Is the Twitter App Safe for Kids?
A Complete App Profile for Parents
What is Twitter?
Description: A way to share your life’s moments 280 characters at a time. It is one of the top-10 most popular websites globally and has been around since 2006. Registered users can read and post messages or “tweets” while unregistered users can only read messages. Twitter can be used through the app or the website, www.twitter.com.
APP Store age rating: 17+ (it was rated 4+ for a decade!)
What do parents need to know about Twitter?
Too easy to be stupid and mean. The news is full of sports figures, celebrities, and presidents who use Twitter to “vent” and say regretful things. Twitter also gives potential cyberbullies a fast way to say dumb and hurtful things. You can delete Tweets and we also see famous people with Twitter remorse delete posts all the time.
Porn is Everywhere. On the surface, it’s just 280 characters, but just under the surface, Twitter doesn’t enforce any content controls, and it’s a haven for porn starts. The hashtag feature just creates a repository of specific themes for people to troll, i.e., #girls, #kikme, #snapchatnudes, etc.
Reputations can be damaged so quickly. Since it’s so easy to tweet whatever is on your mind, Twitter is an easy spot to do reputation damage to others and yourself, if not used carefully. Starting in February 2015, Twitter signed a deal with Google giving them access to half a billion daily tweets that will now show up in Google’s search results.
Unfiltered browsing is everywhere. All major search engines have a Twitter profile, and also have their URL’s on their profile. Through these URL’s in Twitter, e.g., google.com, yahoo.com, bing.com (even tumblr.com), users have unfiltered access to the web.
Location sharing. We share too much information about our location with the social media world, so it’s best to turn off location sharing whenever possible.
Fleets. Twitter jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon, and users can now post ephemeral tweets.
How to make Twitter a little safer:
- Make your account private, by selecting “Protect My Tweets” in Privacy/Settings so that only approved followers can see your Tweets.
- Set all the privacy settings to the strictest level.
- In the settings, you can mute people (they won’t know their Tweets aren’t being seen), block people (they won’t see your content and you won’t see theirs and they can’t follow you).
- Turn off video auto play. You decide first what you want to watch!
- Turn off “Receive Direct Messages From Anyone” in “Privacy/Settings”
- Unselect “Display media that may contain sensitive content” which is far from foolproof.
- Mute any #hashtags that enter your timeline you don’t want to see. Click on #Hashtag and select Mute.
- Enable the Quality Filter in “Notifications” settings.
- Unselect “Add a location to my Tweets.”
- Look for the Blue verification tick on profiles to make sure you are following the legitimate account.
Twitter bottom line for parents – it is safe for my kid?
The short answer is NO.
Twitter just makes us nervous. If using the Internet is like teaching a kid how to ride a bike, then Twitter is for adult riders.
If you do decide to give you child Twitter, the Bark app connects to the Twitter account and monitors for inappropriate or risky search terms, and then sends a report to parents. Bark is the ONLY social media monitoring platform that we recommend.
I love life. Seriously! Each. Day. A. Gift. Former CPA, business advisor, youth pastor, development director. Manage marketing efforts for Covenant Eyes and CEO of PYE. God shares wild ideas with me about life while I run. I have a relentless drive to help families use technology well.