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Twitter is pretty awesome and everyone needs it in their lives Why Everyone Needs Twitter in Their Lives Why Everyone Needs Twitter in Their Lives What can you get in a mere 140 characters that changes your life or has a deep, meaningful impact? Turns out, you can get a lot. Read More . But like with any technology, there are safety concerns, privacy concerns, kids’ security concerns, and so on. Twitter has launched a new initiative to address all these matters.

Twitter Safety Center is a comprehensive resource built by the social network to address all of the ways its users are protected, as well as how teens, parents and teachers can use the tools better. You can access the Safety Center at any time by visiting safety.twitter.com.

Tools

Twitter-Mute

Twitter has introduced several tools over the years which have made it a stronger app than before. But you’ve probably missed some of these. It’s best to visit the Tools section of Safety Center to find out what these are.

For example, you could learn of the Mute feature and clean up your timeline with a game of Mute, Block or Unfollow Spring Clean Your Twitter With A Game Of 'Block, Mute, Unfollow' [Weird & Wonderful Web] Spring Clean Your Twitter With A Game Of 'Block, Mute, Unfollow' [Weird & Wonderful Web] It's time to play a game. It isn't one you'll be familiar with, because we've just invented it to give you an entertaining excuse for spring cleaning your Twitter. Read More . And Twitter will also keep you safe by recommending how to set a password and switching on two-factor authentication, which everyone should use What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It What Is Two-Factor Authentication, And Why You Should Use It Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security method that requires two different ways of proving your identity. It is commonly used in everyday life. For example paying with a credit card not only requires the card,... Read More . All of these are important factors to stay safe on Twitter Don't Get Hacked On Twitter - What To Do To Stay Safe Don't Get Hacked On Twitter - What To Do To Stay Safe Sites like Twitter are not soft targets. Twitter has even implemented security protocols like DMARC for stronger phishing protection. But even as I write this, news has come in of a hijacked Associated Press Twitter... Read More .

You can also find out what information about yourself you are sharing on Twitter, and opt out of things like being discovered by your email address, or being wrongly tagged in photos.

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Policies

Policies-Enforcement

Even if you are a long-time Twitter user, I’d recommend going through the policies section once to discover what Twitter stands for today, how it deals with abusive users, and so on.

For example, even though I’m an active Twitter user, I had no idea that you can report a user who you think is at risk of self-harm or suicide.

The policies section also carefully identifies what Twitter sees as spam, private information, or abuse and harassment. These are important to know because online harassment for women is a serious issue Tweeting While Female: Harassment, and How Twitter Can Fix It Tweeting While Female: Harassment, and How Twitter Can Fix It Twitter's abuse problem is real. Here are some examples, along with expert opinion on how Twitter can solve this. Read More , so it’s good to know what you are allowed to report. Remember, this is an area where free speech, one of the principles of the social network, goes up against hate speech, an oft-debated topic. To know how Twitter differentiates between the two is half the battle.

Twitter has also published an Enforcement section to guide you through the process of what happens when you file a report, how the social network will respond from their end, and the possible outcomes. Again, important information since some of these can be legal matters and it’s best to be prepared.

Teens, Families and Educators

Twitter-teens

In an important step, the Safety Center outlines best practices and guidelines for teenagers, parents, and educators on how to deal with problems.

Teens: Twitter wants to focus on being a positive experience for teens, so it emphasizes what is okay and what isn’t. More importantly, there’s an entire section dedicated to dealing with bullies. While adults can learn how to handle bullying tweets like celebrities do Beat the Bullies! How Celebrities React to Mean Tweets Beat the Bullies! How Celebrities React to Mean Tweets Twitter isn't always a land of love and kindness; sometimes things can get nasty. So, we've compiled a list of celebrities reacting to mean tweets, thus beating bullies at their own game. Read More , it’s far different when you’re in school and have to face your online bully every day. This section should be mandatory reading for any teenager using the social network.

Block-Twitter

Parents/Families: As a parent, you want to ensure your child’s virtual world is as safe as the physical world you protect them in. It’s debatable whether you should spy on your kids Should Parents Spy On Their Kids? [MUO Debates] Should Parents Spy On Their Kids? [MUO Debates] Do you spy on your kids? If so, why? If not, why not? This is the question at hand today. These are the questions that we're going to explore in this debate. Read More , but it’s important to recognize that for them, virtual relationships are as real as those in the real world. Twitter does a good job of explaining to families what place the social network has in the lives of their loved ones. Importantly, it has three sections everyone should read—how to teach critical thinking and build media literacy, and even use online safety to connect with your kids.

Educators: Teachers and tutors can use Twitter in amazing ways 10 Amazing Ways For Teachers & Tutors To Use Twitter In Education 10 Amazing Ways For Teachers & Tutors To Use Twitter In Education Twitter like all other social media is a virtual Aladdin’s cave. It is a gateway to riches. But just like in the story, this Aladdin’s cave is also booby-trapped. Use it right and you will... Read More , but it’s important to remember that it’s more difficult to monitor your students’ online activities. In fact, online lives and offline lives tend to overlap for students, and Safety Center helps educators understand how that happens, what they can do about it, and how they can build their students to be ready for adulthood.

When to Ask the Experts

Ask-Experts

Twitter and the law Arrested for a Tweet: When Twitter, Trolling, and the Law Collide Arrested for a Tweet: When Twitter, Trolling, and the Law Collide The UK's communications act makes it a criminal offense to send "grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false" electronic messages, but enforcement isn't equal. Read More is a confusing subject, which differs based on the country you live in, the content of a tweet, and several other factors. To their credit, Safety Center is trying to help you understand when to report violations to Twitter by understanding the rules.

The Safety Center also has the guidelines for law enforcement, which can help you better understand when to call in the authorities and take the matter out of Twitter’s hands. This also includes how Twitter complies with the authorities on several matters, such as when it will hand over your private information to the authorities, what level it will go to, and so on. If you care about your privacy, spend some time understanding the rules here.

The Best Ways to Protect Yourself Online

Twitter’s new Safety Center is similar to Google’s new My Account page What Does Google Know About You? Find Out and Manage Your Privacy and Security What Does Google Know About You? Find Out and Manage Your Privacy and Security For the first time, search giant Google is offering a way for you to check the information it has about you, how it is gathering that data, and new tools to start reclaiming your privacy. Read More to understand the privacy and security implications of using the service. And it’s important to know these. After all, just like you should be well-versed with the basic laws and customs of a place you live in, the same applies to a virtual place you spend a lot of time in.

What else do you think Twitter can do to make it easier to protect yourself and safeguard your loved ones online?

Image Credit: A Happy Family Via Shutterstock, Yeamake / Shutterstock.com

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