Owned By: Publicly Traded
Operating System: IOS and Android
Available for download: Yes
Desktop version: Yes
Approximate release date: 2006
Age Rating*: Rated 17+ for the following:
- Infrequent/mild sexual content and nudity
- Infrequent/mild profanity or crude humor
- Frequent/intense mature/suggestive themes
Brief Description*: Join the conversation! Retweet, chime in on a thread, go viral, or just scroll through the Twitter timeline to stay on top of what everyone’s talking about. Twitter is your go-to social media app and the new media source for what’s happening in the world, straight from the accounts of the influential people who affect your world day-to-day.
*Information from the App Store
Users can take photos straight from the Twitter app.Access to camera
Users have the option to sync their phone contacts to their Twitter account.Access to contacts
Users can upload photos and videos directly to Twitter from their photo gallery.Access to photo gallery
All tweets are attached to a username or other identifier.Anonymous posting (posting without a username or other identifiers)
Many businesses have Twitter accounts to promote their goods and services.Business accounts (used for business)
Users have the option to erase their search history.Clear history function
Twitter may use data to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies, including purchases, contact information, browsing history, usage data, location, user content, and identifiers. Additionally, data may be collected and linked to identity, including purchases, contact information, user content, browsing history, usage data, location, contacts, search history, identifiers, and diagnostics.Collects user’s information
Users can follow other uses whom they may or may not know.Connect with strangers (ability to)
Similar to other social media platforms, cyberbullying is plausible.Cyberbullying opportunities
This type of content is not typically found on Twitter.Death themes and/or dark content/imagery/references
Users can send direct messages to other people on Twitter.Direct messaging (private)
Messages and images do not disappear when they are opened.Disappearing messages/images
Users can search for content by using emojis and keywords.Emoji search
You can’t legally buy accounts, but you can pay for advertising on accounts with a large following.Established accounts available for purchase online
While this type of content is not common to find on Twitter, it can be discovered especially if you search for it.Firearms content/imagery/references
When users post content with graphic content, their tweet will be marked as containing sensitive material.Graphic content warning (blurred graphic content before viewing)
Twitter has a group message function that allows up to 20 users within one group chat.Group chat function
Twitter does not have a group video chat function, but users can go live.Group video chat function
Users can search for content by using hashtags. They can also incorporate hashtags on posts.Hashtag use (uses hashtags as a search/directory)
There is not a hidden web browser on Twitter.Hidden web browser
Users can share images with each other via private message or by posting a tweet.Image sharing
Users can live stream as well as watch live streams with other accounts that aren’t protected.Live streaming function
Twitter does not need location information in order to be used.Location dependent services
Twitter can collect, store, and use your precise location to improve their services.Location services enabling
Users cannot login with Facebook, they must create Twitter credentials.Login with Facebook
Many businesses post sponsored content to market their products and services.Marketing (sponsored content)
To access Twitter, you need to have WiFi or cell service.Offline functionality (can be accessed without WiFi/cell service)
Users only need their account password to use Twitter's features.Password protected (beyond account password)
Once users add a photo to tweet, they can edit and alter images.Photo filters and editing
While this type of content is not common to find on Twitter, it can be discovered especially if you search for it.Pornography
Users have the option to make their account public or private.Privacy settings (able to set account as private)
Users can report tweets, media, and profiles for violations.Reporting functions (report bullying, inappropriate content)
Users can "like" and "retweet" tweets created by other users.Scoring system (trophies, points, rewards, etc.)
