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Recently, I wrote about the 5 things all parents should know about Facebook. This week, in the second part of my series on What Parents Should Know about popular social media platforms, I’m taking it up a notch and giving you two more tips on Twitter. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a platform that people are either very familiar with or ignore entirely.
Children and teens love Twitter because they can interact directly with their favorite actors or pop stars, and feel like a Tweet/Retweet from one of these people is the ultimate victory. More adults are perplexed by Twitter than they are with Facebook because the whole “hashtag” thing is confusing.
Parents, if this sounds like you, don’t fret. There’s no shame in taking a class to educate yourself on the ins and outs. Or, if you don’t have the time, follow these extremely simple tips to unlock the 140-character world that is Twitter. After all, the more educated you can be, the more of an equal conversation that you can have with your child and the more likely they are to be receptive to what you have to say.
Here are my Top 7 Things that parents should know about Twitter
- Twitter recommends that users be at least 13 to utilize their service. This has nothing to do with protecting your child and everything to do with utilizing your tweets to market for marketing purposes.
- Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a community built on interacting with strangers. The majority of people that will want to “Follow” your child WILL be strangers. Don’t allow this. Anyone that your child is Following on Twitter, or wants to Follow them, should be someone that they personally know OR a verified celebrity account. Our advice: review this weekly.
- Twitter does NOT have the same privacy features as Facebook. You can block people, but you do not disappear entirely. Savvy internet user can find ways around the blocking and still see tweets (a glitch within Twitter allows this). Private accounts are available, but then tweets cannot be “Retweeted” or shared, and kids find this limiting when wanting to interact with celebrities.
- Without their username, it’s almost impossible to find your kids on Twitter. Unlike Facebook, users do not need a “real” first and last name to create a username/profile on Twitter. Without this information, profiles can get lost in the vast Twittersphere. Make kids provide you with their username AND password. Understand that they can make up a fake account. Or 12. So can anyone else. Our tip: set up the account with them and talk about profile safety.
- Disable location services, and disconnect third party accounts like Foursquare, Facebook, and Instagram that can automatically publish on Twitter. This will create more privacy in an increasingly-less private world.
- There are NO parental controls on what types of profiles and links to outside websites that are searchable within Twitter. Let your imagination run wild.
- Remember that Wi-Fi is free almost everywhere. Kids will use their friends phones, tablets, music players, video games, school computers, or whatever they can get their hands on with internet access to Tweet and see what’s going on. My opinion: grounding them from social media is ineffective.
What are your thoughts? Are you currently doing any of the above steps?
Image via Educationnews.org