Reddit prides itself on being “the front page of the internet”. It’s a popular website for adults and children alike, but is it safe for kids to use?
One of the internet’s most valuable features is being able to discover and learn nearly anything about everything.
From history to science to current events, the web offers a near-endless wealth of content and perspectives to explore — but it can also be a minefield for the unwary.
One of today’s fastest-growing web communities is Reddit, which bills itself as “the front page of the internet”. A forum-like website, Reddit is broken down into thousands of smaller communities, called “subreddits”, each focused on a particular topic.
Subreddits can vary widely in content, from innocuous discussion of hobbies to commentary on current affairs, to racy or explicit material.
Volunteer users moderate most subreddits, and many have strict rules about the kind of content that users can post. However, not all moderators are equally vigilant, and some subreddits allow offensive material to slip through the cracks.
For parents, Reddit can be a tough nut to crack. On the one hand, it’s a potentially valuable resource for kids — a place where they can explore new interests and learn about the world around them.
On the other hand, its vast and largely unchecked user-generated content can expose children to offensive material, such as pornography, hate speech, and graphic violence.
So, what’s a parent to do?
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at Reddit – what the site is, how it works, and some of the risks and benefits associated with using it. We’ll also offer some tips on how to keep your kids safe if you do decide to let them use Reddit.
- What is Reddit?
- What is Reddit Mostly Used For?
- Is Reddit Safe to Use?
- What Age is Reddit Appropriate For?
- Is Reddit Safe From Hackers and Privacy?
- Are There Any Reddit Parental Controls Available?
- Tips for Parents to Keep Their Kids Safe on Reddit
To learn how to best keep your kids safe on the “front page of the internet”, continue reading below. With the proper knowledge, you can help your kids protect themselves while they learn online.
What is Reddit?
In order to understand how to keep your kids safe on Reddit, it’s essential first to know what Reddit is and how it works.
Reddit is a social news website where users can submit content in the form of text posts or direct links. Other users can then vote the submissions up or down, which determines their position on the site’s front page.
Content on Reddit is organized into subreddits, which are essentially subcategories focused on particular topics. Thousands of subreddits are available, covering everything from cute animal pictures to current events.
For example, some of the most popular subreddits include:
– r/funny: a subreddit devoted to humorous content
– r/gaming: a subreddit for discussion and news about video games
– r/science: a subreddit for discussion and news about science
– r/worldnews: a subreddit for discussion and news about current events happening around the world
– r/pokemon: a subreddit for discussion and news about the Pokemon franchise
Nearly any interest, hobby, or topic you can think of will have a subreddit dedicated to it – and within that subreddit, users are free to post just about anything they want, within the bounds of the subreddit’s rules.
What is Reddit Mostly Used For?
Now that we know what Reddit is and how it works let’s take a look at some of the things people use it for.
The most popular subreddits tend to be focused on news, entertainment, and general interest topics. However, because there are subreddits for just about everything, you can also find more niche or specialist content if you look hard enough.
Many users utilize Reddit as a knowledge base, where they can ask questions and get answers from experts on a particular topic.
Others use Reddit as a source of entertainment, using it to find funny content, exciting stories, or viral videos.
And others use it as a way to connect with like-minded people who share their interests, whether that’s gaming, fashion, cars, or anything else.
Because of its vast and ever-changing content, Reddit can be a great place for kids to explore new things and learn about the world around them. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with using the site.
Is Reddit Safe to Use?
As with any social media site, there are both good and bad aspects to using Reddit.
The benefits of using Reddit include:
- Access to a wealth of information: because of the vast number of subreddits available, you can find information on just about any topic you can think of.
- A chance to connect with like-minded people: since there are subreddits for nearly every interest imaginable, you can easily find others who share your interests and connect with them online.
- A way to stay up-to-date on current events: many subreddits, such as r/worldnews, are devoted to discussing current events happening around the world.
- A way to enjoy pop culture online: with its vast selection of funny, interesting, and entertaining content, Reddit can be a great way to spend your time online and connect with others over pop culture interests.
However, some risks are also associated with using Reddit, which parents should be aware of. From inappropriate content to cyberbullying, these risks can have a serious impact on kids.
