Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to create their own virtual pin boards dedicated to their interests. The purpose of the app is for users to ‘Pin’ inspirational photos or videos to their different ‘Boards’, organising their ideas by theme. Common ‘Board’ themes include interior styling, recipes and outfit inspiration, but with over a billion ‘Pins’ on the platform, there is content available catering to almost all interests. Boards can be public or private, allowing other users on the platform to ‘Follow’ the boards they are interested in. Users can also search the platform for ideas and inspiration for their different projects or interests, as well as being offered a personalised feed of content on the ‘Browse’ section. The app is free to download on both Android and iOS with over 430 million users worldwide.

The minimum age rating for Pinterest users is 13, however, the app does not have any vigorous age verification methods.

It has been given an age rating of 12+ on the Apple App Store and ‘Mature 17+’ on the Google Play Store.

Find out more about age ratings in our ‘A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games’.

Pinterest is appealing to young people since it is easy to use and is centred around photos and videos - something many young people enjoy on other social media platforms. The wealth of content that is available means it is easy for young people to explore their interests and be inspired by others. Unlike other social media platforms, the social element is less about personally connecting with other users, but instead taking inspiration from them through their images. The content on Pinterest is often highly curated or taken by professional photographers. Some young people feel that the professional quality of the images and videos on Pinterest can lead to them feeling like their lives do not match up with what they are viewing on the platform.

  • These are photos that users have ‘Pinned’ (saved) to their board.

  • The action of users saving pins to their boards.

  • Users can create their own boards which they can add ‘Pins’ to. Users can have different boards for their different interests or projects. Boards can be public or private and can also be shared and added to with friends.

  • This is where users will see ‘Pins’, people and businesses that the platform thinks a user will like or be interested in. Here, users will also see ‘Pins’ from the people and boards they follow.

  • This feature is similar to the ‘Browse’ feed but instead of ‘Pins’ and photos, it includes videos.  

  • A page that keeps users updated on boards or subject areas they have shown an interest in previously on the app.  

  • This feature allows users to send direct messages to other users on the platform. There is no way of disabling this feature. Messages can be sent to or received by any account you have interacted with on the platform.

  • Where users can comment on ‘Pins’.  

  • This is where users are directed to external sites to purchase items similar to the ‘Pins’ they have searched for.

  • This section of the app is where users can post their own ‘Pin’ by taking their own photos or create a ‘Board’. Users can choose to make their ‘Pins’ and ‘Board’ private.

  • Users can ‘Follow’ other accounts on the platform that they are interested in.

Pinterest is known for its collection of inspirational images and videos that are often ‘picture perfect’. Unlike other image-based social media platforms, these images are often not centred on individual people and profiles, but instead on specific interests such as fashion and interiors. However, these images are often highly edited or curated to look perfect. Over exposure and constant scrolling through highly edited content can impact negatively on some users, leaving them feeling that their lives or material items do not match up with the ones they are seeing on the platform. Talk to your child about how the content on the platform has been edited to generate ‘likes’ and interest and should not be used as a life-comparison tool. 

With such a wealth of content available on the platform, it is possible that your child may come across content that is inappropriate for them in some way. Whilst the platform doesn’t allow certain content types, such as nudity or violent content, it does appear on the platform, often under misleading ‘Pin’ descriptions. Encourage your child to talk to you if they have encountered content that they find upsetting on the platform.

There is also the possibility that your child may be sent inappropriate content via the ‘Messages’ or ‘Comments’ feature on the app. Remind your child that they should not open messages from people they do not know and to talk to you if they have been sent something they find upsetting or disturbing. Enable the ‘Filter comments’ setting to help manage the content they are exposed to within comments. For information on how to do this, go to the ‘Managing interactions and content’ section of this guide.

There is no way of making an account private on Pinterest, so users need to be aware of how other users can interact and connect with them on the platform. The message function on Pinterest presents a risk as users are unable to manage who can message them, as this is not just limited to contacts. Messages can be sent to any user that you have engaged with on the platform. For example, if you have pinned an image from another account holder, you will then be able to send them a direct message. This puts users at risk of receiving messages from strangers. Work with your child to set the appropriate ‘Message’ settings to help control who can contact them on the platform. Talk to your child about the risks of connecting with people they do not know and explain the importance of not sharing any personal or identifiable information on their profile or within messages. Encourage them to tell you if they have been asked more personal questions or have been made to feel uncomfortable by the content of a message.

