture online in any way.

  • Be careful what you share. Make sure kids, particularly when they’re starting out, know that home addresses, phone numbers, schools and other personal information is off limits online. If they’re asked for them, even at the sign-up stage for an app, they need to double-check with an adult before handing over the details.
  • Age limits matter. Most apps and social media platforms have an age minimum of 13. “This is a legal age,” says cyber bullying expert Susan McLean of Cyber Safety Solutions. “It’s not decided by the app or the website, but comes out of a law in the US.” That law is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The App Store also imposes its own ratings – and it’s worth noting the 17+ rating on Kik.
  • Parents know passwords. Keep track of your kids’ account information so you can keep an eye on their profiles. Let them know that your intention is not to spy, but to keep them safe.
  • No-one else knows passwords. Remind your kids that passwords and logins are not to be shared with friends, no matter how close. If other kids can log in, there’s a much bigger chance of cyber bullying or other online trouble.
  • Don’t talk to strangers. While many parents have this conversation about the playground, they overlook the importance of it online. Keep an eye on the profiles of those your kids are associating with online and make sure it’s only people they know in real life. If you spot someone you don’t know, ask about them.

This article was written by Allison Tait for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz

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