Is Reddit safe?
A complete app review for parents.
What is the Reddit app?
Apple App Store Description about Reddit: “With over 100K active communities, on Reddit you can laugh, think, discuss and dig deep into topics that matter to you. Reddit is free and open for everyone to post, share, vote and discuss. Reddit is powered by people. Your communities upvote and downvote posts to highlight the most interesting and relevant content. On Reddit, your privacy and opinions matter. You can share your passion for your favorite books, movies, video games, sports, TV shows, music and technology with millions of people who share your interests.”
Reddit is a top 20 website IN THE WORLD. If you’re a parent, you need to know at least some basics.
APP Store rating: 17+ (medical information, sexual content and nudity, cartoon/fantasy violence, realistic Violence, profanity or crude humor, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use or references, mature themes, horror/fear themes)
What do parents need to know about Reddit?
Reddit is one of the top 20 websites IN THE WORLD. Every parent should know at least some basics. The app came long after the website.
Reddit is available to anyone and everyone. There is also no age minimum to sign up for an account on the app. Signing up for an account is necessary if you want to:
- Save the different communities/discussions/posts you are interested in, and
- Comment and post within communities or subreddits.
All you need to sign up is an email (could be real or fake), user name, and password.
On Reddit, almost anything goes. Reddit is known for allowing almost any type of post and discussion within its subreddits. This is taken directly from there content policy:
While Reddit generally provides a lot of leeway in what content is acceptable, here are some guidelines for content that is not. Please keep in mind the spirit in which these were written, and know that looking for loopholes is a waste of time.
Content is prohibited if it:
- Is illegal
- Is involuntary pornography (there’s plenty of voluntary porn)
- Is sexual or suggestive content involving minors
- Encourages or incites violence
- Threatens, harasses, or bullies or encourages others to do so
- Is personal and confidential information
- Impersonates someone in a misleading or deceptive manner
- Uses Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services
- Is spam
While browsing through Reddit, you will find everything from discussions about movies, TV, sports teams, etc. to complaining about in-laws to asking for relationship advice. There is vulgar language and explicit descriptions – these are unavoidable. Even some of the subreddits have vulgar language in the title. Subreddits that are not safe for work (NSFW) or not safe for life (NSFL) must be marked as such in the title.
FYI: all topics and subreddits start with “r/” — for example r/Fitness is a topic and r/FitLifeVideos is a subreddit within that topic. Users can then post within that subreddit and user names are prefaced by “u/” — for example user PYE2015 would have the user name u/pye2015.
Reddit content can now be shared directly to Snapchat! Reddit users on iOS can share content to their Snapchat account. This is the first instance of Snapchat allowing user-generated content from another platform to be shown in Snapchat. This is significant! Users can share text, link and image-based posts on iOS from Reddit’s “Safe for Work” communities.
Reddit only has minimal parental controls on iOS and none on Android. On iOS, you can toggle off the ability to view NSFW content, but the toggle can’t be locked. See the iOS screen shots below. On Android, there’s no toggle.
If a parent wants to allow their child to use Reddit, but isn’t wild about all of the explicit content, you have a couple options:
- On both iOS and Android, just use the Reddit app without logging in. You can browse subreddits, but NSFW content will be blocked by default.
- On iOS, if they want to log in so that they can interact with subreddit content, just make sure they leave the NSFW toggle in Settings off (per the image above).
- On both iOS and Android, use Bark to monitor Reddit activity for anything concerning.
If a parent wants to make sure their child doesn’t have access to Reddit:
- Add www.reddit.com to a list of blocked websites on the smartphone. For iOS, this is done in Screen Time. On Android, this is done through Family Link.
- Remove the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android) so that the app cannot be downloaded (related blog post: 3 Reasons for Removing the App Store).
- Use CleanBrowsing’s Family DNS, which automatically blocks access to Reddit. Learn how to change a smartphone’s DNS with this post: How to Block Porn on Any Device. For Free.
Reddit Premium. Reddit has a currency (Coins) that users can use to award posts and comments. Prices range from $1.99 to $99.99. For $6.99/month, you can get Reddit Premium, which offers an ad-free experience, 700 coins each month, and access to the exclusive r/lounge community.
There’s an in-app browser. Users can choose whether to have links open up within the app, in Safari, or within the app on Safari. Just something for parents to be aware of if they’ve removed Safari (as an example) because Reddit will still provide non-Safari search capabilities.
Reddit uses Personalization Preferences. Within the App’s Settings, there is a Personalization Preferences section that clearly states that Reddit personalizes content and advertisements based on your use of Reddit, info from third-party sites that integrate Reddit, and advertisers. But then it also explains that you can change your preferences and what those changes will mean.
The bottom line – is Reddit safe for your kids?
There is so much content on Reddit that would be fine for a kid to read, but there is also way too much explicit and questionable content that a kid would have to wade through to get to that acceptable content.
If the parent/guardian found something that the kid would be interested in and browsed that specific subreddit with their child, then this would be a great compromise! Otherwise, keep in mind that the App Store gives the app a 17+ age rating for a reason.
Now What? Have you Heard of Bark?
Are you interested in having greater insight into Reddit and social media platforms that your kids are using? Bark is one of the best monitoring platforms we’ve tested. If your kid is using social media, then they need Bark. We trust them and we think you should, too!
*There may be affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!