Lemon8: The Latest Social Media Craze – Should Parents Be Worried?

Words by
Jake Cutler

APR 12, 2023

Lemon8: The Latest Social Media Craze – Should Parents Be Worried?

Just when we thought we had seen it all, the social media gods have sent us…the same thing we’ve already seen a dozen times.

That’s a joke, but at first glance, Lemon8 does look a lot like someone just stuck Instagram and Pinterest together.

The social media platform is getting a lot of attention recently, so chances are good you’ll hear about it from your kids (if you haven’t already). We decided to look a little deeper so you’re prepared, yet again, to answer this question from your kid: can I get this new app?

What is the Lemon8 app for?

Apps like this tend to evolve over time, but for now, Lemon8 looks to be aimed at helping young people find and share products, services, or ideas that will cultivate a certain kind of lifestyle.

Lemon8 describes itself as “a content sharing platform with a youthful community…[to help you] discover beautiful, authentic, and diverse content.” It emphasizes lifestyle products in the categories of fashion, food, fitness, travel, pets, and home goods, but posts certainly aren’t restricted to those topics.

lemonade illustration

Like similar platforms, the feed is largely populated by user-generated content. Lemon8 puts a big emphasis on making it easy for users to express themselves freely by allowing for the posting of texts, photos, and videos with a variety of templates, stickers, filters, fonts, and photo and video editing tools built-in.

Also, like other social media platforms, Lemon8 relies heavily on hashtags to allow users to find content and allow others to find theirs.

Is Lemon8 owned by TikTok?

Lemon8 is owned by ByteDance, the Chinese company that also owns TikTok. ByteDance has been in the news a lot recently because of the Congressional hearing about banning TikTok in the United States due to serious concerns about privacy and safety risks, specifically in regards to kids.

That’s the primary reason a lot of people are talking about it right now, even though Lemon8 has technically been available for download in the app store since 2020.

Some find it odd that ByteDance would make a big push for another app in the United States while under such severe scrutiny. Others have argued that the push makes sense for ByteDance as a backup plan in the event TikTok is banned here. In that case, if they have a good user base on Lemon8, then they’ll still have a major presence in the U.S.

What Parents Should Know About Lemon8

Is Lemon8 safe for kids?

No. The app does have a long list of community guidelines, but those read much more like protection for the company against legislation than genuine protection for young users of the app.

Sexual content risk

Take their guideline on sex and nudity, for example. It starts off promisingly enough: “We do not allow sexually explicit or gratifying content on our platform…” But then it adds this fairly large caveat: “We allow nudity and sexually explicit content exceptions for educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purposes.”

It’s not specified who, what, or how exceptions are made under those terms, and that should be a huge red flag to parents. Even platforms like Instagram that have stricter bans on nudity are still full of pornography that’s easily accessible to kids.

Media addiction & subsequent risks

Beyond the risk of explicit content reaching kids, Lemon8 poses the same risks to kids that other social media sites do. These platforms are designed to grab and keep a user’s attention (for as long as possible), and they’re extremely good at it.

pink lemonade with umbrella illustration

Problems like eating disorders, mental health issues, and the sale of illegal drugs are all fueling the outcry by parents and legislators to protect kids from social media.

In fact, these concerns are so severe that Utah recently became the first state to ban social media for kids under a certain age, and other states are considering doing the same.

It’s too early to know how Lemon8 will specifically contribute to those issues because the app is relatively new. And compared to others, it still has a small active user base: TechCrunch cites an Apptopia estimate of just over 16 million users globally, with 4 million of those in the U.S. (compare that to 2 billion global Instagram users).

The way Lemon8 has positioned itself — as an aspirational lifestyle app specifically tailored to young users — is not promising. And the track record of its parent company, ByteDance, is another cause for major concern.

The same issues that make TikTok dangerous for kids seem to be just as prevalent on Lemon8. There’s no reason to believe it will be less addictive or safer. Lax Safety Measures Even the safety measures that have been included are largely dependent on age verification, which is extremely easy for kids to bypass. All a child would need to do is pretend they’re older than 18 when the app asks for a birthdate during sign-up.

Location is another concern. As part of Lemon8’s privacy policy, city-level location information is shared with the app and can be used to offer users services or suggest connections. That leaves children vulnerable to online predators who are near enough to suggest a meet-up in person.

We know it’s tough to tell your kids “no” when they feel like they might be missing out on the next big thing. But if you’re worried your child might not be mature enough to handle a social media site with questionable safeguards, then it’s worth the fight.

If you’re a parent looking to help your kid stay connected but worry about all the dangers present on smartphones, consider taking a look at Gabb devices. All our products are built with kid safety as the top priority so you can give your kids all the pros of technology without so much stress about the cons.

Let Us Know What You Think!

Any questions about Lemon8 we didn’t cover in the article? Let us know in the comments below.


  • Hannalie Brand on Jun 21, 2023 12:20 PM

    Thanks for the information! Always great to receive positive parent support to help safeguard our children.

  • Amber Kirkwood on Jun 21, 2023 01:37 PM

    Thank you for this article! It’s so helpful to know the truth of apps and potential concerns.

  • Gabb on Jun 21, 2023 02:10 PM

    We are glad to hear that you found it supportive! Thanks for sharing this feedback!

  • Gabb on Jun 21, 2023 02:11 PM

    This makes us happy to hear that you found it helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  • Adam on Jun 21, 2023 03:11 PM

    Love this (and my kids' gabb watches)! As someone who is well-versed in tech and trends, I won't be able to keep up with them all and this information greatly helps parents navigate a complex world of technolgy while keeping the little ones safe.

  • Gabb on Jun 22, 2023 10:10 AM

    Thank you for sharing!

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