Reddit Risk 1: Inappropriate Content Thrives on Reddit
One of the biggest dangers of using Reddit is the fact that there is very little moderation of content. This means that users are free to post just about anything they want without fear of being censored or removed.
While this lack of censorship can be a good thing in some respects, it also means that there is a lot of inappropriate content on the site. This includes things like:
– Pornographic images and videos
– Racist, sexist, or otherwise hateful comments or content
– Violent images or videos
– Subreddits devoted to illegal activities, such as drug use or fraud
Because of this, it’s crucial to be aware of the content your kids are viewing on Reddit. While there are some subreddits that are appropriate for kids, such as r/pokemon, there are also many that aren’t.
Even within harmless-seeming subreddits, there is always the possibility of users posting inappropriate content. For this reason, it’s important to monitor your child’s activity on Reddit and make sure they’re only viewing age-appropriate content.
Reddit Risk 2: Cyberbullying can Easily Occur on Reddit
Another danger of using Reddit is the fact that cyberbullying is a common occurrence on the site.
Due to the anonymous nature of Reddit, users can say whatever they want without fear of repercussions. This often leads to users posting hurtful or hateful comments toward others.
In addition, because of the way Reddit is designed, it’s easy for cyberbullies to target specific users by subscribing to the subreddits they post in and then sending them abusive or threatening messages.
This can be especially harmful to kids, who may not know how to deal with cyberbullying.
If your child is being bullied on Reddit, it’s essential to talk to them about it and help them take steps to protect themselves, such as blocking the user or reporting the abuse to Reddit.
Reddit Risk 3: Financial Scams are Common on Reddit
Another danger of using Reddit is the fact that financial scams are common on the site. Because users are anonymous, scammers can easily create fake accounts and posts in order to trick people into giving them money.
These scams often take the form of fake contests or giveaways, promising users a chance to win a valuable prize if they send the scammer money.
While these scams are common on Reddit, they can be easy to spot if you know what to look for. If you’re unsure about a contest or giveaway, you can always do a quick Google search to see if it’s legitimate.
Additionally, you should never give your personal information, such as your credit card number, to anyone you don’t know.
Reddit Risk 4: Catfishing is a Problem on Reddit
Another issue that can be harmful to kids is the fact that catfishing can happen within subreddits on Reddit. Catfishing occurs when someone creates a fake online identity in order to trick people into believing they are someone else.
These fake identities are often used to start relationships with people for romantic purposes or to make friends.
However, these relationships are built on lies and can often end in heartbreak or other emotional damage. If your child is using Reddit, it’s important to talk to them about the dangers of catfishing and make sure they’re only talking to people they know in real life.
While some catfishing can be categorized as cyberbullying or scamming, some parties engage in the act as a way to radicalize or groom others for criminal activity.
The best way to protect your kids from the dangers of Reddit is to monitor their activity on the site. This includes which subreddits they’re subscribed to, what kind of content they’re viewing, and who they’re talking to.
Reddit Risk 5: Dangerous Online Challenges
There has been a rise in the number of dangerous activities – or “challenges” – being undertaken by children and teens as sites such as Reddit and TikTok grow in popularity.
While some of these challenges are innocuous, such as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that went viral a few years ago, others can be much more dangerous.
For example, challenges that seek to have users engage in dangerous behaviors in public or vandalize property can lead to criminal charges.
What Age is Reddit Appropriate For?
Is Reddit safe for 13 year olds and younger? The answer depends on a variety of factors.
Because of the wide appeal of Reddit, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, due to the anonymous nature of the site and the fact that some users post inappropriate content, it’s generally not recommended for kids under the age of 13.
Reddit itself has a minimum age requirement of 13, but this is not strictly enforced.
For kids 13 or older, it’s essential to talk to them about how to use Reddit safely and ensure they’re only viewing age-appropriate content. Additionally, it’s a good idea to set up parental controls on their account so you can monitor their activity.
Is Reddit Safe From Hackers and Privacy?
As a forum website, Reddit has built an internal infrastructure that the company claims is safe from data loss or hacking.
