Pinterest can be a great tool for people to share pictures and to get traffic to your blog, but is Pinterest safe to use?
Even though Pinterest is largely safe to use, it’s important to know that Pinterest and other social media sites can be used by hackers and people with malicious intent. You should also be cautious about clicking on pins as they can take you to scam websites.
On the platform itself, you need to be cautious of the content that you see and the time you spend on the platform.
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What are the dangers of using Pinterest?
When scrolling through Pinterest you can come across many images that promote an unrealistic body image, with models often appearing to be too thin. These images do not help people deal with eating disorders or body image issues and can leave people feeling that their body needs to look a certain way. While Pinterest has released new regulations to limit this, it is still commonplace on the platform.
In addition to the promotion of an unrealistic body image, there is still the possibility of coming across nudity on Pinterest. They have introduced stricter controls and seem to be removing content quickly, but it is still possible.
Similarly, scam pins can also find their way onto Pinterest and these can link off to malicious websites that try to get you to submit your data, or sell you fake products. These aren’t quite as common, as Pinterest does a decent job of removing these pins quickly and warning users when they are redirected to a site that seems scammy.
One of the largest problems on Pinterest is the amount of spam. Many scammers and content thieves simply steal great pins and then upload them with links to their website to try and drive traffic. This is something you will see a lot of when you have a popular account, but also when scrolling through Pinterest, you can also come across pins that have a certain domain on the pin, but the website it directs you to is completely different.
For some, a danger could also be the lack of privacy controls on Pinterest. You cannot set your profile to private, which means anyone can follow you and anyone can visit your profile and see what you’ve pinned (unless you save it to a secret board, but more on that later).
Should you let your kids use Pinterest?
Pinterest can be a great resource for crafts, coming up with ideas, and creative ideas with a more graphic element, making it easier for many to scroll through. Whether you let your kids onto Pinterest or not is up to you, but I will say that Pinterest is not any more dangerous or risky than any other social media platform.
If you let your children use Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok, then I find no reason why you shouldn’t allow them onto Pinterest.
If you are concerned, there are a few things you can do to make your kids’ Pinterest browsing experience safer.
6 Tips to use Pinterest Safely
1. Hide your account from search engines
Your Pinterest account, by default, is set to appear publicly. This means that anyone can see your account, even if they aren’t on Pinterest. This is the case when using a search engine like Google or Bing. Your profile and your boards can appear in search results.
If you want to hide your Pinterest account from search engines, then follow these steps here.
2. Hide Pins from other people using Secret boards
Your pins are also set by default to appear publicly. You cannot set pins individually to be private, but you can make a secret Pinterest board. This will make all of the pins inside of that board private and no one can see it.
3. Disable cookie-based personalization
Pinterest tries to show you the most relevant content they think fits your account. This could mean that you see personalized ads when you’re using Pinterest, or you see more pins on a specific subject when you save a certain type of pin. This is the cookie-based personalization that Pinterest uses at work.
If all of this tracking is too much for you, you can turn off personalization by going to your privacy settings and turning off the personalization settings, and rejecting the cookie options.
4. Limit time on Pinterest
Pinterest, like most social media, can be addictive. The goal of these platforms is to keep you on them for as long as possible, or coming back, in order to show you more ads as this is how they all make money.
Using Pinterest and finding plenty of inspiration can be great, but if you find yourself or your kids spending far too long on Pinterest, it may be time to implement a time limit on Pinterest. This will also help you find what you/they are looking for and then you can log off.
5. Don’t accept people you don’t know onto group boards
Collaboration on Pinterest is a great way to work with people on ideas, plan trips, and share inspiration. This is done in group boards, these can also be a useful way to increase your reach on Pinterest if you’re new and get more people to visit your profile and website.
Group boards give you the opportunity to reach all of the followers of the group board contributors, and when someone posts something on a board you are a part of, it could be seen by your followers.
As you can see, this could be problematic if they share bad or malicious content as it could be associated with your account. For this reason, be cautious when adding people onto Pinterest group boards.
6. Be wary of scams and fake accounts
If something is too good to be true, it probably is. This is the best way of judging fake accounts and scams.
Many scammers use fake identities of celebrities to then follow people and try to get them to visit their websites where they can scam them, or try to steal their data.
Scams can also happen with pins promoting impossible offers to make you rich, improve your health/fitness, give you free products that normally would cost thousands, etc.
If it seems a bit fishy, then it probably is. And if you do click on a site and Pinterest shows you a warning, then don’t visit the site. Sometimes these are false alarms, but more often than not, it’s a scam.
Also, report these scam accounts and pins when you come across them so that others do not fall for them.