Social networks are already part of our lives, because the computer and mobile phone have been doing it for a long time . It is good to know those places on the Internet that children visit regularly, but without establishing an authoritarian control. Good communication with children will help them to be guided by our advice on sensitive issues such as the dangers of social networks.
WHAT IS TWITTER AND WHAT IS IT FOR?
Twitter is a social network, founded in 2006, in which users share short messages over the internet , with a maximum of 140 characters. It is free, and users can be people who create a personal profile, or organizations, media, etc., who use this network to share their information. More than 200 million users are actively using their Twitter account per month.
THE TWITTER FORMAT ALLOWS YOU TO GENERATE A LOT OF INFORMATION INSTANTLY
HOW TWITTER WORKS
To open a Twitter account we need an email address, our name and surname, and a nickname, which will be the name of our account. We also have a series of terms and conditions that we will have to read and accept to create it.
Any type of information can be shared on Twitter. We can write ourselves a message , also called a tweet, which will appear on the Twitter home page (also called Timeline) of the people who follow us, as well as in our Timeline the messages of the people we follow will appear. But, if we access a person’s account even if we don’t follow them, we can see a list of all their tweets. Therefore, unless you have restricted access to your account, which is possible and easy, your messages will be public.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD I ALLOW TO USE TWITTER
Twitter does not allow opening accounts to people under 14 years of age , specifically, in its data protection policy, the company indicates that they will delete those accounts belonging to minors of that age. The age at which Twitter is allowed to be used will be something agreed between the parents and the child , but it is their responsibility to control the data and content shared by their children until they reach the age of majority.
It is possible that children open an account on this or other social networks without permission, or falsifying access data, such as age. To do this, having a communicative relationship established will facilitate transmitting to them the importance of following these rules .
THE BASIC FEATURES OF TWITTER
Twitter allows us to share messages, photos, videos, and links to web pages . When we see a tweet from another user, we can retweet it (share it with our followers), reply to it, or pass that message to a personal list of favorite tweets. It is also possible to indicate the geographical location from where the tweet is written.
This network allows you to see the topics that people talk about the most in it . They are called Trending Topic, and consist of those words that are most used in people’s tweets, such as “Oscar Awards” , although the common thing is to convert it into a hashtag, which is a keyword preceded by a hash, leaving like this: #PremiosOscar.
THE DANGERS OF TWITTER IN CHILDREN
When both children and adults use a social network, being behind the screen of the computer or mobile phone acquires a disinhibition of not having to face situations face to face . Thus, children and adolescents, if they are not taught well to think about what they share, can show content that is harmful to themselves on the internet.
In addition, our children can be involved in confrontations, or situations of harassment , which can trigger subsequent situations of physical violence if they are with close people, such as classmates. If those situations are with strangers, virtual confrontations can also affect them.
Finally [quotei] The privacy of children and adolescents is in danger , and their parents should help them take care of it [/ quotei] we must remember that the photos and videos that are posted are public, and may fall into the hands of criminals, or people with which they have had a dispute.
TIPS AND LIMITS OF USE
The best way to ensure that our children make good use of Twitter is to prevent them and explain, in a concrete and comprehensive way, the reasons why its use is limited , not simply to claim “that it is dangerous.” If not, what we will achieve is that, most likely, they use the network secretly and with a false user so that we do not find them.
The first limit is not to allow the use of social networks before the age of 14. Until that age, we should not allow them to have a mobile phone with internet access, and if they use the computer, it should be located in a common area of the home. From that age on, we should give them advice on its use and review the account settings with them to make it as secure as possible . We will also give you tips on how to create a secure password, so that your account is not stolen.
We will not allow them to share their own or other people’s images , or personal data, or use Twitter functions, such as indicating their location when they tweet. We will also advise them not to participate in contests through Twitter (generally they will not be able to because of their age), nor to enter applications that seem suspicious. It is good to remind them that adults make many mistakes on social media because they have not learned to use it responsibly.
It is important to control the use of mobile phones at certain ages, accustom them, for example, not to connect more than in the hours of rest , to avoid that these devices, like the use of the Internet on the computer , distract them from their homework.
SHOULD I FOLLOW MY CHILD ON TWITTER?
It is recommended that we also have a Twitter account to be able to follow our children , especially when they are still very young. Even if we do not follow them, we can enter their account to see their tweets.
It should not be a situation of distrust and control in their eyes . The best way is to talk about this topic beforehand so that they know that it is a right as parents within the obligation they have to take care of their children from the dangers of the internet. If we see that they make responsible use of the social network, we can reward them with praise and allow more autonomy to use it .