Common Sense Media says

Great social tool, but use the privacy controls.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As in any unrestricted forum, there are some jerks. The Terms of Service prohibit harassment and abuse, but some users say Twitter fails to enforce this. If teens make their posts public, anyone who knows their user ID can follow them.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Teens can search Twitter, which can yield tweets (posts) with sexual comments and links to porn sites.

Language

Language isn't restricted, so there's plenty of profanity.

Consumerism

Twitter currently allows advertisers like Starbucks, Red Bull, Virgin America, etc. to advertise through "promoted tweets," which means users might see brief ads that could include offers of free merchandise or discounted services. Twitter users can also sign up to "follow" feeds that offer discounts or other consumer deals. Celebs, business owners, and media outlets all use Twitter for self-promotion.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some users talk about getting drunk and doing drugs.

Privacy & safety

There are options for making tweets private (friends only) or public, and also an option that allows tweets to go out with location information. Public tweets will turn up in Google searches, and if someone tweets your kids' names publicly, those names will be surfaced in a Google search. Also, the Library of Congress archives all public tweets. This means that public tweets are being preserved indefinitely and may be used for research purposes and put on public display. Twitter's Tweet With Your Location feature allows you to add your location along with your posts -- although to use it, you have to opt in.

There are no parental controls.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Twitter is a free "microblogging" and social networking site that brings up issues of safety, privacy, and lasting digital footprint. The service allows users to post brief, 140-character messages -- called “tweets” -- and follow their friends' activities through the web, IM, or cell phones. Updates to Twitter appear immediately and, while you can remove Tweets, your followers can still read what you wrote until it's gone. Anything you upload to the Internet -- including Twitter updates -- can linger in cyberspace for a long time. Users can choose to keep their tweets private and individually approve followers, and this is what we recommend for teen users. Twitter is increasingly being used as a promotional tool for products and celebrities, though users can limit their exposure to ads and promos by keeping their Twitter circle among real friends. Users can choose to post their location along with each Tweet, which raises privacy and safety concerns, but users must opt in to this feature.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion

Social Studies

  • citizenship

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • asking questions

Communication

  • asking questions
  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Responsibility & Ethics

  • following codes of conduct

Tech Skills

  • evaluating media messages
  • social media
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

It can be crazy fun for kids to tweet back and forth with friends, so hopefully some of that will spill over into more educational content. Twitter's design is always top-notch, and kids will like personalizing their pages.

Learning Approach

Twitter can help teens learn to write concisely, and hashtag chats on various topics can offer new perspectives on specific interests.

Support

There's a huge base of support for Twitter users, and teens should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. Data is well-preserved, and it's possible to tweet pictures and videos for those with different learning styles.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • discussion

Social Studies

  • citizenship

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • asking questions

Communication

  • asking questions
  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Responsibility & Ethics

  • following codes of conduct

Tech Skills

  • evaluating media messages
  • social media
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn some solid communication skills while using Twitter. How do you distil a great idea into 140 characters? It takes critical thinking and writing skills to economize on language Twitter-style, and kids will have to respond quickly to keep up with the usually fast-paced conversations that happen there. Getting involved in a teacher-moderated debate or answering a pop quiz question in one sentence, kids'll learn to focus on important points. Twitter can be a great, innovative place to promote discussion and develop social media skills.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

TWITTER is an online social networking and microblogging platform that allows users to communicate through 140-character messages ("tweets") on a computer or smartphone. It's used by millions of people worldwide to keep up with news, gossip, events, weather, and more. Once you sign up with an email and password, you'll be directed to start "following" people. The people you follow will show up in your Timeline, a scrolling list of real-time tweets. When you tweet, the people who follow you will see your tweets in their timeline.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Twitter can be great for keeping in touch with friends, or keeping up with what's going on in the world -- especially trends in technology and breaking news. Twitter attracts a lot of web-savvy users, many of whom are developing services that enhance Twitter -- like a search engine and a round-up of the most talked-about topics. But Twitter is not for kids. The ability to post anything you want to say can get kids in trouble if they say something in the heat of the moment. Also, the service's location-sharing features make it too easy for kids to post their whereabouts, which can lead to face-to-face meet-ups with strangers. Finally, Twitter allows kids to receive tweets directly from celebrities they admire, like sports stars, actors, and musicians. These messages can be extremely influential to impressionable minds (and are very often promoting products the celeb is getting paid for).

Online interaction: Online interaction can be a very mixed bag. Twitterers often engage in ugly, public fights, or use the service to cyberbully.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what's safe to post and what's not (e.g. "prnts gone, party @ 123 main st tonite!!"), and why it's a good idea for teens to limit tweeting to friends only. How do you know if you can trust someone enough to make them a "friend" so they have access to your private information?

  • Families can also discuss what's a reasonable amount of time to spend using Twitter and related services, since it's very easy to get carried away.

  • For more information about what Twitter is, check out our tips: What is Twitter?

Website details

Genre:Social Networking
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Twitter was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old Written bycrazy19 January 22, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 13 years old Written bytigger100 May 22, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byKailey Shaffer April 26, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

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