Is there porn on Pinterest? Does Pinterest allow porn? I’ve heard both of these questions many times and the answers are very very different. Today, as Pinterest announced their new approach to advertising videos on their site and app, I’m reminded of the many parents who have discussed the potential dangers of Pinterest with me at workshops and other events. Lets unpack a few of those dangers, what Pinterest’s approach is, and what parents can do about it.
There IS porn on Pinterest.
I can confirm that there is pornography on Pinterest in two ways. First of all, I started some searches for inappropriate topics and (without having to click through to results) could see that there was porn available. Just typing the first few letters of these search terms produced recommended searches that told the entire story.
These results pretty much let you know what is available on the site and in the app. Searching more specific terms would, obviously, produce more specific results.
While this covers intentionally searching for content, your kids may not be the type to have been in to that before so you don’t expect them to go searching for it. This is where it gets a bit tricky. Pinterest feeds you new content in two different ways. They show you pins from people you’ve decided to follow and they show you pins that have been “picked for you.” Pinterest uses what you do in their app and site as well as what you do on other websites to recommend different things to you. If you’ve liked art before then you’ll start to get more art posts. If you’re into geeky quotes, you’ll see pins from people you don’t follow based on what you’ve pinned or viewed in the past. This can lead to being shown pinners who’s pins may not line up with what you’d consider “safe” for your kids. There is, however, a way to turn off the “picked for you” option. See the image below:
Pinterest Doesn’t Allow “Explicit Content.”
Pinterest’s rules don’t allow explicit pornography to be posted but it relies on reporting from users to identify and remove the offending pins. This means that the post can be up for days or weeks before it gets enough reports to have it taken down. Another thing to keep in mind is that Pinterest will still use their own definition of “explicit.” You may think something is not good for your 14 year old son to view while they view it as art or expression. This means you have to truly stay on top of what they’re seeing.
What Parents Should Know
Again, much is left to interpretation. Some parents may say a photo of a nude statue is artistic and cultural and some might say it’s inappropriate. While some folks think any nudity should be considered explicit, there are parents who would disagree unless it’s in a sexual situation or atmosphere. There are many factors that keep photo sharing sites like Pinterest from making a blanket NO NUDITY rule.
I would prefer if there were some way to turn off nudity as an option for users but as of right now that isn’t possible. It also isn’t easy to monitor what content is being viewed in the Pinterest apps. Yes, the service is built to work best on the mobile apps, my recommendation is that you limit your younger teen (over 13 to comply with the service agreement) to using Pinterest on a browser. Use something like Accountable2You to monitor their activity so you can be alerted if they’ve come across something inappropriate. This could help keep you from difficult situations stemming from your kids happening upon something adult oriented on Pinterest.
So, to answer the question, is Pinterest safe for your kid or teen? The answer is no and yes. No it isn’t recommended for your child. The age restriction to get an account is 13. I would, however, begin to ease up on a strict anti-Pinterest rule as my kids enter their teen years but I would monitor their usage in the most effective way possible. Just because you’ve never seen anything when you creep Pinterest doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Know that this risk is real and that your kids are as susceptible as any. Take precautions BEFORE anything regretful happens.