Twitter App Guide (2022): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

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August 19, 2021

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In this video lesson, parents, students, and educators will learn:

  • What is Twitter?
  • Why do students like Twitter?
  • Dangers for students on Twitter
  • Tips to talk to students about setting up their Twitter account to Shine Online

Preview video: 

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!


Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.


Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.


Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

This app is listed in the Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

Twitter is one of the most popular social networks that promotes thought leadership and can have a positive impact on a student’s digital footprint. So, we created this Twitter set up tutorial for students.

When used correctly, Twitter can drastically improve your search results, position you as a thought leader in your desired industry, and improve your chances of getting into your dream school or internship. If students learn how to set up Twitter in a positive way–and why it matters–they’re less likely to use social media in a negative way.

Overview video for parents & educators

What is Twitter?

  • Twitter is an online social network, which allows you to send instant messages (called Tweets) up to 280 characters in length
  • Tweets can include photos, videos, and links to other websites
  • Those posts can become available to all users around the world in a matter of seconds
  • Tweets can be posted by using a mobile app or website
  • Other users can “Favorite” and “Retweet” the post if they like it. In this case, the tweet goes far beyond the original user’s followers
  • Most Twitter accounts are set to public. However, if the account is set as private, then only approved followers can see posted Tweets
  • When Tweets are posted they can’t be edited. Posts only can be deleted

Why we like Twitter

  • We like Twitter because it comes up on the first page of Google and can help you put your best foot forward to tell your story
  • Twitter can have a positive impact on your digital footprint if it is used for showcasing your accomplishments

What should parents know about Twitter?

  • Tweets are visible and can spread in a matter of seconds
  • To find your students on Twitter, you need to know their @usernames (not all teens are using their real names)
  • Students are using Direct Message (DMs) to talk privately to each other
  • Anyone can contact your student publicly. Your student must follow them to receive direct messages
  • Some teens use Twitter to bully other teens (by tagging their @names)
  • Students sometimes freely share personal information, without knowing that it can all be searched
  • It’s easy to find tweets by #hashtags, keywords, location, user, or other criteria by visiting

What can parents do to protect their students on Twitter?

  1. Add your student to a Twitter list so you can see all their tweets without following them directly/openly.
  2. Don’t reply or retweet their tweets (unless they want you to). Most students want their space on Twitter and would like to feel like they are not being followed by their parents.
  3. Check their tweets to know what’s going on in their lives (and talk to them about it in real life).
  4. Suggest your students set their profiles to private.
  5. Explain that if they don’t want you (their parent, teacher, or other adult) to see certain message or photos, maybe it shouldn't be posted at all.
  6. Report inappropriate and offensive content.

Student training video

What we are covering in this video:

  • Why Twitter can be positive for your digital footprint
  • How colleges search for students (and what they want to find)
  • How to improve your search results with Twitter
  • Branding in a positive way for your college and career
  • What to post on Twitter (with examples)

How are students using Twitter?

Students may think Twitter is a safe place to share their thoughts, feelings, and personal life away from their parents.
  • Students are known to "tweet" random thoughts when they are bored at school or at home
  • They like it when they gain “retweets” and their message is marked as “favorite” by their followers when they post silly messages, jokes, photos & videos
  • Users follow their favorite celebrities and popular Twitter users to stay "in touch" with pop culture
  • Teens are using #hashtags to hide the meaning of their messages from those who don't understand the hashtag code. Students may not realize that every word is searchable on Twitter (whereas on Instagram a message is only searchable based on the hashtags it contains)

Some teens don’t know that Tweets can get them fired or expelled

A thoughtless or hateful post can ruin your career, so better to keep your social accounts Light, Bright & Polite™.

A young woman that worked in the entertainment industry thought it would be fun to release secret information and used her twitter profile to announce spoiler info before new TV show episodes were aired. She found out that she was fired when her producer/boss replied promptly by Tweeting: "Hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment." When she announced this information she was leaking company secrets without thinking what is in the best interests of her employer (or her career). Another story is about a young woman that was offered a job at Cisco. Immediately after receiving the offer, she tweeted: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the fatty paycheck against the daily commute and hating the work.” Cisco employees are trained to listen to their brand’s name on Twitter and use that to perform great customer service. Quickly, an employee at Cisco responded on Twitter with: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.” She hadn't even started working at Cisco, and yet her tweet ruined her chances of having a career at a global corporation. From Business Insider.

Tactical Tip: If you ever want to talk badly about a company or person, consider calling someone instead of posting it online.

Twitter doesn’t have age restrictions

However, if your student is under 13 years old, you can request to delete the account. Just email [email protected] and provide all necessary information.

Interesting tools that search and view Tweets around the word

Tweet Location Map.

Twitter's Advanced Search.

How colleges search for applicants on Twitter (and what they want to find)

  • Colleges want to discover students who are positive and full of gratitude
  • Colleges and employers should be able to find you somewhere online. If they find other people, they will be confused
  • Colleges want to see who you are off campus
  • Colleges, internships, and employers are going to want to ask for your social media info, so they can check. It’s better to be upfront and show that you have nothing to hide

The top 7 ways that colleges will search for you online

  1. First Name + Last Name
  2. “First Name + Last Name” (in quotes)
  3. “First + Last” + City
  4. “First + Last” + School
  5. First, Middle, and Last Name
  6. Social Media Usernames
  7. Image Results

How to improve your search results with Twitter

  • Use your real name. Example: Josh Ochs
  • Choose a good username. Example: @JoshOchs
  • Link to your other social profiles/your personal url. Example:

Branding in a positive way for your college or career

  • Write a clear bio
  • Post a good clear photo of you in your profile picture. Use this photo as your profile picture across all of your other social media accounts

What should you post on Twitter?

  • Tweet information and photos of your volunteer work, school and sports activities, academic rigor, part time job, summer internship, and visits to college campuses
  • Keep your content focused on facts, personal interests, and accomplishments
  • Avoid posting about controversial topics, inappropriate content, and negative behavior
  • Engage with authors and colleges in your area of interest in a meaningful way

More Twitter resources

Teen Twitter Tips to Building a Positive Online Presence

4 Social Media Tips from a College Student


Comment below to let us know what you think, what you learned, or if you have any other questions the Smart Social team can help you answer!

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Twitter App Guide (2022): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

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