Is Vine Dangerous for Kids? 5 Things Parents Need to Know About Twitter's New Video App

Everybody's talking about Twitter's new app Vine, but parents need to know that it may be risky for kids

As a mom who works in online marketing, my 3-year-old daughter is already aware of social media. Together we've posted pictures on Instagram, viewed videos on YouTube and pinned recipes on Pinterest. But the new Twitter app, Vine, with its 6-second looped videos is giving me pause. While the thought of creating mini-cinematic masterpieces with my social media-savvy tot is tempting, I'm holding back for now.

A Vine Editor's recent accidental Not Suitable for Work "editor's pick" of porn (yes, porn) displayed between looped cat videos made a lot of parents -- myself included -- a little spooked.

It won't be too difficult to keep my preschooler off Vine, but if you have older kids who are bugging you to give social media's hottest new app a try, here are 5 things you need to know:

1. Vine is free, and it's easy to sign up.
Unlike paid apps where you get a receipt from iTunes if your child downloads it, it's likely that you won't even know that your child is on Vine unless you monitor them online. Once the app downloads, all you need to sign up is an email or Twitter account.

2. Vine doesn't verify age.
Vine's privacy policy states that the "services are not directed towards persons under 13", but there isn't any sort of system in place to verify age. Vine does agree to take steps to cancel the account of minors if a parent reaches out to them, which is the same as Twitter's policy.

3. You can't block who follows you on Vine.
As of now, there's no option to create private videos on Vine and there are no privacy settings. Anyone can follow you (or your child) and anyone can view your videos. And your child can browse anyone else's videos.  

4. It's true. There's porn on Vine.
Videos that are inappropriate are marked as such and covered with a gray box covering the content, but it only takes a click to get through. It's possible that you can scroll down your Vine stream and catch a video before it gets tagged, and catch a glimpse of something (seriously) vulgar.

5. The 6-second videos are cool to watch -- and make.
Even with Vine's challenges, it's a neat app that encourages creativity (and lets you make an endless supply of GIFs). If your child is 13 or over and with appropriate monitoring from you, they can probably have a lot of fun with it.

Blogger and Social Media Manager Brandi Jeter is the single (for now!) mother of an adorable preschooler and the voice behind Mama Knows It All. Follow her on Twitter  @mamaknowsitall

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