As Pinterest allows users to share personal content in the form of ‘Pins’ and personal ‘Boards’, users should be aware of what is appropriate to share on the platform.  Have a conversation with your child to help them understand what is and is not appropriate for them to share online and the lasting impact that anything they post may have on themselves and their future. The ‘Comments’ feature on the platform can also expose users to hurtful content. Encourage your child to talk to you if they have been affected by hurtful comments on the platform and ensure they know how to report and block users who behave inappropriately.

Pinterest is an engaging platform and users can sometimes spend many hours at a time scrolling through the diverse content, pinning items to their various boards. The platform is designed to keep users engaged and interested, offering tailored content in the ‘Browse’ section that the platform thinks you will be interested in. Children and young people do not often have the skills to self-regulate their time scrolling and to take time-out from the platform. Talk to your child about the risks of endless scrolling and encourage them to take regular breaks from the platform. The platform also contains adverts, as well as links to external sites, where users can buy items similar to the ones in images or videos they have pinned. It is recommended that users check the ‘Data personalisation’ settings to help manage the adverts and personalised content they are exposed to.  Information on how to do this can be found in the ‘Managing interactions and content’ section of this guide.

  • Pinterest does not allow accounts to be made private, however users can make their board private and use other settings to protect their privacy.

    To hide your account from a search engine:

    • Go to your profile and select the three dots icon.
    • Choose ‘Settings’ and select ‘Privacy and data’.
    • Toggle on the option for ‘Search privacy’ and select ‘I understand’.

    To create a private board:

    • Select the ‘+’ icon to start a new board.
    • Choose ‘Board’ and toggle on the option to ‘Make this board secret’.
  • There are a few settings available to help manage interactions and content. However, there is no setting to manage who can message you.

    To ‘Hide’ pins:

    • Find the pin you wish to ‘Hide’.
    • Press and hold until different icons appear.
    • Whilst still holding the pin, select the ‘Hide’ icon.
    • Note: this will remove similar content from your ‘Browse’ feed.

    To manage adverts and data:

    • Go to your profile and select the three dots icon.
    • Choose ‘Settings’ and select ‘Privacy and data’.
    • Toggle off the options in the ‘Data personalisation’ section.

    To manage contacts:

    • Go to your profile and select the three dots icon.
    • Choose ‘Settings’ and select ‘Privacy and data’.
    • Toggle off the option for ‘Store your contacts’.

    To filter comments:

    • Go to your profile and select the three dots icon.
    • Choose ‘Settings’ and select ‘Social permissions and activity’.
    • Scroll to ‘Filter comments on others’ pins’ and toggle this option on.
    • A drop down box will appear, where you can write the words or phrases you want to block.

    To manage message settings:

    • Go to your profile and select the three dots icon.
    • Choose ‘Settings’ and select ‘Social permissions and activity’.
    • Scroll to ‘Message settings’ and work through the options listed.
  • Users can report and block other users who may be bothering them or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To ‘Block’ or ‘Report’ a user:

    • Find the profile of the user you wish to report.
    • Select the three-dots icon and choose ‘Block/Report’ as necessary.
    • Select ‘Report/Block’ again to complete the process.

    To ‘Report a pin’:

    • Find the pin you wish to report and select the three-dots icon.
    • Select ‘Report’ and choose the reason you wish to report the pin from the listed options
      • Spam
      • Nudity or pornography
      • Self-harm
      • Misinformation
      • Hateful activities
      • Dangerous goods
      • Harassment or privacy violations
      • Graphic violence
      • My intellectual property

    To report a message thread:

    • Go to your messages by selecting the speech bubble icon.
    • Select the message thread you wish to report.
    • Select the three-dot icon and choose ‘Report thread.’
    • Choose your reporting reason from the pop-up menu
      • This is spam
      • This is harassing me or someone else
      • This promotes self-harm
  • There are settings on Pinterest to help manage time on the platform.  

    To manage notifications on Pinterest:

    • Go to your profile and select the three-dots icon.
    • Select ‘Settings’ and scroll to ‘Notifications’.
    • Select ‘Push notifications’ and select ‘Turn off all’.  

Pinterest can be a fun way for young people to explore their interests and generate new ones. Spend time with your child exploring the app to monitor the type of content they are viewing and whether it is suitable for their age or stage of development.

Pinterest has a help centre where users can find out how to manage their privacy and safety on the platform.