What It Is:
Though originally a small startup website for “micro blogging,” Tumblr has become an extremely popular social outlet for young people. Sort of a hybrid of blogging and social media, Tumblr is a place where kids can create their own personal blogs to express themselves with pictures, moving pictures (called “GIFs”), quotes, links, music, videos, messaging, and more.
What It Does:
Tumblr makes it easy for users to post just about anything they want on their own specific page, which can then be shared with other users or with anyone else online. The ease of use and kitchen-sink capabilities have led to the astonishing rise in the popularity of Tumblr.
Would My Child Want It?:
Tumblr has caught on among the younger demographic of internet users: there are 165+ million blogs on Tumblr alone, many of which (if not most) are run by young people. Additionally, Facebook has lost its desirability among kids as they’ve migrated to sites like Tumblr.
Where Can It Be Used?:
Similar to Facebook, Tumblr can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection. It also has its own mobile app.
What Are The Positives?:
- Many young people feel like Tumblr is a “safe” place to express themselves without being judged by family, especially parents.
- They can post pictures/quotes/etc of whatever they like in regards to their hard day at school, self-loathing, their new outfit, or their daily crush.
- Ease of use.
What Are The Negatives?:
- Tumblr is largely a place where parents aren’t.
- Largely unregulated, meaning kids can be exposed to explicit and unsavory content very easily.
- Over 20% of Tumblr traffic is from porn sites. With that volume it is very easy to stumble upon some very inappropriate content in a matter of seconds and no way of preventing it from happening. Teens can be following their favorite band, a Tumblr in honor of their most favorite actor, and as soon as the band or fan page posts something graphic, it’s too late. One click on the garbage, and they’ve entered the back alley of the internet, the artery of pornography. From here, there are no filters, no safeguards, just your teens and their discovery.
What We Think:
The human element is where things can take a turn for the worst. Let’s say your loved one has created a Tumblr, posted a few “selfies” and generated a bit of a following. Tumblr has a feature that allows anyone passing by to ask the author literally anything. In no time your son or daughter could be asked by complete strangers, to post graphic photos, share their cellphone number, and even bear their children, and all with complete anonymity.
Apply this to real life, you’re out with your teen, and right under your nose strangers are walking up to your child, giving them a good look and asking for sexual favors but you can’t do a thing about it. This aspect of Tumblr makes it a hard sell in our opinion. We recommend steering clear.