Twitter is a social networking website where users follow other users and communicate through short status updates, called ‘tweets.’ Users can also post links to other media, as well as customize their homepage with photos and other information. Twitter is a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, or to stay informed about your favorite movie star or musician, as many celebrities manage their own Twitter accounts. As with any social networking tool, parental monitoring is necessary for any user ages 11 and up.
Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.
Twitter has become an integral part of social culture, as it allows users to interact, interpret, and understand the thoughts and feeling of their "followers." Not only are users able to track the behavior of their peers, they can also update or "tweet," their own notions and reflections. Users who use Twitter consistently, will find it a great medium for expressing themselves. Once a tweet is posted, it can be "favorited," "retweeted," or replied to, which gives tweeters feedback from the online community.
Like many social media sites, Twitter can interrupt focus, keeping users from completing important daily tasks. But where users must demonstrate the most self-control, is not when they use the Twitter, but how they use it. Tweets posted in haste often have ugly results - one needs to look no further than to some celebrities - who will remain nameless, who have posted careless tweets, in which they immediately regret. While social media sites like Twitter, are great for interaction, and sharing thoughts and ideas, users must always be wary of the content they post. Tweets are a direct reflection of the user, so in particular moments of anger or distress, users must fight the urge to tweet something they don't want the twittersphere to see. Users are also limited to 140 characters (including spaces), and must exercise brevity and clarity with each tweet.
One of the main attractions of Twitter, is the ability for users to follow reputable news sources. Often, breaking news is featured on Twitter before it is picked up in print or even broadcast. Twitter has become an instant news source, featuring timely articles from some on the world's best news reporters and publications A combination of the social aspect of the service with a balanced approach to reading news and articles, makes Twitter can be a great way for users to become better readers, and more informed members of the community.
Your child will practice his writing skills when he writes his own tweets, or responds to tweets posted by the people he follows. Because a tweet has a finite amount of space (140 characters), your child will have to learn how to properly phrase his tweets to be concise, while still being effective. Twitter certainly takes a less is more approach
Twitter is a great tool for practicing Self-Awareness, Reading, and Writing. Try some of the ideas below or submit your own in the comment field at the bottom of the page.
Have your child create a username that reflects his personality, and then continue setting up his account keeping in mind how others will perceive his Twitter. He should upload any relevant photos of himself or of family and friends, pets, vacations, anything that you both agree is appropriate and a good representation of who your child is. He can also customize the appearance of his personal Twitter page with a unique background.
After the initial set-up and design of his Twitter account, your child should begin adding family and friends by searching for them by name. He can also search for his favorite celebrities by name, and see what they're up to!
While you should encourage your child to interact with his peers, be sure he subscribes to local newspapers and even National Geographic. All too often Twitter users have very small worlds, in which they post self-indulging pictures and comments. Sometimes allowing your child to express himself is important, assuming he does not get careless. Be sure your child keeps personal information out of his twitter posts. Encourage him to retweet things he finds interesting. A balanced approach when using social media, will result in mindful usage. When your child is visibly upset, ask him how he is feeling. If the emotions continue to build, without any medium for expression, they will ultimately end up on Twitter. You child must be able to distinguish between content that is suitable for the public and content that is not. He must maintain solid discretion, and fight the urge to divulge too much information.
Following other Twitter users means reading and responding to tweets. The more people that your child follows, the more tweets he has to read. He can also send and receive longer messages from friends and family that can further help him practice. Encourage your child to follow many different people, and parents can also create their own account where they can send messages and add to the amount of reading practice that their child is getting from Twitter.
Your child will be encouraged to practice writing when he goes to write his first tweet. Tweets should be short and to the point, so that others will read them. Encourage your child to think about what he wants to tweet, whether he just saw a great movie or wants to make a comment about a recent sports game. He should brainstorm a complete sentence or two that sums up his main points. Maybe he wants to ask for homework help, fashion advice, or music suggestions, all of these types of questions with encourage others to respond to his tweet, increasing the amount of communication.
Twitter is just one of many places to socialize with friends and family on the web. Try some of the alternatives below and let us know which one works best for you in the comment field at the bottom of the page.
Facebook is another popular social network, where users share status updates, photos, events, and more. Find out more at www.facebook.com.
Tumblr is an image-focused social network where users follow one another, and can re-blog content or post their own. Learn more in our Tumblr review.
Google+ is another option for social networking, that offers more complex privacy settings to help organize friends into specific categories. Learn more in our Google+ review.
Pinterest is a unique tool for saving ideas. While you can follow other users and send messages, Pinterest is more focused on maintaining visual lists of ideas or inspiration. Find out more in our Pinterest review.
All membership plans come with full access to our entire suite of tools learning guides, and resources. Here are a few of the ones we think you’ll like the most: