Twitter is not for children under the age of 13.
Safety: Parent and Teen Tips
You may be one of many parents wondering, "What is Twitter"? We're here to provide you some answers.
Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It's a new and easy way to discover the latest news (“what’s happening”) related to subjects you care about. Here are some examples:
These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.
Twitter is unlike other social networking sites because most of the communication taking place on Twitter is public and viewable to everyone. Since the information posted is public, some of this data may be made available or republished on other websites. Although there is a way to make your tweets private, most users share them with everyone. To learn more about public and protected accounts, check out this article: Public and Protected Accounts on Twitter
What happens if my child is being harassed on Twitter?
Twitter is great because it allows users to communicate directly with each other, but just as in school or on the playground, there are a few people who want to ruin things for everyone else.
If your child is receiving unwanted communications from another Twitter user, we generally recommend that he or she block that user and end any communication. Ending communication with bullies shows them that you are not willing to engage with them, and often they lose interest. It also demonstrates to others that your child is not involved in similar behavior and that he or she is acting against bullying.
Many bullying or harassment issues online usually start from problems offline. Blocking prevents a user from following your child’s Tweets and can minimize incentives to persist in the bullying conduct online. This help page on blocking shows you how to block other users. Twitter believes that bullying is a serious issue and we have provided all users with the ability to block other users.
That said, since online harassment is usually rooted in "real world" relationships, blocking another user is sometimes just a temporary fix. Determined bullies may create new accounts on Twitter and other social media services, so sometimes it is more helpful to deal with the person or issue offline by working with school officials, the bully’s parents, or other local authorities.
How Do I Protect my Kids on Twitter?
Talking with your children about their online activities is one of the best ways you can keep them safe. Being able to maintain an ongoing, positive conversation with them about social networking experiences online and offline may make them more likely to talk to you when uncomfortable or potentially unsafe online situation come up.
Following someone on Twitter means that you are subscribing to their Tweets as a Follower. When you follow another user, their updates will appear in your home timeline. That person also has permission to send you private Tweets, called direct messages. If you follow @JuneClippers, you'll get their updates on your homepage when you log in, as shown below:
You can also follow your child (or anyone else!) on Twitter in several different ways, all of which are listed in this helpful article on how to follow another user: How to Follow Others. This can help you keep up with what is happening with your child and allow you to understand what they may be dealing with online.
Can you delete my child’s account?
Twitter only removes profiles that are in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service. You should talk with your child and work with him or her to remove the account by following these directions: http://support.twitter.com/articles/15358
What Else Can I Do?
It's unlikely that your children would be in physical danger as a result of Twitter use (most teens know not to publicly share their physical location - and yours are no exception, right?) But, if you do feel you or your child is in danger, contact your local law enforcement for further assistance. Twitter does not actively monitor content, therefore we may not be aware of your issue. There is no substitute for calling your local law enforcement when physical safety is of immediate concern.
You may also want to contact school officials if you think the issue may be happening at or affecting school. Where kids are concerned, very often what happens online is based on school life and relationships. School officials may not be aware of your child's situation, but they may be able to offer further help. If you feel your issues are legal in nature, please seek advice from a lawyer. Twitter.com cannot offer any legal advice, nor can we provide other users' information without a subpoena or other court document.