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Twitter

Website review by
Susan Yudt, Common Sense Media
Twitter Website Poster Image
Fun social tool, but use the privacy controls.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 276 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 477 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about communication skills while using Twitter, including how you distill a great idea into 140 characters. It takes critical-thinking and writing skills to economize language Twitter-style, and kids will have to respond quickly to keep up with the usually fast-paced conversations. The skills kids learn can translate into the classroom in, for example, a teacher-moderated debate or answering pop quiz questions in one sentence, focusing on the important points. Twitter can expose kids to a lot of content -- some that's better suited for older users -- but they'll also see information about technology, politics, culture, and other topics. Often, news breaks on Twitter, so it's great for current events. Twitter also can be a great place to promote discussion and develop social media skills.

Violence

Live streams via Periscope may contain unmoderated violent content.

 

Sex

Teens can search Twitter, which can yield tweets (posts) with sexual comments, links to porn sites. Live streams via Periscope also may contain sexual content.

Language

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

Consumerism

Companies, celebrities frequently use Twitter as an advertising vehicle to promote products, services. Users can sign up to follow feeds that offer discounts, other consumer deals. App also allows people, companies to embed video, which many businesses are using to air commercials (though they don't automatically play in feed). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Given Twitter's lack of censorship, kids may very well come across posts mentioning drugs, smoking, alcohol.

What 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 a lasting digital footprint. The service allows users to post 280-character messages and follow their other accounts -- from friends to celebrities to politicians to news outlets to organizations. Updates appear immediately, and, though you can delete tweets, if other users have reposted them with a comment of their own, those tweets will remain. Teens can also receive direct messages from anyone, unless disabled in settings. Live-streaming from the Periscope may contain all manner of content, so keep that in mind as your teens use Twitter. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy polices frequently change.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFutt747 February 11, 2016

Horrendous

Asks for mobile numbers to login before you can use it.
No respect for privacy, lots of inappropriate content.
It's no wonder their stock is plummeting.
FB... Continue reading
Parent Written bySunbeam7x3 April 9, 2014

Inappropriate Material On Seemingly Innocent Accounts

I have my own personal twitter account. I subscribe to innocent accounts like "Wikipedia Facts" and "Love Notebook". They might be getting h... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old June 23, 2013

Why do users behave poorly?

Hello, Twitter is a good website for people who are 13 but you need to be aware because sometimes there is abusive tweets on Twitter, if you find anything innap... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytigger100 May 22, 2010

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 via Periscope.

Is it any good?

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, but it isn't really meant for kids. The ability to post anything you want can get kids in trouble if they say something in the heat of the moment. 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).

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.

Website details

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