Your older child or teenager is likely on social media sites like Twitter. As a parent, it’s important to know about these social media channels and how to keep your child safe while they interact with others on those channels. Even if you’ve never personally used Twitter, you should know what it is all about so you can keep your kids safe whenever they log online. So continue reading for a short guide to Twitter that’s specifically geared towards parents.
What Is Twitter?
Twitter is one of many social networks that have become hugely popular online. It’s different from Facebook in style and format, but anyone can create a profile and start following other individuals, as well as businesses from around the world. Many of your favourite brands, like Netflix, Sun Bingo, Tesco, and Xbox all have Twitter accounts that individual users can connect with.
It’s also possible to post textual updates, along with videos, photos, and links, and direct messaging is possible between users too. Users can retweet one another to share posts, and they can also “like” posts by marking them as a favourite. The main difference between Facebook and Twitter, however, is the fact that every tweet you send out can only be a maximum of 140 characters long.
Teach Your Child About the Dangers of Social Media
First off, it’s important to teach your children about the potential dangers of social media, especially if they’re going to be interacting with people that they’ve never met in person before. It’s a great idea to advise your children to create profiles that don’t include their full name. For example, they can use their first name and middle name, and they can use a profile picture that isn’t a portrait of themselves.
Another way that they can protect themselves is by making their profile totally private so that people will have to request them to follow them. In this way, they can screen all of their followers, and you can screen their followers as well. As long as strangers aren’t added, interactions can be safer and personal information can be kept more private.
Track Your Child’s Activity on Twitter
The best way to keep your child safe on Twitter is to track what they’re doing on the social media website. You can create your own account and start following them so you can see every tweet that they post, and you can talk to them whenever they post something that’s dangerous or inappropriate so they’ll remove it promptly.
Be Aware of the Threat of Cyber Bullying
One of the things that every parent needs to be aware of is cyber bullying. In fact, cyber bullying can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than in-person bullying because children end up going home after school, logging on to their computers, and finding a lot of messages that belittle them. This is why it is so important that you monitor who is following your child, who your child is following, and the interactions between those followers.
A Few Things That You Shouldn’t Do
Finally, there are a few things that you shouldn’t do when it comes to your child’s use of Twitter. First off, you should not ban your son or daughter from being able to use Twitter because this will probably just make them want to rebel and get an account even more, and they will end up being more inclined to go behind your back to do so.
Also, do not follow your son or daughter and their followers without first getting their permission. If you do so, your child will only think that you don’t trust them, and that could cause a variety of negative consequences to your relationship. Instead, make it known that you want to follow them, and that they can also follow you, so that you can monitor their activity for safety.
If your child insists on creating an account on Twitter for themselves so that they can interact with their friends, it is important to stay on top of that account. Also be sure that steps are being taken to keep information private and to keep interactions positive. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can go about protecting your child online with some parenting tactics that work.