Twitter’s parental controls and privacy settings — What parents need to know

To keep users safe, Twitter has developed a variety of parental control and privacy settings. Learn what they are and how you and your child can use them.

What is the app’s age rating?

According to Twitter’s help centre, users must be at least 13 years old to use the platform. However, both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store rate it for mature audiences aged 17 and older. As result, setting parental controls on Twitter is important even if your child meets the platform’s minimum requirements.

Twitter’s parental controls

Twitter has a range of privacy and safety settings that parents can use to keep their teens safe on the platform. They give users the option to not only block and report users but also mute them.

Users can also limit who can see their tweets, who can contact them and who can tag them. They can also curate the type of content they see to match their interests and hide content that contains sensitive content.

Twitter introduced Safe Mode in September 2021. It allows users to automatically block any abusive or spammy accounts that contact them for a short period of time. At the end of the period, users receive information on which accounts were blocked.

Learn how to set up Twitter’s parental controls and privacy settings here.

Benefits of the platform

People use Twitter to connect with others all over the world. Despite reports of people misusing the platform, there are also several benefits such as:

  • the ability to quickly find content relevant to you and your interests
  • the 280 character limit means users have to be creative with the space available. This limit also allows users to share quick snapshots of their lives without the need for associated content such as videos or images
  • connecting with people from all over the world who also share your interests. On a smaller scale, it is a simple way to keep family and friends updated on your daily life
  • the constant development of Twitter’s parental controls and privacy settings. These updates mean that the platform is regularly exploring how to keep users safe online.

Things to watch out for

While users find many benefits in using the platform, there are some things for both adults and young users to be aware of.

Endless scrolling

Like many social media platforms, Twitter’s scrolling feature can encourage some users to stay on the platform too long. Twitter does not have parental controls or settings that can limit how much time a user spends scrolling through the tweets. As a result, young teens might find it difficult to manage their screen time.

Extreme views

Some have expressed concerns about the extremist views that are sometimes shared on Twitter. While the platform has features to block and report users who spread such views, they are not always effective with all languages. However, Twitter is continuing to develop these features.

Effects on mental health

With a lot of social media platforms, users can easily stumble upon inappropriate or dangerous content. This content can lead to mental health issues such as disordered eating or poor body image as well as extremist views and violent beliefs. Twitter’s privacy settings allows users to curate the content they see, which can limit this.

What is Twitter Circle?

Twitter Circle is a way to limit who can see your or your child’s individual tweets. Anyone on Twitter can be added to a circle even if they don’t follow you. However, they will only see your tweets if they go to your profile.

If a member of your circle has a protected account, only their followers who are also in the Twitter Circle can see their replies. Users also cannot use the retweet icon for tweets in the circle. However, they can still screenshot these tweets.

If your child uses their Twitter Circle, make sure to talk to them about the proper uses for positive and healthy behaviours.

How to share with your Twitter Circle

These steps have been re-created on the Android Twitter app.

To set up your circle, click on your profile image and select ‘Twitter Circle’. Then type the users you’d like to add and tap ‘add’. You can also tap ‘remove’ to take someone out of the circle.

How to set up your Twitter Circle

To tweet to your circle: create a new tweet. By your profile image, tap ‘Everyone’ and select ‘Twitter Circle’. When you post the tweet, only those people will be able to see and respond to it.

How to tweet to your Twitter Circle

Step-by-step Twitter settings guide light-bulb

Development of privacy settings on Twitter

Twitter’s parental controls or privacy settings are there for all users to stay safe. The platform aims to keep all users safe while browsing. Because of this, they are constantly developing safety and privacy tools like the ones below.

Safety Mode: This feature was released for some in Autumn 2021 and is still under development. It’s a fantastic autoblocking feature available for all users.

When enabled, abusive or spammy accounts are automatically blocked. The feature is temporary and can be set for a select number of days after which it will need to be set again. At the end of this autoblocking period, users can see which accounts were automatically blocked.

Some have expressed concern about Safety Mode’s effectiveness with some languages. As such, Twitter continues to develop this feature. It is not available in all locations but will see a global release in 2022.

Conversation controls: A staple in many parental controls, Twitter gives users the opportunity to control who communicates with them. Users can decide who is able to send them direct messages. They can set it so only people they follow can contact them this way. Additionally, users can set a filter to keep low-quality and potentially spammy messages from their inbox.

Further to the above, Twitter users can make use of the blocking features, which also limits who can contact them.

Muting: This feature lets users keep content from specific accounts from their timeline. They can also mute things beyond accounts like hashtags and conversations. Doing so manages the content on their timeline and reduces the notifications they receive.

Unlike blocking or unfollowing, muted users cannot see that you have muted them. This makes it a better alternative to avoid unintended conflict.

Learn more about Twitter’s privacy settings with our step-by-step guide.

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