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Posted January 6, 2015

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All About Twitter

Learn about one of the most popular social media sites available today.

Twitter is an online social and micro-blogging network that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets."

Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through the website interface, SMS, or mobile device app.

"Retweeting" is when a tweet is forwarded via Twitter by users. Both tweets and retweets can be tracked to see which ones are most popular. While the service is free, accessing tweets through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

As Twitter is becoming more and more a place to get your news, or follow celebrities, Twitter has created "verified accounts," using a blue check mark next to an account's name to indicate that the account is who they say they are. Twitter is responsible for verifying the account, and they are applied to the accounts of notable people in politics, music, movies, business, fashion, government, sports, media, and journalism. Verified accounts help cut down on the growing number of impersonation accounts.

For more information about Twitter, visit Common Sense Media's review.

Statistics about Twitter:

  • In 2013, Twitter was one of the ten most-visited websites, and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet,"
  • As of December 2014, Twitter has more than 500 million users, out of which more than 284 million are active users,
  • 35% of all Twitter users are under the age of 29.

Tips if you’ll allow your child to have Twitter
If your child is on Twitter, here are a few best-practice tips to use the app wisely:

  1. Establish clear rules about using Twitter before they create an account.
  2. Open your child's Twitter account with them and make the account private.
  3. Allow your child to accept only follow notifications from people he or she knows in person.
  4. Monitor their account, either by following them on Twitter, or checking their mobile phone, tablet or iPod. Tell them that you will be reviewing what they post and whom they follow, so they cannot accuse you of spying later on. (For more tips on this, consider creating a family media agreement.)
  5. Explain that anything that is posted online must be assumed to be public even if their account is private. People can easily take screenshots of what is on your child's account and "retweet" or share with others.
  6. If your child has a smartphone, limit access to Twitter only when he or she has WiFi, unless you have an unlimited data plan. Tweeting pictures and videos can use lots of data.
  7. Remind your child constantly to not share too much personal information on Twitter, and discuss the idea of the digital footprint they are creating while using Twitter.
  8. Discuss with your child what to do if they see something inappropriate on Twitter, or if something they see makes them uncomfortable.
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