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Tweens and Twitter

by Gary Hays | January 14th, 2016 | Safety, Social, Tweens
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twitter-566341_640Twitter is one of the largest and most popular social media sites on the internet. It allows for quick and easy communication between friends but limits posts to 140 characters, so long dissertations are not a possibility. From the outside looking in, Twitter appears to be a safe enough site for your kids to hang out in, but as with every social media platform, there are precautions which should be addressed.

Twitter is easily hacked. Once this happens, the hacker can then post anything they desire on behalf of the actual account owner. More importantly, hacking gives unauthorized people full access to all of one’s private and personal information. The very best way to avoid such an intrusion is to discuss, with your child, the proper method for setting up a strong password, thereby reducing the risk. Passwords should be at least 6 characters long and should include both letters and numbers. To really make it strong, mix in a punctuation mark such as #. There is no foolproof method for avoiding hackers, but if you make breaking into the account too difficult, they will move on to a much easier target. Because of hacking, your child should never assume they are messaging with a friend and need to take care in never revealing any personal information such as location, address, and etc., even when they think it is okay to do so.

Impress upon your child the need to tweet without being insulting or demeaning to anyone else. Messages of this type can wield more damage than they may think to the person on the receiving end and can be construed as cyber-bullying.

Though all platforms of social media, including Twitter, offer a chance to connect with new and exciting people, be fully aware that there are also some creeps lurking in the shadows. It is imperative for parents to instruct their child/children to only communicate with people they personally know, no matter who a stranger might be pretending to be. Therein lies the issue. Anyone can pretend to be anyone they choose.

You may wish to consider setting up your own Twitter account, if you have not already done so. Connect with your child’s profile so you will be privy to what they are posting. There is no need for you to respond to anything they post, and they may not appreciate that, but at least, you will have an opportunity to better monitor their activity.

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