Cymraeg

Hwb

Tumblr

Tumblr is a free microblogging social networking app where users can blog about their ideas and interests via text, photos, quotes, links, music and videos. The blogs are often short-form and often include more visual images rather than long text entries. Tumblr is a platform that brings together many different interest groups and it currently hosts over 528 million blogs. Tumblr profiles are pages where users can display their interests and repost other blogs or ideas which interest them. Users can also set up shared blogs with others in their Tumblr community. The app is a good way for young people to develop their creative side and express this with others.

Official age rating

The minimum age restriction for Tumblr users is 13, however it does not have any rigorous age verification methods.

Some content, either flagged by users themselves or flagged by Tumblr as explicit, will be unavailable to those under 18.

All accounts default to a public setting, where content can be viewed by all other users on the platform. A private setting is recommended.

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

How children and young people use the app

Children and young people enjoy Tumblr as an outlet for their creativity and the opportunity to express their identity, interests, and creativity online. When you sign up to Tumblr you are asked to identify interests and the platform will then direct you towards content it thinks you would like to read and explore.  It can be an engaging and accessible space for children and young people to join communities and interest groups which can give them a sense of belonging and an opportunity to express themselves. It is especially popular with ‘fandoms’ (fans of particular shows, franchises, books etc.) as a forum for them to discuss updates, characters and plots or post their fan art. The website also has an artistic side where users can engage with photography and create aesthetics that are personal to themselves and their blogs.

Potential risks

Content

Tumblr is primarily designed for older young people and adults, where free expression and interactivity is encouraged. As a result, there is a great deal of unrestricted and unfiltered content. The platform is unmoderated and it can present a risk to children and young people of being exposed to inappropriate content including graphic or violent content, misinformation or most notably, pornography. By restricting who your child can access on the platform, your child is less likely to experience language or adult content that is not suitable for their age.

Connecting with others

Blogs are public by default, meaning any posts users share can be viewed by all other users on the platform. Whilst it is possible to hide the visibility of an individual blog, this ultimately limits the engagement and interactivity with friends the platform was designed for. There is also a direct messaging feature, which can pose further risk if users are connecting with people they don’t know. Speak to your children about the risks of connecting with strangers and explain the importance of not sharing any overtly personal or identifiable information within their blogs or chats. Remind users to tell you if they have been asked more personal questions or to chat privately using a different app. It is also important to review the visibility and privacy settings to carefully limit exposure, unwanted attention and comments from strangers.

Users can also set up an ‘Ask’ page on their blogs where they are able to ask questions. The blog owner can then either reply to them privately or publicly. A risk here is that blog owners can enable an ‘allow anonymous questions’ toggle where other users or even those without a Tumblr account are able to ask questions without their identity being shown. This anonymity may encourage users to say or ask inappropriate or offensive things as they do not have to deal with the negative consequences as they normally would in person. This can be distressing for young people as the feature can be easily exploited by bullies. We would strongly recommend disabling this feature for young people using Tumblr or at least making sure users are unable to ask questions anonymously.

User behaviour

As with many other social media and blogging sites, Tumblr users may want to use this platform to showcase their individuality and personalise their account with posts, likes and interests that they can then share and display with friends. Have a conversation with your child to help them understand what is and is not appropriate for them to share and discuss the various ways they can protect themselves by sharing with their contacts only. Ensure your child knows it can be difficult to keep ownership of any content once it has been shared online and how it will leave a permanent digital record.

Design, data and costs

Tumblr has a focus on communities of interest and high volumes of short fragments of content

being continuously on offer to your child. This can be highly absorbing and it can be very compelling for children and young people when their content is liked and responded to by others. It can be helpful to put in place time limits and help your child regulate how much time they spend on the app.


Tips for keeping your child safe

  • There are no parental safety settings on Tumblr and it is not possible to make a primary blog private. However, you can password protect a secondary blog, meaning only other users who have the password can view your content.

    To make a secondary blog private:

    • Go to your account and scroll down to ‘Settings’.
    • Select your secondary blog name and choose the option to ‘Password protect this blog’.
    • Create a password and enter it into the box provided and follow the options to complete the process.
  • There are a few settings that can help manage interactions and content on Tumblr. You can stop people searching for you via your email address and you can reduce the visibility of your Tumblr account to reduce the amount of exposure it has. You can also limit who can send you direct messages. Finally, you can set some content filters to limit what your child is exposed to.

    To disable people from finding you via your email address:

    • Go to your account settings and select the ‘General settings’ menu.
    • Select ‘Privacy’ and turn off ‘Let others find you by email’.

    To remove your blog from search engine results:

    • Go to your account settings and select the blog.
    • Tap the gear icon and select ‘Visibility’ from the options listed.
    • Turn on the Hide [blog name] from search results option.

    To change the direct messaging settings:

    • Go to your account settings and select the ‘General settings’ menu.
    • Tap ‘Messaging’ select the ‘Only Tumblrs you follow can message’ option.

    To filter unwanted content:

    • Go to your account settings and select the ‘General settings’ menu.
    • Scroll down to ‘Filtering’ and tap the ‘+New’ icon to add a piece of filtered text or tag.
    • Type in all of the topics you would not like to be seen, one at a time and select ‘Add’.
  • You can report and block users who may be bothering you or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To report an account:

    • Go to the account you wish to report and select their username and the person icon.
    • Select ‘Report’ and follow the options to complete your request.

    To report a post or blog:

    • Go to the blog or post your wish to report and click on the paper aeroplane icon.
    • Select ‘Report’ and follow the option to complete your request.

    To block an account:

    • Go to the account you wish to report and click the three dots icon.
    • Select ‘Block’ from the options listed.
  • Tumblr gives its users to opportunity to hide when you are active on the platform, so other users cannot see you are there.

    To manage active use settings:

    • Go to your account settings and select the ‘General settings’ menu.
    • Select ‘Privacy’ and turn off the ‘Let others see that you’re active’ option.

Key features and terminology

  • A Tumblr

    This is someone using Tumblr - and refers to the profile page which you can customise with gifs, video, blogs, links and things you like as well as people you follow.

    Group chat

    These are ways of interacting within Tumblr. You can choose a group chat on a topic that interests you and join.

    Direct messaging

    You can message another Tumblr user through the platform if you are connected through the platform.

    Visibility

    You can choose whether to be found through Tumblr or other searches, or whether to be hidden. You can also choose whether to let others ask questions or not.

    Primary, Secondary and Group Blogs

    Tumblr allows users to have more than one blog set up and to create and share content collaboratively on a group blog. Users can have one primary blog and up to 10 secondary blogs. Only a primary blog has the main social and interactive features where users can like other posts, send messages or submit posts. Secondary blogs can also be set up as collaborative Group Blog where an admin invites other users, removes content and responds to Asks.

    Dashboard

    Your ‘Dashboard’ shows you content that the Tumblr algorithm thinks you will like, as well as any blogs you have subscribed to and followed.

    In Your Orbit

    This feature means that some people you follow on the platform are also following the same recommended content as you.

    Asks

    Users can add an ‘Ask’ page to their blogs where visitors are able to ask questions anonymously or with their name being shown. These can be replied to either privately or publicly.

General tips

Be aware that content restrictions are limited on the Tumblr app and that users may be exposed to various forms of adult content. You need to feel confident that the child in your care has the maturity to deal with the content they may see.

The best approach as always is to engage with your child on Tumblr, to look at the kinds of content they are interacting with and what they are posting. This will help to increase your confidence that they are using it safely.