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Vine - a weed in the social media garden?

Posted on by Faye

Twitter’s video app Vine, which allows users to record and share six-second clips, has generated masses of hype and media coverage in its first week of operation. Is this a good thing?

Vine has already been billed the ‘Instagram for video’ – the photo-sharing app that allows you to take, edit and share pictures which was sold to Facebook for $1bn, not a bad deal if you can get it.

But is all this media hype and excitement a good thing? Some would view it as just the latest social media fad; everyone will download it, love it, get bored then move on to the next ‘big thing’. And perhaps that will be the case and what’s the harm in that you might ask? But my issue with Vine is that there is no censor on it. Literally anything can be uploaded for the viewing pleasure of any number of Twitter’s 5.25 million users. With no veto, any rubbish can be posted up there. This includes pornography. And this is where my biggest problem with Vine lies.

Already in the headlines this week there has been anger from Twitter users when a pornographic film was chosen as one of the ‘Editors picks’ on Vine and was therefore there for all to see on Vine’s home screen whether a user liked it or not. With more than 10 per cent of Twitters users being under the age of 18 and this percentage growing rapidly, I feel that such an incident is just plain irresponsible.

Just this week Diane Abbot, shadow public health minister has warned that an ‘increasingly pornified’ British culture is damaging young people. In comments released to the media before her speech, she said: “For so long, it’s been argued that overt, public displays of sexuality are an enlightened liberation.”

“But I believe that for many, the pressure of conforming to hyper-sexualisation and its pitfalls is a prison. And the permanence of social media and technology can be a life sentence.”

And I agree.

Claire Perry, David Cameron’s advisor on childhood, added that “parents must be more aware of what their children are seeing on the internet and on mobile phones” but how impossible is this task when children are on their phones so often? Unless parents are to follow their children around 24/7 and spy over their shoulders there is just no way of knowing what they are being exposed to and apps such as Vine are only going to make this worse.

In my opinion there needs to be some sort of age or parental control on apps such as Vine. Otherwise from a young age people will be desensitised to this type of material and effects on society will be vast. Only time will tell…

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