What is Vine? Is Vine okay for Kids?

vineI know it’s time to review an app when my daughter asks for it or several parents ask me about it.  So looks like that time has come for Vine.  Vine is a video creation app where all the videos are 6 seconds or less.  The videos or “vines” as they are called play in an endless loop.  The videos are shared with other Vine users who you follow and can be shared on Facebook or Twitter.

Think Instagram, but with short videos rather than photos.

Twitter launched the Vine service earlier this year for Apple devices.  It was recently made available on Android devices as well.  From what I’ve seen, most of the “vines” being created are silly, stupid, inane, or insane.  Every now and then you’ll find a video that is artistic and creative, making the most of the “stop-motion” like effect that the video recording and looping helps create.

Is Vine okay for Kids?

As with most social networks, Vine’s terms of service specify that the service is not intended for those under 13 and parents can ask to have a child’s account removed.  However there is no age verification when creating an account.

Vine has a 17+ rating in the Apple app store.  If you’ve set a child’s iPod/iPad/iPhone to restrict apps by rating, they will not be able to download Vine.

All profiles are public.  There are no options for setting your Vine account to a private setting like you can on Instagram.  That means that any “vine” you create and share could potentially be seen by anyone else using Vine.

There is an Explore feature where you can randomly peruse user’s videos. And like Twitter, Instagram and other social networks, Vine users tag their videos with hashtags as a way to describe them.  A hashstag is a word preceded by a pound sign such as #food. Click the hashtag to discover other videos that use the same hashtag.  While the #food hashtag will lead you to short video demos on, say, how to make a smoothie, some hashtags are clearly not intended for the 13 and under crowd.  (Ever heard of #nsfw? That means not safe for work, meaning that the user is being warned that that the content may be inappropriate in a work setting.)

Vine Screenshot

As I poked around it didn’t take me long to discover plenty of content inappropriate for children.  One video showed someone lighting a pipe…and no I don’t think it was filled with tobacco!  Another video showed nudity and rude gestures.

A few of the videos I watched looked like they were recorded in a school setting.  Clearly there are teens using the service along with young adults.  Similar to Instagram, you’ll see comments such as “follow me and I’ll follow you back”.

There is really no such thing as Private

If you think that only those with the Vine app on their phones can see these videos, think again.  Web sites have popped up (not associated with Vine or Twitter) that display all the recent “vines” created in the app – right on the web for anyone to see.  If your teen is pleading with you not to take Vine away, have ‘em take a look here.  Do they want their video popping up on the web for all – college recruiters, grandma, YOU – to see?

So should I let my kid have a Vine account?

The only benefit I can see is for older teens who are interested in the art of video, animation, and film.  Vine would be an attractive option but there are other more educational video-editing apps and sites.  Take a look at the Digital Fun for Creative Kids list from Common Sense Media for some suggestions.

And while you’re on the Common the Common Sense site, check out their Vine review, with the summary “It might be the new thriving social media darling, but for now at least, keep young children and teens away.”

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  1. Scott says

    Thanks for the article Jean. I’ve been wracking my brain as my 13 year old daughter downloaded Vine without my asking. It’s on my phone now as I try and keep up with what they are seeing/doing.

    Vine does now have a Must be 17 years old, Adult Content warning when installing the app. With simple searches, I uncovered multiple pornographic posts…in about 15 seconds. Also, the Popular Now search has some fun to see clips but quite a lot with very vulgar language and suggestive comments and actions. That said..we will be taking it off her phone tomorrow and having another talk on whats appropriate for kids her age. Unfortunately, dozens of her friends are on Vine and I’m concerned not many of their parents care enough to check…

    Hopefully the folks at Vine can figure how to clean up the filth as it really is a cool app!

    • Jean says

      Hi Scott,
      I couldn’t agree more! If it takes only 15 seconds to find what you did, imagine what kids could see each time they open and browse through the videos.

  2. Delamare says

    There is now a feature on vine for private accounts. I think that makes it much more safe fir kids. But not under 13

    • Jean says

      I looked and even updated my Vine app but didn’t see any new setting for a private account – ? If accounts could be private that would be helpful but kids any age could still view any pubic vines (videos) shared within the service.

