Social networks, apps and games
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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

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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.

Twitter is also rolling out a feature called Fleets, like Instagram Stories, that lets you share images, videos and text to your account that disappear in 24 hours.

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. 

Twitter has introduced Spaces to any account with more than 600 followers, although they are looking to expand this to everybody in the future. Spaces is a feature which allows users to live stream video. Hosts have the ability to invite people into the Space, to allow them to speak and also some safety features such as muting, blocking, reporting or removing others from the Space entirely. Take a look at the tips below.  For more information about Spaces see here.

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.

Twitter has a new optional feature called ‘Tip jar’ that allows people to send money to their favourite users if they like a tweet or something they’ve posted on the platform. Be aware that the tool uses PayPal to manage the transaction and once the payment has been sent the recipient can see your full email address. Remind your child to always check in with you first before they spend money online.  

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.

Help your child think about what they share online, whether in a video or an image or text, and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline. 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.

Show your child how to use the in-built safety features before they use the live streaming.

Remember that they can’t control the content in other peoples livestreams, so they may see or hear something that upsets them. Let them know they can talk to you if this happens.

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

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