Twitter War

Sometimes a place of support, sometimes a battlefield–here's how your teen daughter can survive social media.

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Posted in , May 4, 2015

Twitter. Photo: 123RF(r)

Do you tweet? Most of us have heard about the mega social media site that allows you to share what you are doing or thinking about in 140 characters or less. A lot of us have Twitter accounts. I do, and it still amazes me when I think about the power those 140 characters can have on other people. It all comes down to numbers.

Numbers matter when it comes to social media and numbers matter to teenagers. How many Twitter followers do you have? How many “favorites” did you get on your tweet? How many retweets did you get from your Twitter post?

The higher the number of likes, the more familiar you become to your followers and the more comments or responses you will likely receive. Some of these comments or responses can be nice, but sometimes they can be extremely mean and hurtful. The can even cause an all-out Twitter fight.

Twitter fights can be between real life friends or complete strangers, and they can cause depression, anxiety and even irrational thoughts of suicide.

Here are a few thoughts to keep your daughter safe on Twitter:

1)  Encourage her to be careful about what she tweets. Are her tweets positive or negative and insulting? Personal beliefs, religion and political opinions will definitely trigger Twitter responses, so it’s important to think before she sends out a tweet for the world to read.

Encourage your daughter to hammer out her beliefs, to think about what others might say to her and to consider how she can respond to their comments before she posts. This will give her the opportunity to make comments as precise and well-rounded as possible.

2)  If she receives mean and hurtful responses to her positive tweet, urge her not to respond to the comments. This will only provoke a Twitter fight. If the responder continues to send mean tweets to her, encourage her to block the person’s Twitter account.

3)  Remind her that even though she can delete a tweet that she wrote, it is possible people can copy it before it is deleted. Then, it’s out in the world for life.

Many have regrets from sharing their spur-of-the-moment thoughts with strangers that can cause hurt feelings. Make sure your daughter is not too hasty when it comes to posting comments so she doesn’t feel backlash for a capricious emotion.

No matter what we do, whether in our words or actions, in everyday life or the cyber world, we must remember to love one another as Jesus loves us. (And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @todaysgirls!)

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