  3. kyle says

    Lol you closed your comments on the kik topic so i came here to comment. Jean the fact that you had to look up what omegle means get off this website go review something else that you know anything about. Lol if youre reviewing things for parents maybe you should learn a bit more. Maybe parents should just spend time with their kids instead of being on here reading your lame articles. Thanks bye. I bet this gets deleted because its not positive

  4. Layla says

    I am so glad my mom isn’t like you guys. There is nothing wrong with vine or kik for teens. I have a vine. I’m following celebrities, and all of my friends. That’s the same with most other teens. We get the app because its the new thing, all our friends have it, not because we’re aspiring photographers. Lol. Just like twitter, Instagram, facebook, it’s a way to share with friends. Stop being overprotective and worrying about the things that “could” happen when they most likely wont.

    • Destani says

      AMEN! I only use Vine for funny videos or epic fails. Nothing is wrong with vine. We use kik for a quick messaging to our friends instead of texts! And We use snapchat to snap our friends pictures of ourselves looking stupid. Its fun YOU SHOULD TRUST OUR CHILD, if you think your child is stupid enough to send sexual things then dont let them so it STFU somethings, Im so glad my parents arent like this, Kik and Snapchat is basically instagram since it has messaging.

      • Jean says

        Well, the thing is even even smart kids (and adults too) can make bad decisions sometimes, and for parents who are not familiar with these apps and think their kids might be too young to make the right decisions, they might agree.

  5. Not for MY kids says

    VINE is definitely not for kids, unless you want your kids watching AND posting masturbation and sex videos ..
    which there are plenty!!

  6. the_blog_rater says

    wow u guys r over protective stop listening to jean she is trying to ruin your kids lives so what if your child sees these videos its life they will find them sooner or later the problem with parents is that they r stubborn they don’t want there child to turn out like them to find out about the outside world but the truth is its to late this is the world we live in u can’t stop the passing of time ……..like i said sooner or later your child will find out the wonders of sex and u can’t stop them all u can say is …oh well …….. U can’t keep a kid unaware of the world i should know im 13 and i know so much about the outside world it scares me but u can’t stop it the world has a way of getting to everyone its only a matter of time…………..

    • timothy says

      I appreciate Jean’s efforts to educate parents and kids too. Some of you are so ignorant, you think all is OK…Let kids make decision to choose the website or App. OK..let your 12year old girl to visit a porn website and let her decide if she likes it or not. Do not scream out at her if you find her watching porn and send her nudes on kik.

  7. Amanda says

    Vine is completely fine for teens. The problem is not the social media, but whether or not you trust your teen to make the right decision and not post the scandalous videos in which you stumbled across. If you don’t trust your teen with vine all that says is that they are clearly rebellious as they were not properly raised. Just because a few teens and adults posted inappropriate vines doesn’t mean they all will. If your child is allowed to have twitter – which there is no harm in – then they should also be allowed to have vine. They are by the same creators. I think parents like you are to overprotective.

    • Jean says

      Thanks for your comment. A few points –
      1. There is a difference between “protective” and “overprotective”.
      2. What is okay for, say, a 17 year old may not be okay for a 13-year-old or younger. So the age of the child/teen needs to be considered.
      3. A parent may trust that their own teen would be smart enough not to post inappropriate content, but that would not prevent the teen from seeing other people’s inappropriate content, which some parents may have a problem with.

  8. Lori says

    I am the parent of 16 and 13 year old girls. I have talked to them about the safe way to use the internet and I respect their privacy – trusting that they would make good choices because most of the time they do. However, one thing that parents know that teenagers do not know is that sometimes kids can make wrong choices in the “heat of the moment” and what should have been an innocent mistake of not thinking before acting has suddenly become your worst nightmare. My 13 year old was innocently “kiking” (if thats the correct term) with her friends late Saturday night and I have not been able to get the entire story but somehow some pervert started asking her for nude pictures of her and started making threats about what would happen if she didn’t. Luckily at that point, she got off and did not comply. But now I have to wonder, who is this creep? Is it just a one time jerk who tried to get pictures but since he couldn’t will now move on to the next victim? Or is it a real sicko who has developed an obession and will do everything he can to find my daughter? If you think that stuff only happens in the movies, try reading the daily news. Scam artists and perverts can be very good at getting information out of people before they even realize what they have said or done.

    • Jean says

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks for sharing this story. It’s true, even kids who generally make good decisions can slip up – but I’m glad to hear your daughter stopped and did not comply. Most of these apps like Kik do have a way that you can block a user – so she could do that on Kik to prevent future unwanted communications from this person. Hopefully it was an isolated incident. Another reminder for all parents to remind teens not to give out their contact info, including Kik usernames.