While the site has never experienced a major data breach, interactions between users within subreddits can lead to privacy concerns.
A major risk with Reddit is the lack of age verification or other means of confirming identity. This anonymous nature can lead to people feeling more comfortable sharing personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, or credit card numbers.
Additionally, because Reddit is a forum website, the site is full of user-generated content. This means that there is no way for Reddit to effectively moderate all the content on the site.
While there are some subreddits that are moderated more closely, others have very lax rules, which can lead to offensive or inappropriate content being posted.
Because of these risks, it’s crucial to be aware of the content your child is viewing on Reddit and make sure they’re using the site safely.
Are There Any Reddit Parental Controls Available?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ensure your child is using Reddit safely.
The first step is to create a Reddit account for yourself and subscribe to some of the same subreddits as your child. This will help you stay up-to-date on the content they’re viewing and better understand how the site works.
You can also take advantage of content restrictions within your child’s Reddit account. Follow these steps to access content restrictions:
- Log into your child’s account and click on the “user settings” cog in the top right-hand corner. Locate the “Advanced” setting and navigate into the menu.
- Under “Advanced”, uncheck the options for Content Visibility as well as Active In Communities Visibility. This will help ensure that your child’s identity retains privacy when browsing Reddit content.
- Under “User Privacy”, deselect “Search Engine Indexing.” This will also help keep your child’s search history hidden from algorithms.
- Under “Messaging Privacy,” change the setting under “Who Can Message You” from “Everyone” to “Whitelisted” to ensure that only people you know can message your child on Reddit.
- Finally, under “Feed Settings,” disable “Adult Content” and “Autoplay Media” to help avoid exposing your child to inappropriate content, both unintentional and intentional.
Following these steps can help ensure your child is using Reddit safely and responsibly. While these settings cannot stop all inappropriate content from appearing on the site, they can help reduce your child’s exposure to it.
Tips for Parents to Keep Their Kids Safe on Reddit
As mentioned above, Reddit can be a great resource for kids, but it’s important to ensure they’re using the site safely. Here are some tips for parents to help their children use Reddit safely:
1. Talk to your kids about responsible internet usage and set clear guidelines for their activity on Reddit.
One of the most important things a parent can do is talk to their kids about responsible internet usage. Make sure they understand not to share personal information on Reddit or any other website.
It’s also essential to set clear guidelines for their activity on the site. Decide which subreddits are appropriate for them to browse and ensure they know not to click on any links that could take them to inappropriate content.
2. Subscribe to the same subreddits as your kids and monitor their activity on the site.
As we mentioned above, subscribing to the same subreddits as your kids is a great way to stay up-to-date on their activity on Reddit. You can also use this opportunity to discuss their viewing content and help them find new and interesting things to read and watch.
3. Help your child find fun and exciting subreddits to browse.
One of the great things about Reddit is that there’s something for everyone. Help your child find interesting and appropriate subreddits for them to browse. By getting involved in their activity on the site, you can help ensure they’re using it in a positive way.
4. Use content restrictions to help ensure your child views appropriate content.
Using the restrictions listed above, you can help ensure your child is only viewing appropriate content for their age. Remember that you will still need to monitor their activity on the site, even with these restrictions in place.
5. Report any inappropriate content you see on Reddit.
If you come across any content that you feel is inappropriate, you can report it to the Reddit moderators by clicking on the report button next to the post. This can help moderators remove inappropriate content and keep the site safe for everyone.
Enhance Your Child’s Online Safety on Reddit and Beyond with Kidslox
Reddit can be a fantastic learning resource for kids, but it’s important to make sure they’re using the site safely. Following the tips above, you can help ensure your child uses Reddit responsibly.
Don’t leave the online safety of your children up to chance. At Kidslox, we are committed to helping families browse the web safely – and learn how to manage their device usage in a healthy way.
Our app lets you set content restrictions, limit screen time, and track your child’s online activity across all their devices. With Kidslox, you can have peace of mind knowing that your children are safe online – no matter where they are.
Try Kidslox today and see how we can help you enhance your child’s online safety. You can play a role in their safety, whether they are learning on Reddit or browsing the web – on any device, at any time.