Social Network Spotlight: Tumblr
Tumblr is a microblogging platform, owned by Yahoo, that allows users to post photos, videos, text and other media created by themselves or “reblogged” from other users. Content can be “liked,” commented on, shared (reblogged) and freely distributed through Tumblr’s user base.
Tumblr is available online at tumblr.com along with mobile apps on iTunes and Google Play.
- Users are able to post creative works (i.e., photography, video, music, poetry and art) for the Tumblr community to view, comment on and share. Growing a faithful following of supporters on Tumblr is relatively easy.
Users can connect with movie stars, sports figures, musicians, etc.
- Separate blogs can be created with password protection.
- With adult supervision, Tumblr can be a place for users to express themselves and share content with friends.
- The default Tumblr blog does not allow for password protection. Additional blogs can be created with passwords, but the original blog created with the account will remain unprotected.
Pornography is easy to find and abundant, as made apparent by news headlines last year involving Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to allow pornography to remain on the website.
Much like Ask.fm, an anonymous question-based website, there is a question/submission option that could result in cyberbullying/abuse.
- Although specifically stated as “What Tumblr is not for” in its terms, there’s a high number of blogs/tags promoting self-harm and dangerous activity.
- Tumblr is admittedly not a website for children, so ensuring safe use can be difficult.
Tips for educators
- Make sure the padlock in the upper-right corner of the search page is clicked. By doing this, you will hide adult content from search results.
If inappropriate posts are visible on the search page, flag them by hovering over a post and clicking on the corresponding flag.
- Keep track of who is following a user, and who users are following. Following accounts of strangers is not inherently negative considering the amount of available positive content, but some users may occasionally post inappropriate content.
- If you’re monitoring student use, view the “Activity” tab on the right of the screen to see how other users are interacting with the user’s account.
- Important links:
Tumblr embraces adult/mature content. Pornography, violence, self-harm and many other topics inappropriate for children are readily available on Tumblr. The majority of users operate publicly where any and all information is available to anyone. Tumblr is not a website students should be allowed to roam freely on. Knowledgeable teachers/educators can be comfortable allowing use with strict monitoring of followers/following and a password protected blog, but it might not be an easy task.
Gaggle’s Safety Representatives continue to discover websites and apps that pose potential risks to students. Here’s a popular and ever-growing list of “Top Social Networks & Apps Your Kids Use.”