What do I need to know about Twitter?

We've spoken to parents to find out what they think about Twitter. We've also asked children and young people what they think. Here's what they said:

Children’s views

What do children and young people dislike about it?

15% of the children and young people who reviewed Twitter thought it was unsafe. The main things they told us they don’t like about Twitter were:

  • 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 told us they like about Twitter were:

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

Is content on Twitter suitable for children and young people?

We asked parents and young people about the types of inappropriate content they’ve seen on Twitter. The level of risk is based on the % of respondents who reported seeing these types of content. The ratings are: Low Risk (less than 5% of respondents); Medium Risk (between 5 and 25%); and High Risk (over 25%, or more than one in four).


High Risk

Violence & hatred

High Risk


High Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

What are people saying about

Boy, 13

“I like that I can see what’s happening at certain places and what people think about certain things. Without the right settings you can be contacted by anyone but it is simple to set privacy settings.”

18 year old

“It is very difficult to control the information that circulates throughout Twitter, as anyone can share tweets, images and videos of another person, whose content could be deemed offensive.”

Girl, 17

“I like healthy discussion with people you wouldn't be able to normally talk to. But such a high usage means different people with different opinions can cause people to be offended and argue just to offend.”


“There’s plenty of sexist, racist and fascist content on Twitter. Intolerance towards ethnic minorities, women being bullied, dismissed or sexualised. There are hard-core pornographic accounts on Twitter.” – Father of 11 and 13 yr olds


“Twitter can be a great place to get factual information on a variety of subjects and current affairs, but it is also possible to see tweets that pose as truth but are completely false. Some tweeters also can be very aggressive and intimidating.” – Mother of a 17 yr old boy


“A standard Twitter account can be useful for keeping up with news or celebrity news. The main risk seems to be in the search functionality which can return all sorts of results. Children should have a locked down private account, and be made aware of the risks." - Father of 6 and 10 yr olds


"Twitter is the place to find out about what's happening in the world right now. Whether you're interested in music, sports, politics, news, celebrities, or everyday moments—come to Twitter to see and join in on what's happening now."

O2 Guru Top Tip for Twitter

O2 Guru Paul says:

"Twitter allows you to mute words to help filter inappropriate content from your timeline and notifications. Tap settings, then muted words and simply add the words you would like to block to the list."

Our O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline can help you to set up parental controls, adjust privacy settings or get advice on social networks. You can call us free on 0808 800 5002.

For face to face advice and support, you can also book a free in-store appointment with an O2 Guru here (even if you’re not with O2).


What's the right age for Twitter?


Twitter says

This is taken from Twitter’s own guidelines and is accurate as of April 2018.


Our panel of parents say

Based on our independent panel of 2,049 parents, surveyed through YouGov in January 2018.


Children say

Based on 2,059 responses from children and young people in November and December 2017.


Net Aware visitors say

Based on 704 votes from visitors to the Net Aware site – you can vote too.

What do you think?

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Start a conversation with your child
about Twitter

Having open, regular conversations with your child will enable you to really understand and explore the online world together, helping you to keep them safe online. Our tips and advice can help you start having these conversations.

There are some things that it’s best not to share with others, can you think what they might be?

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