As a parent, it is exhausting trying to keep up with the latest apps the kids are using. My daughter loves Role-Playing online. She typically does a lot of her role-playing on the Scratch website, but recently I was looking through her recent website history and found a new URL I didn’t recognize. I had to ask her, “What is Padlet?”
I talked to her about it, and she showed me what she was doing on it. Basically, Padlet is an online productivity tool. You can create a vision board, or collaborate on a project. However, the area that my daughter is using is called “Backchannel”
1.Padlet has an unfiltered, unmonitored chat
The Backchannel allows users to communicate in a chat-like format. So basically, it’s a chat that can’t be monitored, since it’s not an actual app.
As you can imagine, I was a bit concerned about this. We do allow her to talk to strangers online, but she knows she is not allowed to give any personal information online. Another rule we set is that any time someone says anything that is suggestive or makes her uncomfortable she needs to come and tell us right away.
Luckily my daughter is super open with us, and we compromised. Any Backchannel Padlet she communicates on, she needs to invite my account to. As I said, it’s an online collaboration tool, so you can invite a lot of people to one particular Padlet.
With my account added to her various chats, I am able to monitor each one to make sure nothing concerning is happening inside them.
My daughter’s account is actually created with her school-issued Google account. This also makes the website hard to block completely, as there are some teachers who use it for their classrooms.
2. Padlet lets you save pictures & videos to view later
The platform allows you to save websites and notes from all over the web. I can take a YouTube link and add it to a Padlet.
If there are videos, images, or websites your child wants to view after their YouTube time has expired, they can add them to the Padlet and watch them later.
3. Padlet can allow children to mask browsing habits or circumvent time limits
Your kids can also download images or videos from an unfiltered internet connection. They can then add them to Padlet and view them at any time. The filtered connection will only see access to Padlet. They aren’t visiting the harmful sites, but they are still able to access the content you don’t want them to see.
The unmoderated chat is the other thing that is concerning. We have monitoring tools like Bark installed everywhere to help us understand everything that is going on with her on social media. Without the ability to monitor it, we initially told her she would not be able to use it anymore.
As I mentioned we compromised by making sure my account was added to any Padlet’s she creates. You can look at their profile to see how many Padlet’s they have currently created, and make sure you are added to them all.
4. Padlet does have some privacy, but not much
The good news here is that your child would need to specifically invite someone to the Padlet. So, it is not an open environment where people can go trolling for Padlet’s to join. They can also share a link to allow people to join, but again, no one is just going to stumble across their Padlet and start a conversation.
You can even make sure your child makes the Padlet set to Private, Password Protected, or Secret to really make sure they are only interacting with invited guests.
5. Letting your child use Padlet will require some manual involvement from parents
This website may take a little bit more of a proactive approach to monitoring to keep your kids safe. If you see your child using it, make sure you are involved and have frequent conversations with them about the rules. If they are found breaking the rules, just block the website completely.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com