Many social media platforms are focused on encouraging people to interact with others who are already in their social circles. These apps connect teens one by one as they choose to add each connection.
What is MeetMe? It’s an app designed to help teenagers connect with new people. This app is used both as a way to make new friends and as a dating app for teenagers. Which means it’s gaining swiftly in popularity. Unfortunately, this app also contains several hidden dangers. Read our MeetMe review before deciding, is MeeMe safe for my teen?
Matched by Location
While meeting online pen pals can be fun, meeting them in real life can be a risky practice. Teens have a limited capability for risk assessment due to their underdeveloped frontal lobes. They think because they’ve been chatting with someone and seen their picture, they know that person. The problem is that online sexual predators know where kids are hanging out online, which apps allow them the most access to the most information, and how to gain a teens trust.
Unfortunately, because MeetMe connects teens with one another based on their geographic location, it opens the doors for online sexual predators to meet up with your teen. Once they connect with an individual through the app, that individual already knows that they’re in the same general geographic area–and they are eager to get more information out of your teen.
MeetMe includes a feature called “AskMe” that allows users to ask one another anonymous questions. Additionally, the anonymous questions feature is not monitored. Parents should think about whether or not access to this type of content is harmful for their child. Especially, if your teen has already been bullied before online. Rude, inappropriate, or downright nasty questions are passed along just as easily as more appropriate content.
It’s also important to note that these anonymous questions can quickly stray toward material that many parents would rather their children weren’t involved with, such as drug or sexual content. If your teen is using the app, the only way to monitor them is by actively checking their messages yourself. Plus, sit down and have a conversation about how anonymous commenting can lead to cyberbullying and access to other risky content.
The Privacy Settings
MeetMe connects strangers to one another–and as such, its automatic private settings are open. That makes posts and photos visible to all users. This visibility makes it very easy to track down an individual at a specific location. Remind your teen, if they’re using the app, that they should be careful about the types of photos they post, and to avoid adding location tags or taking photos in places that are easy to identify when they’re out.
Like many apps, MeetMe runs on a virtual currency. Teens have two options for acquiring this currency: either purchasing it directly or completing actions in the app. If teens do things like chatting with other users or logging in more regularly they get more currency. Unfortunately, this can quickly raise addictive behaviors and lead to teens who are more engrossed in their phones. Parents who allow their teens to use this app should monitor smartphone time usage and ensure that their teens are able to keep up with schoolwork, after school activities, and real-world socialization before using the app.
MeetMe Review: Is It Safe for Teens?
So what is the MeetMe review? Like most social media apps, MeetMe is an interesting concept that has some very real dangers to the teens who use it. Before allowing your teen to use this app, it’s important to set some guidelines in place. These guidelines should include how you, as the parent, will monitor their app usage, how often your teen is allowed to be on their phone, and what type of information can be shared through the app. You can even update your technology contract with these guidelines. By teaching your teen appropriate digital safety measures, you can keep them safer online as they navigate this app and many others like it.
Sign up for Bark’s monitoring service. We monitor over 20 social media sites, emails, and text and photos on iOS and Android devices. Keep your teen’s safer online by monitoring the content that they see, share, and create.
Everyone wants children to have access to the valuable information and resources available on the internet. Most parents also want their children to have access to educational games, typing programs, etc. However, it can be hard to give children freedom with the internet without exposing them to risks.
Thankfully, operating systems often have built-in structures that can help you limit your child’s use of the computer to one that is positive. Check out Bark’s Guide to Parental Controls on Windows 10.
Create Separate Profiles for Each Child
Set up your account on Windows 10, then create sub-accounts. Put in place the parental controls in the sub-accounts for each child. Then you will know what each person is doing within the computer system. If a user is set up with particular parental controls, the default family account will also contain information about all the child accounts connected to that main account.
Restricting Programs and Websites
One method to keep children safer on a computer is by restricting what programs and websites are available. Most young children need to use the computer only for very specific, parent-approved needs. Putting into place parental controls on Windows 10 allows you to make their profile account only access the items you want. You do this by going to Microsoft Family Settings and selecting to turn on SafeSearch, block inappropriate websites, and select the ratings level at which children may access apps and games.
Conveniently, these settings apply across devices. Therefore, if your child also uses a Microsoft account on another device, the controls will automatically work on those devices too.
