With over 445 million users each month worldwide, Pinterest has become a popular platform for people of all ages to share and discover ideas. This includes millions of preteen and teen girls who enjoy using Pinterest for inspiration, from fashion and DIY projects to room decor and study tips.
But parents need to be aware of Pinterest’s dark side. A recent investigation revealed that some adult men are using Pinterest to curate boards and sexualize pins featuring underage girls.
Pinterest is a website where you can save and share pictures of things you like. You can make boards with different themes, like recipes, fashion, or travel. Pinterest does not allow pictures of naked people or sexual subjects, and you’re required to be at least 13 years old to create an account — which hasn't stopped many tweens from signing up anyway.
But a recent NBC News investigation discovered that adult men are skirting these rules by using Pinterest to make boards with pictures of young girls and teenagers. They find these pictures by using Pinterest’s suggestions, which are based on what people search for and what they like. Sometimes, they leave sexual comments about the girls.
Historically, Pinterest hasn’t had a good way to stop these people or to report them. You could only report one picture at a time, not a whole board, and you couldn’t report pictures of minors.
In response to the alarming findings, Pinterest has taken several measures to safeguard its younger users. One significant update is making Pinterest accounts under the age of 16 private by default. This means that boards and pins for users under 16 are not visible or accessible to anyone but the user themselves.
Pinterest has also introduced a way to report a pin for including “nudity, non-nudity or intentional misuse involving minors.” And you now have the ability to report an entire board, not just the individual pins.
Pinterest also says it will use more artificial intelligence (AI) to find and automatically block people who use the platform inappropriately. It will also ask people to verify their age when they sign up.
Additionally, Pinterest will soon reintroduce the ability for teens to share their inspiration with the people they know, but only if they grant permission for those individuals to view their content.
You can stay up to date on Pinterest’s plans in their teen safety hub. These changes are aimed at limiting the exposure of underage users to potential predators and providing a safer environment for teenagers to explore their interests and passions.
While Pinterest is working to improve its platform's safety, it's essential for parents to take an active role in supervising their teen's online activities. Here are some ways you can help protect your teen on Pinterest:
Communicate: Talk to your kid about the potential dangers they may encounter online, including on Pinterest. Encourage open communication and make sure they understand the importance of being cautious when sharing personal information, pictures, or engaging with strangers on the platform.
Monitor their Pinterest activity: Keep an eye on your teen's boards and pins to ensure they are not sharing inappropriate content or engaging with suspicious users. You can also follow their account to receive updates on their activity.
Use upcoming parental control features: Pinterest is planning to launch a new feature that will allow parents to require a passcode for their teen to change certain account settings. This added security measure can help you maintain control over your child's privacy and safety settings.
Teach them about privacy settings: Familiarize yourself and your teen with Pinterest's privacy settings. Make sure your child's account is set to private and that they understand how to adjust their settings to control who can view their content.
Encourage safe sharing: Remind your child that they should only share their content with people they know and trust. They should be cautious about granting access to their boards and pins to unfamiliar individuals.
Report inappropriate content and users: If you or your child come across inappropriate content or suspicious users on Pinterest, report them immediately. This can help protect not only your child, but also other users on the platform.
Stay informed: Stay updated on the latest developments in online safety and privacy. As technology and social media platforms continue to evolve, it's crucial to be aware of new risks and measures that can help protect your child.
Pinterest can be an inspiring and enjoyable platform for tweens and tweens to explore their interests and passions, but parents need to stay involved to ensure their safety. By utilizing available tools and fostering open communication with your child, you can help protect them from potential predators while they continue to enjoy the benefits of Pinterest.