What is Vine?

Vine is Twitter’s video-sharing application that allows users to create video clips of up to six seconds that can easily be shared on Twitter and Facebook. The videos are referred to as “vines” and are played in an endless loop.

Frequent users of Vine include reporters, comedians and celebrities that want to share more than just a picture. And, it’s gaining popularity with teens who are using it to share videos with their friends and the general public. There are around 13 million current users of the Vine and it’s available on iOS and Android devices. The app can be found at https://www.Vine.co.

Videos are categorized and described using hashtags (a word preceded by a pound (#) sign). Users can search for and view similar videos based on hashtags.

What Parents Need to Know About Vine:

  • Vine is intended for ages 13 and up, however there is no age verification when setting up an account.
  • There are NO privacy controls on Vine accounts. This means, any “vine” you create could be seen by anyone else using the application. And if that doesn’t freak you out enough, there are websites cropping up that are unrelated to Twitter or the Vine that are playing recent random “Vines” created on the app. Make sure your kids are aware of this.
  • Much of what kids are posting is silly, inane stuff but many are using it for inappropriate content. Similar to many of the other apps, it is not a challenge to find seriously inappropriate content that you would not want your kids to see. If Vine users are diligent enough to warn you, they may include a hashtag with their video post like this: #nsfw (which serves as a flag for content that is “not suitable for viewing at work”).
    Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Talking to Your Kids About Using Vine:

  • Talk to your kids again about why they need to be so careful about what they post online. Discourage them from creating and distributing videos that are inappropriate or that they might simply regret someday.
  • Remind your kids that what they think is funny today, may be something very embarrassing to them in the future and they may not want it floating around on the web.
  • Warn your kids that it’s not a good idea to post videos of other kids. They should respect their friends’ rights to privacy and never post videos of other people without their consent.

In general, it is my belief that kids should not be posting any online videos of themselves or their friends. It’s just not a safe thing to do. Encourage them to express their creativity by filming interesting places and things rather than the people in their lives.