Is Threads Safe for Kids? A Threads App Review for Parents
What would you get if you crossed Twitter with Instagram? You’d get Threads, an app that combines the text-based nature of Twitter with the design, look, and feel of Instagram — as well as all your existing Instagram contacts. Launched in the summer of 2023, the app quickly amassed millions of followers in just a matter of days.
Harmful Content 😲
Like with Twitter, the biggest danger to children lies in the vast amounts of potentially inappropriate content like porn, sexual content, hate speech, and more. As of July 2023, Threads still doesn’t have a search function or hashtag feature, which makes finding any content a little difficult.
Right now, the app depends on a mixture of updates from people you follow as well from strangers. Mark Zuckerberg has said that he intends for Thread’s community guidelines to be rigidly enforced against dangerous content, but like with all social media, that’s usually a wish and not a promise.
Right now, Threads doesn’t have direct messages, which is a big way predators contact kids privately to begin the grooming process. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible — it’s still possible for people to exchange contact info for other platforms in comments and replies.
Positive Value 💙
Threads so far seems to be a slightly more positive experience than Twitter, but that’s certainly not saying much. Apps like these, which are primarily text based, can be good for people — usually adults! — to keep up with news and make friends with common interests. But for kids, this can be a little overwhelming, and potentially expose them to some bad stuff.
After you download Threads, you create an account using your existing Instagram handle (though you can always create a new Instagram account for a new Threads profile). The app does let you set your profile to private, but that’s about it when it comes to privacy.
Parental Controls ✅
Threads isn’t off limits to kids over 12, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for them — much like all social media.
Threads does have some parental controls, though they’re not passcode locked, which means your child could turn them off at any time. Users under 16 will be automatically funneled into a private profile, but this too can be disabled.
Here’s what you can control:
Private profiles: Toggling this on means only approved followers will be able to see and interact with your child’s content.
Mentions: You can choose whether people can “@” or mention your child in threads, replies, or bios.
Muted: When you mute someone, you won’t see any of their content, but they can still see yours.
Hidden words: You can manage whether comments show up on your child’s feed if they contain offensive words (or custom words you choose).
Blocked profiles: You can completely block someone from showing up in your child’s Threads experience, and they won’t see your child’s content.
Hide likes: This prevents your child’s content from displaying view counts and likes.
But of course, Bark can lend a helping hand! With Bark, you can:
- Block Threads entirely, if needed.
- Manage when your kid can use Threads throughout the day.
Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.