What is Twitter like for children?

Posted on January 8, 2018

 

Recently, author Michael Wolff has been in the news for his book about U.S. President Donald Trump. Among the claims he makes is that almost everyone working with Trump claims that he is “like a child”.

Trump has become arguably the most associated name with Twitter. For me, it’s got to the stage where if I’m searching for news about the social media site, I often include a negative ‘-trump’ search to filter out all of the results about him.

And his tweets are certainly childlike. He uses capital letters all over the place as if shouting, and there’s always an “I want” and “you’re wrong” tone to everything he tweets.

In a way, I think to say Trump is like a child is a bit unfair to children. Instead, I would say children can sometimes display Trump-like tendencies. It’s true that now and again, they can be noisy, selfish brats. Usually though, unlike Trump, they are funny, caring and charming human beings.

Another way children differ from Trump is that they’re quite intuitive. They learn quickly, accept responsibility and ask questions.

The website Net Aware has been set up as a joint venture between charity NSPCC and telecommunications giant O2, and aims to give parents a resource to turn to when looking into the online safety of their kids. It also contains some interesting facts and figures, and the ones about Twitter are rather revealing.

According to the site, one in five (20%) of kids and young people describe Twitter as “rather risky”. This section of young people is aware of concepts like fake news (as in ‘real’ fake news, not just news Trump doesn’t like), spam accounts, unsuitable content and general lack of manners and respect.

Where young people seem less knowledgeable though is in protecting their own privacy and taking action if they are the victim of online abuse. Only just over half (54%) know how to change their privacy settings, and fewer than half (46%) know how to report a tweet or account to Twitter.

But what is it that children like about Twitter? According to Net Aware, they say it’s a great place to find news and celebrity updates, and that it can be used to socialise and make friends.

Studies have also shown that because children are impressionable and are always seeking approval, the thrill of seeing their posts liked and retweeted is addictive to them. Perhaps this explains why Trump is constantly glued to Twitter. Despite being probably the most powerful man in the world, maybe he’s still just a child who wants people to listen to him and respect what he says?

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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