  9. Drew(a kid) says


    • Jean says

      Hi Drew,
      Not sure why you had to resort to calling parents “idiots” to make your point…and also not sure anyone is getting worked up. Just sharing the facts about an app that has no privacy controls and some content not appropriate for children.

      • Galen says

        I agree with Jean. I’m thirteen and use kik, but only to keep in contact with three people. Parents are not idiots, and kids should understand that parents love their children and do not want harm to reach them. If you had children, I’m sure you would understand. I have had sad encounters, and know what it is like for parents to care rather than calling it “stupid and overprotective”. Is their such thing as overprotective, or is it just parents who really love their kids?

  10. Destani says

    Wow. You point out every negative you can, NOT EVERY TEEN IS GOING TO THAT CRAP! You obviously dont trust your child. Your so over protective

  11. Desmond says

    You are a over protective parent. I’m almost 15 and my mom doesn’t monitor what I do on the Internet at all. I have seen every bad video on the Internet (you know what I am talking about, 2 girls 1 cup, beheadings etc.). Yeah I probably shouldn’t have seen some of these things, but I saw pron when I was 9, before I knew what it was. I have a lot of experience on the Internet and its because my parents allowed me freedom. This generation is different than others, we can’t censor our children anymore, it’s simply futile. We need to give our children freedom because it is teaching them to think for themselves.

    • Jean says

      Desmond, thanks for your input. My aim is to educate other parents who are not as tech savvy as the average 15-year old. I don’t think most parents would be happy to hear their 9 year old had viewed porn. Maybe your generation has used technology more and at earlier ages than previous generations, but the need to protect and keep children safe (not necessarily “censor”) continues to be a parents role. How each parent goes about this, is up to them.

  12. Bill McCann says

    As a protective, but typically not overprotective, parent, a few comments.

    A parent’s main job is to teach their kids how to develop and use good judgement. Every human, young and old, needs to (should?) set boundaries to warn us when we inevitably veer off course.

    Right now, I am setting a boundary for my eleven year old by saying “no” to Vine. I know she will one day see all the ugliness, but I am protecting her from it for now.

    Secondly, what is the upside to using these apps? Entertainment, peer acceptance, popularity, staying “in the know”? For me, the potential downside is far greater. A moment’s bad judgement or silliness is shared and can not be taken back.

    Don’t kid yourself, businesses and universities do check.

  13. Amy says

    My 14-year-old daughter has a Vine account. I have always hated it and the fact that absolutely EVERYTHING is presented as entertainment, regardless of the outcome. A person can fall and break their leg…hilarious! A child can bust her mouth open…hysterical! Absolute trash. Tonight, she clicked a Vine and witnessed a drug cartel beheading. Two men, one by chainsaw and other with a knife. No warning. It is in her head now. And mine. This absolutely must be stopped. 6 seconds and my child has been damaged forever. Protect yours.

    • Jean says

      That is absolutely awful! There is an option to report a post so hopefully you (or someone else) has done that.

  14. Clay says

    Wow, I am very saddened by the posts on here that we should just open up these types of apps to our kids. If the posts come from adults with kids that is even more saddening and telling about where our society is.

    As a parent of a 10 and 9 year old I do trust my children. However, kids and people in general are naturally curious. Even and honest child could stumble on inappropriate content without intending to be devious.

    There is some knowledge that is too heavy for kids. It’s the same if I asked them to carry my luggage. I would be a pretty poor father to have them carry such a load. When they are older and stronger they can bear it.

    Sex education should come from parents and not from someone online that perverts what sex is and relationships should be.

    • Jean says

      Thanks for chiming in, Clay. I do agree that the 17+ rating of the Vine app is completely appropriate!

  15. Chase says

    I have vine and I’m 11 but I’m mature my mom says so she lets me have it. Kids can use it if they’re mature.

    • Brooke says

      I am a mature and I am also 11. My mom allows me to have a vine account. There are some inappropriate things on Vine such as porn but it is mostly just swearing and jokes about what my parents call “adult topics” but I already know about most “adult topics” because of some hardships in my past. So I think it just matters on the maturity of the kid and what the kid knows and what the parent thinks is okay for the individual itself is okay to learn not the age.

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