What parents need to know
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 Periscope, users also can stream live video directly into their Twitter feeds.
Is it any good?
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.
|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
|Release date:||September 7, 2010|
|Minimum software requirements:||iOS 3.1 or later; Android 2.1 and up|