Tumblr is a social media site that is like a mixture of Twitter, Pinterest and blogging. The purpose of the site is to be able to share all sorts of media and to create a community of like-minded people. As with every social media site, however, there are dangers, such as the presence of cyberbullies and of inappropriate content. Below is a brief list of the aspects of Tumblr parents and guardians most need to know about.

Type of Content

Tumblr allows multiple forms of content to be published. Users can post text, photos, videos, gifs, links and audio. They can either reblog already-created content or post their own original content. Tumblr also provides some formatting options for text, like a preformatted quote template.

How it Works

Tumblr has a relatively simple format. Users search for a keyword or topic in the search bar and then can scroll through almost limitless amounts of related content. Users can then either reblog the content onto their own blog, where their own followers can then see, like or — as Tumblr calls it — “note” the post, commenting on or sharing the content themselves.

Personal Blog and Username

Each user has at least one blog and a unique username to match. They can actually create multiple blogs, each with a unique username. A secondary blog feature allows users to make their secondary blog password-protected and have multiple editors.

Private Messaging

You can private message people through Tumblr. Users can message anyone unless they set their blog to only receive message from people that follow them. That means that if you don’t follow someone or even know them, they can still message you through Tumblr. Of course, you can also block users, which makes you invisible to the user you have blocked. However, this could be used as a tool to facilitate bullying — or as a form of bullying in and of itself.

You Can Post Anything… Literally Anything

The great thing about Tumblr is that there is content about every show, book, or topic imaginable. The bad thing is that there is content about every show, book, or topic imaginable. Though Tumblr asks users who post inappropriate material to mark their blog as explicit, not all users will. Furthermore, due to Tumblr’s small staff, the company itself doesn’t have the capability to sift through every user’s every post. Instead, they rely on users to report content that is inappropriate. For those who doesn’t want to view certain material, Tumblr does allow users to turn on what they call Safe Mode. However, this only blocks material that has been marked as explicit.

If smart users post, share and comment on Tumblr responsibly, it can be a great place for your child to express their individuality and meet people with common interests. However, since Tumblr allows any sort of content to be published, it’s important to talk to children and teens about the potential permanence of the Internet and what is appropriate to share on social media.

By Elizabeth Slatsky


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