Users will not be notified when someone takes a screenshot of their content or profile.Screenshot notifications
Users can search for content directly from the app.Search function (content within the app)
Both individuals and companies can promote themselves on Twitter.Self -promotion for popularity or marketing
Users cannot access sexual accounts by purchase.Sexual accounts accessible by purchase
You cannot upgrade your Twitter account for more content or to remove ads.Upgradable (for more content or to remove ads)
Video chatting is not a feature on Twitter. However, users can live stream and watch other user’s live streams.Video chatting
Spaces is a new feature where users can have a live audio conversation on Twitter and others can join, listen, and speak.Voice chatting
There is not a web browser built into the app.Web browsing (built into the app)
Reviewed By: Ryan
While Twitter has some inappropriate content on it, not all users are posting/viewing inappropriate content. However, stumbling upon it could happen. Setting expectations and discussing behaviors for using the app is very important as a parent. Twitter itself isn’t dangerous, but a youth posting risky content could turn into a dangerous situation.
I don’t often have Twitter-related concerns raised to me by elementary or middle school students. High-school-aged youth are the ones, from my experience, that gravitate towards Twitter. Twitter is a great way for people to share messages, information and pride about their lives. Often schools will have Twitter accounts, as will the teachers and administrators, to provide a platform for the school performances, athletic events, or student successes.
Mental health content is not as searchable as it is on other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat. However, it can be found if you follow some hashtags. Eating disorder content can be found using the hashtags #thinspiration or #thinspo. Like any other platform, people are posting stories of their struggles. Searching #suicide will get you a “Help is available” message from Twitter with the Suicide Lifeline phone number and Twitter handle.
Drug, alcohol, and vaping content is available as well. A quick search of #vape will get you to posts and accounts where you can view vaping and also links to online stores to purchase vape related products. #weed will get you to the drug related content. #weedmaps takes you to an account that “is a community where businesses and consumers can search and discover #cannabis products.”
There is a lot of sexual content on Twitter. A quick image search of #nude will, as of this writing, get you “no results.” However, a search of #kinky will take you directly to sexual content including porn. If a user is trying to view this content, they have to allow this content to be viewable. To view inappropriate content you have to go to a web browser and log in to adjust this setting. All the user has to do is go to “Settings and Privacy> Privacy and safety>Safety>Tweet Media” and turn on “Display media that may contain sensitive content.” In that same area uncheck the “Hide sensitive content.” Then, they can go back to their app, which will now be able to view porn. A few hashtags that will get them there are #porn #slut #sexting #camgirls #horny #milf #kikgirl.
My #1 recommendation: I would not let children less than 17 use Twitter. If you are going to let your child have a Twitter account, you should have an account as well so that you can effectively educate them on how to use it responsibly.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Do not use full names as usernames.
- Set the account to private.
- Do not post personal information such as drivers license, school ID’s, state ID’s, phone numbers, birth certificates, school schedules and other identifying information.
- Turn off location services.
- Use the reporting system when they see inappropriate content.
- Talk to a parent if they see a concerning post from a friend (mental health, bullying, inappropriate posts).
- Report bullying both through Twitter’s reporting function and to a parent.
- Save screenshots of bullying behaviors.
- Block bullies.
- Stick with the age restrictions
- Even though an account is private, privacy isn’t guaranteed. Once a post is shared it is totally out of the users’ control.
- A digital reputation begins the moment an account is opened. What they post now could affect them later in life.
Reviewed by: Abby M
As with most forms of social media, Twitter has many positive and negative aspects. It can be a great way to feel more connected with the rest of the world, but it can also breed cyberbullying. Generally speaking, your child is unlikely to stumble upon much adult content unless they are intentionally looking for it, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that.
I would recommend that if you are a parent, let your kid have a Twitter account if they have specifically asked for one. Then, follow your kid’s account. That way, you have an idea of how your child is using social media and you can address any issues with them. If your child asks for a Twitter account and you refuse to let them get one, they may decide to get one even without your permission. I did that when I was about 11 or 12 and my mom told me I couldn’t have any social media. My mom had no idea what I was doing for many months. If you allow your kid to have access to social media such as Twitter, they are more likely to be open with you about what they’re using it for, that way you are actually aware of the situation if any issues arise.
Abby is a graduate of Montour High School’s Class of 2019. She will be attending Gettysburg College beginning this fall and hopes to study Organization and Management. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her pets, write stories, and listen to music.