Pinterest has added some new safety elements to protect teen users, including more restrictions for users under the age of 16, and updates to its control options, which will stop youngsters from sharing too much in the app.
First off, Pinterest says that accounts held by users under the age of 16 will now be made private by default, and will not be able to be switched to ‘public’. That’ll limit exposure and discoverability, while other users will also not be able to make contact with teens in the app.
Though Pinterest will allow some concessions, with youngsters soon able to share with selected, approved users in the app.
As per Pinterest:
“This summer, we aim to reintroduce the ability for you to share inspiration with the people you know and trust in real life, as long as you give them permission. Put simply: Are you under 16 and looking to share your ideas with IRL friends on Pinterest? No problem. Total strangers getting in touch to comment on what you’re doing? No thanks.”
That’ll restrict the capacity for randoms to creep on teenagers in the app, and put more control into the hands of young users, and their guardians.
In addition to this, Pinterest will also now require ID verification if an underage user attempts to change their birth date in the app, while parents will also soon have more oversight capacity, with an option to add a passcode to stop their teen kids from changing their settings.
Pinterest also notes that it has other protective measures in place, including a ban on face-changing filters (which can lead to negative self-perception) and ‘unique policies’ that don’t allow body shaming.
“That extends to brands, too. For example, weight loss ads have been particularly harmful to emotional well-being, so we simply don’t allow them.”
The updates come in the wake of a new report by NBC which exposed how pedophiles have been using the app to curate image collections of youngsters. That prompted two US Senators to call on Pinterest for a response, which has led to the implementation of these new measures, along with further exploration of the issues at hand, and what can be done to address such.
This remains a crucial concern for all social and messaging apps. And while messaging platforms, in particular, are increasingly shifting towards encryption, it remains a key consideration, in that enhanced privacy can also provide protection for such activity.
The fact that this is also a problem for Pinterest, which is considered a less controversial app, underlines the scope of the issue, and the need for all providers to continue to evolve and improve their processes to protect youngsters in their apps.