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Online Safety: Twitter

TWITTER

Age restriction: 13
This is Twitter’s minimum age.

Twitter is a social networking site where users can post ‘tweets’ or short messages, photos and videos publicly. They can also share ‘tweets’ written by others to their followers. Twitter is popular with young people, as it allows them to interact with celebrities, stay up to date with news, trends and current social relevance.

What do I need to know about Twitter?

TWITTER TROLLS
A ‘troll’ is somebody who deliberately posts negative or offensive comments online in a bid to provoke an individual for a reaction. Trolling, can include bullying, harassment, stalking, virtual mobbing and much more; it is very common on Twitter. The motive may be that the ‘troll’ wishes to promote an opinion or make people laugh, however, the pragmatics of what they post could be much more damaging, posting anything from racial, homophobic
to sexist hate. Trolling can lead to devastating consequences for some victims.

INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT
Twitter gives users the opportunity and freedom to post their personal thoughts and opinions, meaning they can pretty much post anything they want despite restrictions on the platform.
Swearing and inappropriate language is allowed if it does not violate the rules. If your child sees any inappropriate content, they might feel the need to replicate it at home or amongst their peers. Additionally, there are also a number of unocial pornographic proles on the platform that can easily be found and viewed without restrictions.

FAKE PROFILES
Fake Twitter accounts are made to impersonate a person, celebrity or public gure. As the accounts are not endorsed by the person they are pretending to be, they can often be used to scam or take advantage of young people who think that they’re the real deal.

FAKE NEWS
The speed in which ‘tweets’ are shared on Twitter can be
unbelievably fast, meaning that fake news can often be
circulated across the platform very quickly. Fake news articles and posts can often be harmful and upsetting to
young people and those associated with the fake news. In
addition to this, it’s very easy for people to quickly and
unexpectedly retweet a tweet posted by your child, meaning there is no going back.

PROPAGANDA, EXTREMISM & RADICALISATION
Social media oers a continuous stream of real-time coverage of extremist activity. Twitter is one of the many platforms that is exploited by extremist groups to help promote violence, radicalise and recruit people to support their cause. These groups cleverly target vulnerable victims, often young people, and nd a way to manipulate them into supporting their beliefs.

EVERYONE HAS ACCESS
Twitter has over 335 million monthly active users across all age groups. When a user signs up, tweets are public by default, meaning anyone can view and interact with posts instantly. Your child may change their mind about a tweet they have posted but even if they delete it, there’s always a chance that someone can screenshot, retweet it or post it onto another platform.

What do children and young people dislike about it?

The main things children and young people say that they don’t like about Twitter are:

•Seeing inappropriate content
•It can be used for bullying people
•It’s hard to know what’s true

What do children and young people like about it?

The main things that children and young people say that they like about Twitter are:

•People write funny tweets
•Being able to express yourself
•Following celebrities and finding out what’s going on in the world

TIPS

CHECK ACCOUNT SETTINGS
We strongly advise that you thoroughly check your child’s privacy settings. To take away some of the fear of your child’s tweets being shared by anyone, you can always make their account protected.
This means that anyone who wants to view what yout child has posted, it requires approval from them. In addition to this, you can change the settings so that they cannot receive ‘direct’ messages from anyone on the platform and that their location is not shared.

SENSITIVE CONTENT
By default, if Twitter has found a tweet that ‘may contain
sensitive content’, Twitter will hide the content in the news feed and you will be shown a warning that states the content is sensitive. You then have the option to view it or not. This gives a chance for you to moderate potentially harmful images/videos before your child sees them. Unfortunately, some content may slip through the cracks and will be shown in the news feed. So, if you do see any sensitive content, you can report it. Twitter should then inspect the tweet and decide whether they deem it to be ‘sensitive’.

BLOCKING & REPORTING
If a particular account is causing your child trouble on Twitter, whether it’s cyberbullying or upsetting content, you can simply block and report them. Blocking them will help to prevent them from viewing, messaging or following your child, and vice versa. Reporting an account will alert Twitter to investigate the prole.

TWITTER TROLLS & THE LAW
From 2016, the CPS were able to exercise new laws that could see those who create “derogatory hashtags” or post “humiliating” photoshopped images jailed. They also announced the launch of a hate crime consultation, issuing a series of public policy statements centred on combating crimes against disabled people, as well as racial, religious, homophobic and transphobic hate crime. It’s important your child knows about building a positive online reputation, as well as showingrespect for others online and oine.

CONVERSATION & MONITORING
We always promote that you have regular open conversation with your child about their online activity, ensuring that they understand what healthy relationships are, what respect is, and how to be sensitive towards others’ feelings. It’s also important to monitor what they’re doing online, including what they use the platform for, who they are talking to, and if they are viewing/taking part in anything that they shouldn’t be. Discuss the dangers of the online world, such as fake news and online bullying – why do people involve themselves in these activities and what your child can do to prevent them.