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What parents need to know
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- Kids say
What's it about?
TWITTER is an online social-networking and microblogging platform that lets users communicate through 280-character messages ("tweets"). Millions of people use it to keep up with news, gossip, weather, and more. Once you sign up, you can follow other users, who'll show up in a scrolling list of real-time tweets. Teens can follow specific accounts or hashtags. They can comment on tweets, which will be visible to other users, and find trending topics or browse general topics like sports, news, and entertainment. Users also can stream live video into their feed.
Is it any good?
This network can be great for keeping in touch with friends or keeping up with what's going on in the world, but between mature content and potentially permanent posts, it's best for older teens. Twitter attracts a lot of web-savvy users, but it isn't really meant for kids. The ability to publicly post anything you want can get kids in trouble if they say something in the heat of the moment. And even if they delete a tweet, it doesn't always disappear immediately. The service's location-sharing features also make it too easy for kids to post their whereabouts, which can lead to face-to-face meet-ups with strangers. Finally, some tweets in the site's Trending section sound like plugs for various TV shows, and Twitter allows kids to receive tweets directly from celebrities they admire, such as 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 to promote). It's also not that hard to find sexually explicit content, depending on your searches and who you follow. And also, comments on Twitter can be notoriously harsh and abusive if you have a public account. So, if teens use it to keep up with current events, content they love, or information they're interested in, it can be a great resource. Parents just need to keep an eye on privacy settings and your kid's activity on the platform.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's safe to post and what's not (for example, "prnts gone, party @ 123 main st tonite!!") for posts to Twitter and why it's a good idea for teens to limit tweeting to friends. How do you know if you can trust someone enough to make that person a "friend" with access to your private information?
Discuss teens' digital footprint and how universities and employers (not to mention friends' parents) might read their tweets and the impression they'll make based on their tweets and retweets.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: discussion
Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, events
- 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
- Genre: Social Networking
- Topics: Activism, High School
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: March 30, 2021
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