Monday, August 20, 2012

Twittering Teens

First there was myspace, then there was facebook, then texting, then skyping, then google +, now it's twitter and tumblr. You got to keep up with this parents, everyday it's something new! There are some important things you need to understand about twitter and teens. At least on facebook, you get friend requests. I'm guessing that most of your teens accept just about anybody as friends, maybe even you, but at least they do have to think about it for a nanosecond.  With twitter, anybody in the world can follow you on twitter just by clicking on follow. This means that literally total strangers from anywhere in the world can follow your teen. Think 6 degrees of separation. Followers can build exponentially fast. All it take is one person saying to their 100 followers, hey guys, this girl is hot, you should follow her, and all of sudden your daughter has 100 new people in her life! I know alot about this, because I am getting on twitter to build my "following", but more about me later.

Honestly you cannot control this. There is no, not allowing this, cause I can't think of a way to control it. If your teen is on a computer or has a smart phone they have access. (which is another reason against smartphones for teens. At least with a computer you have some control...IT'S YOUR COMPUTER!!!!!!) I digress. there is no age limit for twitter, and signing up needs no parent permission. Why is twitter another headache for parents of teens.  Here is why.

A. Your teen has exposure to a wide network of unknown people. If your teen is naive or has poor boundaries, or judgement (and what teen doesn't)  they may be in touch with people who might be of ill repute.

B. Using twitter is an excellent way of notifying many people simultaneously of party locations, hang locations, secret rendezvous (which obviously are not that secret if 300 of your closest followers know about it. Texting is so yesterday. It takes SO MUCH TIME and effort to text all these people separately. A parent recently told me about her son and his friends who saw that a house with an in ground swimming pool seemed to be devoid of occupants. After some reconnaissance work the teens determined that the family was away for a vacation. In an instant tweet..well you know the rest! It was not a pretty sight. Texting could have had the same results, but not as many and not as fast.

Parents, just like with facebook, you need to teach your teen Twitter safety. I don't think they truly get how many people can be reading their tweets without their knowing. Talk about drama. This is a drama creator of the highest order. Get on twitter, and follow them!!! At least you will know where they are. They don't even know that you may be among their followers!!

On the up side, I am attaching a link to an article about a teen who decided that enough is enough with all the twitter bullying. He decided to use twitter for the good of all teenkind by posting positive tweets about teens in his community, complimenting kids about accomplishments, or just saying something nice about someone. This is a popular teen in the community, and his effort to be a positive role model is amazing. Have your teen read this article.

I will be away for the next couple of days attending my daughter's movie premier. For those of you who don't know, my daughter is a movie actress, and though she has been in many films, this is her first staring role and is also an executive producer. I could not be more proud and excited, and hope that everybody in the whole world supports this movie. It is called FOR A GOOD TIME CALL,  and is about two twenty something young women who start out as frenemies and end up celebrating their differences, and friendship with each other. It is a sweet, hilarious heartwarming movie, and oh yeah it's also about phone sex, but honestly it isn't dirty. Go the to learn about the movie. It opens on August 31, and don't worry, I will keep on reminding you. My daughter is Ari Graynor.

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