Restrict Time of Day and Duration of Use
Another concern is kids spending too much time on computers or tablets. Windows 10 sends you a report of how long your child has used their account. You can also use parental controls on Windows 10 to put limits on how long they can be logged in. These restrictions can become part of your technology contract, ensuring all parties on are the same page regarding usage and consequences.
The same set-up also restricts certain times of day when the child cannot use the computer or tablet. You can choose to deny access the computer during meal times, bedtime, or during school hours. This reduces the temptation to skip food, sleep, or learning time to play or chat with friends.
Receive Reports on Child’s Behavior
Microsoft 10 has a good set-up for you to create an account for your child and then, for the most part, just let it run. This establishes the routine for your child and allows them to know they are protected. Microsoft 10 gives you an easy way to keep track of your child’s habits over time through the reports. These reports help you track time spent on certain programs, games they play, and what sites they visit. These features allow you to talk with your child about what choices they make online. Then you can make modifications to their accounts to make sure their game, computer, and internet access are safe for them.
Restrict or Monitor Purchases or Spending
A child’s account can be restricted entirely from buying apps. This is good idea for small children who may accidentally make purchases. For older kids, you can put small amounts of money into their account for expenditures. Then you can track what they spend in their activity history. In a world where children no longer go to the store and purchase games with their parents’ supervision, this allows parents some control over both how much money children spend and knowing what they are spending it on.
Parental Controls on Windows 10
Using parental controls on Windows 10 can you find a balance between getting information from the operating system and giving your child freedom and flexibility, while protecting your child from unwanted elements of the internet or computing world. Similarly, Bark monitors your child’s iOS or Android device, email, and social media accounts while only alerting you to potential problems. Giving your teens some privacy while alerting you to anything that could be potentially harmful.
**This blog post was updated on April 20, 2021.**
Are your kids into Tumblr? If so, they’re part of a long line of teens and tweens that have used the platform over the past 15 years to create, share, and view content. It’s known for its supportive and encouraging communities, especially around creativity. Tumblr reached a peak back in the mid-2010s, but it’s still a fairly popular place for younger folks to gather online. In January 2021, more than 327 million unique visitors from around the world accessed the site. So, just what is Tumblr? In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this perennial kid-favorite, including safety features and dangers you need to watch out for.
What is Tumblr?
Tumblr is what’s known as a “microblog” site. Compared to long-form posts on say, the Bark Blog (which you’re reading now), Tumblr posts are usually bite-sized snippets. They can be a simple photo, an inspirational quote, a GIF, or even a single sentence. Users can post their own content, or they can share someone else’s (that’s called reblogging). The site is heavily interactive, with users commenting frequently on each other’s posts.
Think of Tumblr kind of like an Instagram or a Facebook feed, but with a little of Pinterest’s functionality. When you find someone you like or someone you know, you can follow their account. You’ll then see a stream of content on your dashboard (like your Facebook home feed). Many people use Tumblr to discover new things — fan art, photography inspiration, memes, and more. Subcultures are common on the platform, creating communities of users that provide safe spaces for each other. Because accounts aren’t necessarily tied to your identity (usernames can be whatever you want), some users feel like there’s more freedom than with platforms like Instagram or Snapchat.
Like any social media, the main dangers to kids include viewing inappropriate content and messaging with strangers. As a niche platform, Tumblr has darker pockets of content ranging from self-harm to depictions of explicit sexual activity. The direct messaging feature could lead to communication with online predators, as well as a jump to another messaging platform like texting or WhatsApp. And because much of Tumblr’s activity revolves around commenting and many of its users are younger, cyberbullying can be something to watch out for.
The Rise and Fall of Sexual Content of Tumblr
For a long time, Tumblr was a go-to source of free pornography for thousands of people. It was kind of an open secret on the internet and drove incredible amounts of users and traffic to the site. Pornographic GIFs, videos, and still images were easily found with just a few clicks, with no age-gating to help protect kids from inappropriate content. Then, in late 2018, Tumblr banned adult content for everyone, regardless of age. This move was directed in an effort to end child sex abuse material on the platform. As a result, users fled the site, and the company’s net worth took an enormous dive — revealing sadly just how important this content was to Tumblr’s popularity.
Sexual content can still be found on the site, however. It’s just nowhere near as common as it once was. You’ll often find images removed and replaced with Tumblr’s boilerplate “This post has violated community guidelines,” indicating that it was reported and taken down. There is also lots of borderline content that isn’t technically pornographic but can be very suggestive.
