Positive steps from social networking sites

We’ve been working really hard to ensure that internet industries prioritise keeping children safe online. We’re really pleased to see that a number of sites, apps and games have been taking positive steps to keep children safe. Here are some of the recent ones we’d like to share with you:


Tumblr has created a new feature called ‘Safe Mode’, which is designed to hide sensitive material from a user’s newsfeed. Safe Mode is automatically enabled when users create a new account and cannot be disabled if the user is under 18. 

Safe Mode has also introduced content tagging. This allows users to flag their posts as sensitive or explicit in their post settings under ‘More options’. These posts will be filtered out of those with Safe Mode on. 

You can find out more about Safe Mode on Tumblr’s staff blog and on their page about Sensitive Content.

When you sign up for a Tumblr account, users can write any date of birth without providing proof of their age. Therefore, if a young person signs up with a false date of birth and claims to be over 18, they will be able to disable safe mode. If you know your child is using Tumblr, let them know there is a safe mode available. 

Yellow – A Safety Guide for Parents, Carers and Educators

Yellow has recently released a guide for parents, carers and educators about staying safe on its platform. For those who are short on time, there is a one page summary of the guide at the end of the document. 

The guide provides advice on how to stay safe whilst using the app, including how to report inappropriate content and turn off location settings. It also gives young people online safety advice including some of the risks they may face. There is also lots of signposting to other organisations for further support.  

Yellow has a five-step approach to safety; Sign up, Profile settings, Community guidelines, Moderation and Reporting. You can find out more about these five steps in the guide. The guide also provides advice for parents, carers and adults that can easily be applied into your everyday lives, to help keep children safe online.  

Terms and conditions of using Yellow are that users must be over the age of 13. However, although there is a lot of advice for parents and carers on how to keep children safe online, there is still a risk that young people could sign up as being older than they say and talk to people they don’t know. If you know your child is using Yellow, talk to them about how they can keep themselves safe whilst using the app.

YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids is an app designed for children and available to download on iOS and Android.  YouTube Kids has filtering processes in place, so that children should only be able to view child friendly content. You can flag and report any inappropriate or sensitive content.  There are also parental control settings that parents can enable when their child is using the app. These enable you to choose what age you want the videos to be suitable for, turn Search off and Pause history, which stops using videos you watch or search terms to influence the Recommended videos and Watch it again.

You can find out more about YouTube’s parental control settings here

To find out more about YouTube Kids, you can read their Parental Guide

YouTube Kids is aimed at younger children to help filter inappropriate or upsetting content. However, what might upset a 3 year old, may differ to what will upset a 9 year old – every child is different.  No filters are completely accurate and children using YouTube Kids, or any other apps, may come across content that upsets them so it’s really important children are still supported when using all apps, sites and games.

Why you should talk to your child about online safety:

Our research found that 60% of children would change their behaviour online after a conversation with a parent or carer. This is why we always encourage parents to talk to their children about their online lives, as they would their day at school, to ensure they can keep them safe online. 

For information on other sites, apps and games, visit our Net Aware home page or download the app on the Apple Store or Google Play.  

For more information and technical support, call our experts at the O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline – 0808 800 5002, or make an appointment to see an O2 Guru in store.

You can also sign up to our six week icebreaker email series - packed full of information, advice and activities to help bring you closer to your child’s online world.