Is Twitter Safe for Kids?
Kids are fascinated by social media, and they usually want to use them way earlier than they should. Kids tend to copy their parents, and if you are always on your phone, they’d want to do the same.
However, if you don’t have social media, you may be wondering where they have heard about Twitter or other platforms. Kids know a lot more than we realize. When one kid starts using a new social platform, the whole school will know about it in a couple of days. Is twitter safe for your kid? We’ll try to explain.
What Is Twitter?
Twitter is not a new social networking platform. It launched almost 14 years ago, but a lot of things have changed ever since. Unlike other popular platforms, such as Instagram or TikTok, Twitter is not about photos or videos. Of course, you can share them as well, and people do it often, but Twitter is all about words.
Users mainly express their thoughts and observations through tweets. These resemble short status updates, and one tweet can have up to 280 characters. Previously, the character cap was at 140, but the company doubled it. However, people usually tend to write short tweets, 8-10 words per post.
The other users can then like those tweets, comment on them, and repost them to their profiles. You can engage in a public conversation with other users, or you can chat with them via private messages. Persons who are not registered can read the tweets of others unless the other person has made their profile private.
Is Twitter Safe for Kids?
Young kids are not supposed to use Twitter. The platform has a minimum age requirement, and persons under 13 can’t create an account. However, Twitter has no means to verify the user’s real age. When you’re creating your account, you’ll have to fill in your age, and there’s no option under 13.
Unfortunately, many kids enter false birth dates and pretend that they’re a couple of years older. Kids have been doing this for a long time, and Twitter can’t prevent it. It’s better to talk honestly and openly with your children and explain to them why you don’t want them to use Twitter. At least, not yet.
Restrictions and punishments will make them want to use this social media even more. You can control what they are doing on their phones, but you can’t always control what they are doing when they are with their friends. That’s why we always suggest talking about sensitive topics instead of punishing kids without an explanation.
What Makes It Dangerous?
When talking about the reasons why kids shouldn’t use Twitter, there are two main ones. The first reason is violent content that they may come across. The other one is their safety because everything you publish on Twitter is public, and everyone can find it via Google. We’ll explain in more detail now.
No Content Filtering
It’s lost impossible to control what your kid will see on Twitter, as there’s no content filtering. It means that the kids can come across violent content, explicit language or images, political jokes, etc.
We’re not trying to say that all Twitter users publish inappropriate content, not even the majority of them. But every so often, you come across something inappropriate that you wouldn’t want your kids to see.
Also, people engage in meaningful discussions about important things such as jobs, or politics, and kids may be too young to understand those topics. They should use the Internet for education and entertainment, but one that is appropriate for their age.
Everyone Can See Their Tweets
As we already said, you don’t have to have Twitter to see what people tweet. Kids may not be aware that everyone can see their posts and that it may get them into trouble. Also, Twitter doesn’t hide that all its content is searchable.
What does that mean? It means that it is way easier to find someone’s tweets on Google than their Instagram photos, for example. If you don’t delete your tweets, they’ll stay public and available to anyone who wishes to see them. That is unless your profile is private. We’ll explain that later.
Kids are too young to think about that, but you should know that inappropriate tweets have gotten many people into trouble. Some were rejected by the desired university, and others lost their jobs over inappropriate tweets. In our modern society, we have to be aware of our reputation from a very early age.
How to Make Twitter Safer for Your Kids?
If your kids are already using Twitter and you think it’s too late to ask them to stop, there are some things that you can do. First of all, ask them to switch their profile to private. That way, only their followers will be able to see their tweets and respond. The private option is not very popular among Twitter users, but it’s way better for children.
Also, they should be accepting follow requests only from people they know. The most important thing is to talk with your kids and explain everything. You should speak to them about what they should and shouldn’t post. Explain that it’s not ok to share their personal information with strangers online.
Tell them that they mustn’t use offensive language, even if they’re joking. Explain to your kids that it can have grave consequences in the future.
When it comes to private conversations with their friends, you can offer them some alternatives. If they want to talk with friends, it’s safer to use WhatsApp or similar chat apps.
Twitter Is Ok but Not for Every Age
Twitter is a great app, but for those who are old enough to know the consequences of their actions and choices. It’s not the best app for kids, and that’s why we suggest your kids wait a couple of years before they start using it. You should talk to them openly and try to explain everything.
Are you using Twitter? Have you come across any inappropriate content recently, and how did you react?