Many of us enjoy vibing daily to our Spotify playlists. But, is Spotify safe for anyone struggling with porn use? As parents and valued customers, you deserve to know the hidden facts about Spotify.
Is Spotify safe for teens and adults?
As unlikely as it seems, audio porn, erotica, and visual porn is easily accessible on Spotify. Behind the scenes, our customers have been calling this to our attention. So, we did our own research.
We hope this information will help you open yet another vital family conversation about online dangers. However, we understand if you’re still a bit skeptical.
Porn on Spotify?
But … Spotify’s a music streaming app!!
That was my initial response to the very idea that people were finding porn on Spotify. Sadly, I’m not alone.
A researcher from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) says in recent article,
“To my shock, a single quick search on Spotify revealed that music and educational podcasts aren’t the only thing on the streaming app. There’s also an abundance of pornography.
This can be in the form of sexually explicit images (e.g. profile images, playlist thumbnails), audio pornography (e.g. recordings of sex sounds or sexually explicit stories read aloud), or written pornography (e.g. in the descriptions for pornography podcasts).” – NCOSE researcher
Why Spotify is on the “Dirty Dozen” list @NCOSE
Currently Spotify advertises itself as “safe” for kids aged 13 and up. But, Spotify also goes on to say that explicit content is available on Spotify, as noted above.
That’s precisely why the National Center On Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) calls Spotify a liar, and highlights Spotify on their current “Dirty Dozen List”.
NCOSE researchers tested Spotify extensively, setting up underage accounts. Their findings are eye-opening and appalling.
Being flagged on NCOSE’s Dirty Dozen list allows concerned parents to unify and to pressure Spotify to listen to consumers asking for change. If you want to help promote positive change, you can sign NCOSE’s petition for safety changes on Spotify.
Spotify - a potential “gateway app”
Is Spotify safe for adults who struggle with porn recovery?
Ever Accountable’s Head of Product, Hans calls Spotify a “gateway app” to porn:
“Spotify is one of those apps that create a ton of problems for a lot of really good people. I think of Spotify as a gateway app, similar to a gateway drug. It has the power to desensitize people into thinking that risks are far less than they actually are.”
Reddit forum users also agree, as they “spill the tea” about themselves.
According to Reddit forum chat, people admit to using Spotify as their personal, private “pornhub.”
Is Spotify safe for kids?
What parents are saying:
It’s important to read what parents are saying about their experiences with Spotify. For example, here’s one angry parent post in Spotify’s community forum. They discovered that their 9 year old daughter had listened to a very sexually explicit podcast series inside their family plan:
“How many more kids need to be exposed to this before someone marks this content as explicit? Doesn’t Spotify have a moral imperative to control this content before publishing it?
At the very least, let us Family plan users know that Spotify is unable to properly flag podcasts as explicit…”
What’s even more infuriating? Another parent had already flagged the same podcast series and complained about it to Spotify.
Spotify’s response: weak explicit content flagging policies
Spotify seems to shrug their shoulders and imply, “Ooops. We’re sorry, but we kinda, sorta told you about this. We can’t flag all explicit content.”
Does Spotify have a clean version?
Spotify Kids, advertised for ages 12 and under, has more extensive parental controls in the app. So this provides a potential solution, if parental controls are properly set up.
However, you still need to pay attention to the app and your child’s phone or tablet. Here’s a few reasons why:
One hidden risk lies with kids accessing Spotify on someone else’s account. Even an older family member or friend poses a potential risk, since sharing playlists is a thing.
It’s horrifying to learn kids are being pressured to share nudes on Spotify inside of “playlist sharing.”
Does Spotify’s Family Plan actually protect kids?
Again, let’s reference Spotify’s own words. “Spotify includes explicit content because we offer it how the artist intends it to be heard…We can’t tag all explicit content because it depends on information we get from rights-holders.”
So Spotify’s Premium Family plan is actually deceptive and unreliable for safety controls, as many parents are noting. For further information, check out Common Sense Media’s parent reviews – if you’re considering Spotify’s Family Plan.
Here’s the catch. Parents can only utilize effective parental controls if they buy the premium Spotify plan, and then only allow their kids to use Spotify’s Kids version of the app.
Minus Spotify Kid’s version, teens using the Spotify app are susceptible to porn and predators inside the app.
But another issue arises. While streaming on Spotify, due to Apple’s privacy policies, it’s difficult for parents to see activity inside Spotify properly on any iOS device right now.
Here’s our best helpful iOS safety tips on our blog
However, Android devices allow our random screenshots feature plus black-listed alerts to be set up and more easily be shared with parents or another chosen accountability partner.
Already an avid Spotify fan?
Hang tight! We’ll share the best steps we know to protect yourself or your teen who is already using Spotify.
3 Ways to protect your family from porn on Spotify
1. Talk about problematic sexual materials on Spotify in specific situations.
This all begins with having regular, open conversations with your family about sex and online dangers. For example:
What to do if you a friend sends you sexually explicit Spotify content
What to do if you see porn on Spotify
Why it’s important to never, ever share nudes (warning: Spotify covers)
2. Choose Android devices and install accountability software.
Android allows much greater safety sharing for your teens inside popular apps they love.
How to enable app sharing in settings
For those using our accountability software on your teens’ devices, go into “settings” and find the app list. Check on “share activity in this app”, and hit “confirm”.
This enables sharing of visual content inside of Spotify. Inappropriate images and music titles will be flagged on weekly reports.
Set up custom keyword alerts for additional protection
Also, if you’ve set up “custom keywords” alerts, you can be flagged quickly if explicit content is being accessed on Spotify.
3. Stay tuned to your child’s online activity by checking in with them very regularly.
One tip: present accountability in a positive way.
For example, remind teens we all need online family safety checks, because predators are heartless. Then accountability becomes an expected, helpful norm.
Our weekly accountability reports make this so much easier for you. We want to help you normalize openness and accountability.
The ultimate goal is self-accountability as children become adults.
Conclusion: safety on Spotify requires diligent effort
Our research and our anti-porn allies agree. Spotify is not safe. To become safe and family friendly, Spotify needs to make important changes to their app.
We’re grateful our customers also picked up on the availability of porn on Spotify and notified us!
This is just one example of how accountability fine-tunes awareness of online dangers to yourself and those you love.
Ultimately, accountability promotes porn recovery and builds skills for facing the real world wisely.
Ladchartabi, Atena. “Is Spotify Safe for Your Kids to Jam Out to? A Parent’s Guide – Safes.” Safes Parental Control App, 3 April 2023, https://www.safes.so/blogs/is-spotify-safe/. Accessed 6 June 2023.
“Parent reviews for Spotify.” Common Sense Media, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/spotify/user-reviews/adult. Accessed 6 June 2023.
Southgate, Ed, et al. “Inside Spotify ‘grooming network’ forcing kids as young as 11 to share photos.” The Sun, 30 January 2023, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/21209932/spotify-grooming-network-kids-photos/. Accessed 6 June 2023.
“Spotify Has a Porn Problem — Here’s What Parents Need to Know.” Bark, 27 January 2023, https://www.bark.us/blog/spotify-porn-problem/. Accessed 6 June 2023.
“Spotify on the Dirty Dozen List???” NCOSE, 11 May 2023, https://endsexualexploitation.org/articles/spotify-on-the-dirty-dozen-list/. Accessed 6 June 2023.