To quote our favorite funny guy, Jimmy Fallon, “You guys on Twitter?”
The answer: Yes.
A large number of teens are using Twitter. As of April, 2018, 38 percent of U.S. teens aged 15 to 17 years used the social networking site. For kids, Twitter is a fun place to follow celebrities, a place to see and be seen, and a digital mall of cultural trends. But…just one tweet can get you fired, expelled, arrested, and even jailed. The social network has been also been magnet for cyberbullying, political attacks, and full-on rants. Teens overwhelmingly still prefer Snapchat and Instagram over Twitter, but 38% is a large enough number to take a closer look at Twitter and how we can make sure our teens are using the app responsibly.
Project B3 compiled a list of tips on how to help your teen use Twitter wisely:
1. Be Smart With Passwords
Twitter accounts are hacked frequently. To keep your account from getting hacked, passwords should always be a mix of letters and numbers, at least six characters in length, and they should be NEVER shared with others.
2. Configure Privacy Settings
Twitter has a built-in search engine that allows users to comb the network for tweets. That means anything you post can pop up in one of these searches. By enabling the “Protect My Tweets” option, users can make sure these posts stay off-limits to search queries and are only seen by approved users.
3. Don’t Share Personal Information
This rule goes for ALL social media sites. No addresses, no real names, photos or videos.
4. Tweet Wisely
Think before you tweet. A seemingly harmless tweet can inflict a lot of damage when it insults someone or puts someone in danger. Do not tweet out of anger or frustration or post anything you may regret. Sure, you can rethink and delete a hurtful tweet, but by then, there’s a chance someone may have already taken a screen shot, retweeted, or posted it on another platform. Also, never tweet anything that can be misconstrued by your audience.
5. Don’t Befriend Strangers
Following celebrities, political figures and other public figures is part of the fun of Twitter. Following strangers and communicating with them is a different thing all together. Parents would be wise to enforce a policy that restricts their children to communicating with people they do not know. This tip not only ensures Internet safety for kids, but protection offline as well.
6. “Follow” Your Kids
This idea may not be popular with your teens, but for concerned and involved parents, it’s arguably the most practical and effective way to monitor what they’re doing online.
Project B3 knows that Internet safety is not the most glamorous part of parenting, but keeping your kids safe is your number one priority. Stay vigilant, moms and dads!