What It Is:
Flickr is a photo sharing service that has also turned into a sort of de facto social network through its comment threads.
What It Does:
Flickr used to be the gold standard in photo sharing and storage online, and though its reputation has dimmed in recent years, it is still a thriving space on the internet for image hosting, research, and exploration.
Flickr offers users three different levels of engagement (accounts): a free account that exposes the user to advertisements, and two separate subscription-based accounts that offer an ad-free version of the regular account and a premium account that has no ads but does have twice the storage space as a regular account.
Users can upload photos and tag them for searchability, and then interact with other users through the comments section located beneath each photograph.
Would My Child Want It?:
While Flickr used to be the premiere site for online photography presentation, social networks like Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are now a much more predominant means for sharing photos among your average adolescents.
However, if your teenager has an interest in photography that goes beyond the standard selfie-in-the-mirror or smiling group shot that is so prevalent among social media, they may have an interest in posting their work to Flickr and interacting with the community there. In other words: if they take pictures with an actual camera instead of their phone, then they might want to be on Flickr.
Flickr is restricted to users 13 and older.
Where Can It Be Used?:
Flickr can be accessed through any web portal. It also has several mobile versions for smartphones, tablets, and the PlayStation Vita.
What Should I Watch Out For?:
- Since Flickr is an image-specific site, users are allowed to upload adult content. However, this content must be marked as restricted content in Flickr’s filtering system.
- Flickr is owned by Yahoo, which is assuredly mining the data of Flickr’s users.
- Comments sections are always a possible avenue for inappropriate speech, though Flickr does moderate its comments.
- Flickr allows for video as well as photos, but seems to skew much more heavily toward photographic content.
What Are The Positives?:
- Flexible privacy settings.
- The opportunity to share your photography with a worldwide community of other photographers, receiving encouragement and collaborative tips to take skills to the next level.
- Potential for exposure in the photography world.
- Large amount of photo storage.
- Oversight: questionable images can be tagged by users, reviewed by Flickr staff, and removed if necessary.
What Are The Negatives?:
- The site allows for adult content (though only if you are over 18).
- Users under 18 are still allowed to view content marked “Safe” or “Moderate,” Flickr’s guidelines state that partial nudity is acceptable in the “Moderate” filter setting.
- Comments section allow for interaction with strangers, though inappropriate behavior is strictly forbidden by Flickr’s community guidelines.
What We Think:
Flickr can be a helpful resource and outlet for photographically inclined adolescents, but its terms of service tend to skew more PG-13 than PG, so one must take care when using the site. If you trust your child to exercise caution (and trust that the occasional “artistic” nude will not set them off on a spiral of lust), then you could probably feel safe about allowing them on Flickr. But, as always, know their password and login information, and check up on them; we always recommend that you go on the same sites your children do.