Social networks, apps and games
app-icons-Twitter

Twitter

Twitter is a social media site and app that lets you post messages called tweets. These can be up to 280 characters long. As well as tweets, you can send private messages and post pictures and videos. You can also livestream on Twitter.

13+

Official age rating

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for Twitter

Average

Twitter has some features that can help keep your child safe like being able to set their account to private, limit replies to tweets and switch off direct messages.

However, when we explored the app we came across images, videos and comments that contained adult themes and negative language children might find upsetting. We don’t think this app is suitable for anyone under the age of 16. 

Safety features

Twitter accounts are automatically set to public but it’s easy to change your account to private in settings. We would recommend accounts set up by children under the age of 16 are set to private so only people who follow them can see their posts.

You can switch off direct messages so other users can’t contact your child privately and disable photo tagging. Twitter also gives you the option to limit who can reply to your tweets.

There is also an option to enable ‘Safe search function’ which filters out sensitive and adult content a child might find upsetting.

Privacy & location

If you’re under 18 Twitter doesn’t share your location or DOB with other users.

It does use the email and phone number you signed up with to recommend new followers to you but this can be switched off in settings. Other users can’t see your email and phone number.

Reporting & blocking

It is easy to report and block on the app by clicking the three dots in the right-hand corner and selecting report or block. Twitter also has Community Standards that outline what they're doing to try and keep the app safe.

 

Content

It's difficult to control the content that gets shared on Twitter and while exploring the app we did come across content that young children could find upsetting.

Twitter does use filters that help to stop some inappropriate content being shared on the app but this won’t stop everything. Even with the filters on your child might still come across videos, comments or images that upset or worry them.

O2 Guru top tip

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On Twitter for kids

To keep your kids safe, talk to them about turning their account to private so only their followers will be able to see their tweets.

Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

You can also read our Net Aware reviews for tips on how to keep kids safe on popular apps, sites and games.

It's important to check the privacy settings on your child's Twitter account to make sure what they're posting is shared only with friends.

Twitter has guidance on how to protect your personal information, including how to keep your tweets private.

Explore these features with your child and agree together what's best for your child to use.

We would recommend switching off direct messages on your child’s Twitter account so people they don’t know can’t follow them. You can do this by:

1) Go to ‘Settings and Privacy’.
2) Select ‘Privacy and Safety’ which should appear in the right-hand corner of the screen.
3) Scroll down and select ‘Direct messages’.
4) Untick the ‘Receives messages from anyone’.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn't give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

Your child might see or receive upsetting or negative things from other users on Twitter. If this happens, they might want to report content or block other users.

Twitter has guidance on reporting abusive behaviour and advice on how to block another user.

Explore these with your child so you're both confident in how to use the features and use it as an opportunity to discuss what's appropriate behaviour and what's not.

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.

 Before you post a tweet, users can decide who can reply to it and are given three options to choose from:

Everyone can reply – This is Twitter’s default setting and anyone who sees your tweet will be able to reply

People you follow - If you select this option only people who you follow can reply to your tweet.

Only people you mention - Choosing this option means only people or accounts you tag in your tweet can reply

Encourage your child to think about these options before they post anything on Twitter. We would recommend that your child selects ‘Only people you mention’ so only accounts tagged in the tweet can reply. This will help prevent them being sent comments they might find upsetting.

It’s important to note that this feature only stops users from replying publicly to a tweet. People are still able to retweet, like and share the comment with other users through direct message.


Your child’s followers on Twitter will most likely be made up of friends and people they know from other offline activities. But sometimes kids might let friends of friends or other people they don’t know follow them.

Set some rules with your child about who can follow them on the app and show them how to ignore follow requests from people they don’t know. You could also show them how to remove followers if they already have accepted requests.

Make sure you check in with your child regularly about who they’re talking to on their favourite social media site. Remind them that they shouldn’t be sharing personal information, and if someone starts asking them other questions or suggests they speak using another app like they should come and tell you.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

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Talking to your child

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

Talk about staying safe online

What children and parents are saying about Twitter

We've spoken to over 2,000 parents and kids to find out what they think.

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Kids

What do children and young people dislike about Twitter?

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

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.

18 year old

What do children and young people like about Twitter?

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

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.

Boy, 13 

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Parents

We asked parents about the following areas of Twitter:

Signing up

Apart from choosing a user name, it was very easy to sign up. With a valid email address, you can sign up as anybody. Absolutely no measures in place to verify ID or age.

Dad of a 13 year old girl

I'm quite happy with the registration system.  It was easy to understand and follow and gave full information. 

Mum of a 10 year old girl

 

Reporting

Overall, parents found it easy to find ways to report unsuitable content and behaviour, and to block people.

I found it as easy to block people and report content on Tumblr as I have with other applications such as Facebook.

Dad of 11 and 17 year olds

You can report a particular post as inappropriate but it is not clear how to block a post or user.

Dad of a 13 year old girl

Privacy settings

Overall, parents found it easy to change location settings and ensure that their profile and account was set to private

Privacy settings are very basic with only two options: are you public or private and can people contact you with email or not.

Dad of a 13 year old girl

 

Safety and support

All of the advice and information is readily available through the help centre. Anyone can use this easily. Dad of a 17 year old

It would be useful for 13-18 year olds, and adults with a low reading age, to have safety information available in easy language.

Mum of a 13 year old girl

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