The app Vine is pretty popular among tweens and teens and millions of other users. The number of active teen users for Vine grew by 639% last year, according to Forbes. Even Disney World has a Vine account, so it must be okay for kids, right? Well, not always.
Aside from the stated age requirement of 17, parents should be aware of content and cyberbullying concerns. Here is what parents need to know about the app Vine before deciding whether or not it is appropriate for their kids.
What is it?
Vine is Twitter's mobile app that allows users to make and share short videos. They are only 6 seconds or less in length, and they continually loop so the same 6 seconds shows over and over.
The age limit to use the app is 17.
The App Store lists one of the reasons for the age limit as "Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity."
It's worth noting that when Vine was first released, the age limit was 12. Pornography appeared almost immediately and after a public outcry, the age limit was raised to 17.
Pornography and Disturbing Content
While Twitter has taken steps in the past few months to stop the rampant posting of pornography on Vine, but as CNN noted, "Twitter is not assembling a full-time Vine porn enforcement task force. The content will largely be flagged by other Vine members." So it's entirely possible for your kids to still watch porn on Vine.
It is possible to set your child's iPads and iPhones to restrict what they may download by age limits and content ratings. Find instructions for how to do so on BeWebSmart.com here.
Common Sense Media rates it as an app that should be used only by those 17 and older. "With the most basic creative searching, kids can find nudity, sex, drug use, offensive language, hardcore sexuality, and more," the site explains.
Videos of fights at school shared on Vine have become a disturbing trend among teens, with some going viral. There's even #vinefight.
As the psychologist in this report from KSHB says, parents should talk with kids about fighting.
Vine also recently introduced messaging. That goes for both "friends" in the user's network and "other," meaning people you don't know.
While it can be a fun way to communicate, messaging can also be a way for kids to bully other kids. In addition, unless your tween or teen makes the effort to turn off the messages from "others," the creepy people can message them. Not cool.
Messaging can also lead to sexting, something parents need to be aware of.
Not All Bad
When you first log on to Vine, the disturbing items aren't readily apparent. The sections seem harmless and even fun and educational, and some of them absolutely are that and acceptable for tweens and teens.
Like anything on the internet, there are good and useful parts of this app, and there's a dark side and users who are creepy.
Unfortunately, those creepy folks can search by location so if they're looking for kids using Vine in the area, it's not hard to find them.
That is true of many apps. Check out the info on these potentially dangerous apps popular among tweens and teens:
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