While private accounts are not currently a feature on Tumblr, there are some ways to make your child’s experience safer. Here’s how to help limit inappropriate content they may encounter while on the platform:
- Navigate to their dashboard then click their profile icon.
- Click Settings.
- Scroll down until you see the Filtering section.
- To block certain hashtags from appearing in their feed, enter in the subjects you’re concerned about in the Filtered Tags section.
- To prevent posts with certain text content from showing up on your child’s feed as well as in search, enter in the keywords you’d like to block in the Filtered Posts section.
If they encounter bullies on Tumblr, your kid can report them to Tumblr for violating community guidelines. They can also choose to block them, which will prohibit the bully from:
- Interacting with your child’s post.
- Sending your child messages.
- Following your child.
- Seeing your child in search results.
When a new Tumblr user creates an account, Safe Mode is the default setting for search results. This automatically blocks explicit content from appearing in search results. Safe Mode can be turned off for account holders 18 years of age or older. However, kids can quickly bypass this by entering in a fake birthdate — there’s no confirmation needed to prove it.
What Bark Monitors on Tumblr
As we’ve discussed, your kid may be exposed to a lot of different types of content on the platform. They may also share content — both personally created and reblogged from others — that you should know about as a parent. When connected, Bark’s award-winning service monitors your child’s account for signs of potential issues like cyberbullying, online predators, sexual content, depression, and more. Here’s what Bark can monitor on Tumblr:
- Photo posts
- Blog posts
We hope this post has answered the question “What is Tumblr?” and beyond for your family. The platform has made big strides in the past few years to try and maintain a safe experience, but it’s probably too dangerous for younger kids, even with the filtering features you can customize. As for older kids, we recommend sitting down with them and talking about some of the accounts they follow, as well as what they like to post. Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for kids to have multiple accounts, though — kind of like a Tumblr version of a “Finsta.” As always, the more you know and talk about what’s going on in your child’s world, the safer they’ll be.
The teen years are filled with immense growth–physically, intellectually, and emotionally. This is also a time full of confusion, for you and your kids. However, with some encouragement and motivation, you can help your tween or teen better deal with all that life throws their way. Here are some motivational videos that you can watch together on some tough teen issues.
Motivational Videos That Address Bullying
Bullying is a big problem with teens. Thousands of kids wake up each day afraid to go to school. Unfortunately, bullies pick on kids for many reasons, ranging from how they look to their social status and so much more. It is important to talk with your child about any issues that they may be having, whether it is at school or online.
Being the victim of bullying is a painful experience. This inspirational video shows how 10 bullied teenagers chose to make positive choices and change the world.
All It Takes Is One shares how Natalie Hampton, an anti-bullying activist and high school junior, created an app to help combat cruelty. Natalie’s mobile app, Sit With Us, was created so junior and high school kids do not have to eat lunch alone. Within the app, kids can post open lunch events or look for a table so anyone who desires to enjoy their lunch with their peers can do so.
A high school senior wants to inspire others to combat cyberbullying. She made a video after her friend was the victim of cruelty online. She wants anyone who has ever been subject to online bullying to know that they do not have to let the negative labels others give them to define who they are.
Nearly 20 percent of teens have depression. If you suspect your child may be depressed talk to them about it. Even if your kid is not depressed, it is likely they know someone who is, so it’s important to have these conversations.
You can watch this video together of a TED Talk featuring Hunter Kent, a high school senior who shares her story. Hunter battled depression for a majority of her teen years. She discusses how easy it was for her to hide her disease and how difficult it was to talk about it. Now Hunter uses her experience to give her peers the hope and encouragement that they need.
Abby is another teenager that shares her story of depression in this TED Talk video. This high school freshman talks about her battle with depression and how she now uses it help raise awareness.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 25. In fact, 1 out of 10 girls and 1 out of 18 guys in the US attempts suicide in a given year. So, while it may be a tough topic, discussing suicide with your child is important.
This informative video shares the stories of six teens who nearly lost loved ones to suicide. In this TED Talk video, Taylor Schad shares what she did to help combat teen suicide in her own school.
The teenage years are a time of learning about one’s self. This can come with a lot of uncertainty and when teens have trouble understanding who they are and what their value is, they can end up with self esteem issues. Providing your child with the tools they need to navigate their time as a teenage can make a positive difference. Watch this video with your teen for inspiration and self-esteem building tips.
In today’s world, being a teenager and the parent of one can be challenging. With open and honest communication, you can help your child navigate their way through this tough time. We hope these motivational videos can help open that line of communication.