Twitter App Poster Image

Twitter

Powerful social tool, but use privacy settings.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about a range of subjects and skills, depending on how they use Twitter. By posting 140-character tweets and viewing others' tweets, teens (Twitter is for 13 and up) can potentially gain a greater understanding of technology, politics, culture, and other topics. Often, news breaks on Twitter, so it's great for current events. The downside? Twitter is not always used positively, so iffy messages, bullying, misinformation, and more can crop up in a teen's world, depending on whom they follow. Used appropriately, Twitter can help teens navigate social networking while they learn about the world.

Ease of play

The app's stacked windows are elegant but take some getting used to. The app requires a combination of tapping, dragging, and pinching to navigate.

Violence

Live streams via Meerkat and Periscope may contain unmoderated violent content.

Sex

Given the freewheeling nature of tweeting, users might finds tweets with sexual references, photos, or links to porn sites. Users can block spammers who post these links from appearing in their Twitter feeds. Some users post pornographic pictures of themselves or others. Live streams via Meerkat and Periscope also may contain sexual content.

Language

There are no language filters on Twitter, so profanity is common. 

Consumerism

Companies and celebrities frequently use Twitter as an advertising vehicle to promote products and services The app also allows people and companies to embed video, which many businesses are using to air commercials (though they do not automatically play in the feed). Live streams via Meerkat and Periscope may contain advertising content, and ads can have "Buy" buttons.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Given Twitter's lack of censorship, kids may very well come across posts mentioning drugs, smoking, or alcohol. Kids also might see people using substances via live video streams.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the official Twitter app for mobile devices. It lets you do virtually everything you can in the browser version, including posting 140-character updates (known as "tweets"), viewing friends' feeds, sending private messages, searching, uploading photos, and following links. The app can post the user's location (street name and city) with each tweet, but users must opt in to this feature. The recent addition of native video also has resulted in many more video ads appearing in the app, and they autoplay unless that feature is disabled in settings. Additionally, users can conduct a group private chat -- not visible to outside users -- which might worry some parents. Parents can talk to teens about choosing privacy settings that keep their tweets within a known group of friends; they also can talk about other ways to protect their privacy and safety online. Live-streaming features such as Meerkat and Periscope may contain all manner of content, so keep that in mind as your teens use Twitter.

What's it about?

TWITTER users post their thoughts in 140 characters or less. They also can repost others' tweets; post photos and videos; and conduct private conversations with friends or circles of friends. Depending on whom a teen follows, the posts can contain enlightening, benign, upsetting, or racy content. Though most content appears as individual tweets, Twitter also curates content into themed packages through Moments, which includes News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun categories. Moments also can feature sponsored content, which ultimately serves as featured advertising. Through Meerkat and Periscopeusers also can stream live video directly into their Twitter feeds.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Though it provides immediate updates on the incidents and insights of people and places all over the world, the endless landscape of content guarantees that some posts will be inappropriate for kids. The site is mostly unregulated, meaning there are plenty of users who post pornographic images, use rough language or hate speech, or threaten violence. And if a user is targeted for abuse, Twitter has historically done very little to help the victim; however, in 2015, it added more reporting features, allowing bystanders to report abuse and reviewing more submitted abuse reports overall. The additions of Meerkat and Periscope introduce another layer, as live streams can contain any and all types of content with no promise of regulation. The Moments feature also adds more advertising opportunities. Until Twitter is better able to address the issue of these cyberthreats and bullying, this is an app kids probably should not access, even if their friends are on it. 

Families can talk about...

  • Discuss online etiquette and how it applies to using social networks such as Twitter.

  • Talk about the steps teens should take to protect their privacy online.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Subjects:Language & Reading: discussion
Social Studies: citizenship, events, global awareness
Skills:Communication: asking questions, conveying messages effectively
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, respect for others
Tech Skills: evaluating media messages, social media
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:September 7, 2010
Category:Social Networking
Publisher:Twitter, Inc.
Version:3.1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.1 or later; Android 2.1 and up

This review of Twitter was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTheBombFunn June 28, 2013

i like twitter i guess

The app is better
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylonelygirl January 1, 2011
Teen, 13 years old Written byAlwaysOnline6200 January 29, 2014

Really Nice App

Twitter is probably my favorite social networking app. It's very safe and fun to use. There are no dangers associated with this app in my opinion. Unlike Facebook, Your Twitter page is less likely to be hacked and you don't have to worry about creeps looking at your photos and posts. Following people is basically the same as having somebody befriended on your Facebook page. You Tweet a comment on their page and they can reply to it. Other people can join the conversation and you have the opportunity to meet new friends. On Facebook, You have to find friends yourself. I personally have both Twitter and Facebook but I like Twitter more. 11+ is a good age to start using Twitter. It doesn't take long to setup your page and make new friends. Facebook takes a while to not only setup your page but unless you know anybody who might also have a Facebook, You'll have to go on Omegle or some other chat site to find friends that are within your desired age range.