Keeping your child safe online can seem like a minefield, especially if you’re not familiar with all the latest social media platforms. That’s why we’re writing a series of informative articles about Reddit.
Read on to discover what young people can find on Reddit and how to set up Reddit parental controls.
What is Reddit?
Reddit is a popular social platform where people can share and create content about whatever they’re interested in. Each topic is known as a subreddit, and posts about the topic can be ‘upvoted’ or ‘downvoted’ by users, depending on whether they like it. If a post gets upvotes it moves up the Reddit rankings and more people can see it. If it receives downvotes it gets relegated and eventually disappears.
Is Reddit safe?
For many young people, Reddit is a positive experience. It’s somewhere they can find communities of likeminded teens to discuss their passions and interests. It’s also a space to seek support and advice in subreddits such as r/lgbtqteens for young people who are parts of the LGBTQ+ community or r/Anxiety for those experiencing emotional problems.
However, as with all social media platforms, some posts on Reddit are only suitable for people aged 18+. Adult content is marked on Reddit as NSFW. This abbreviation is internet slang for ‘Not Safe For Work’ and is often used to describe posts associated with sex, nudity and pornography. The potential risks of Reddit NSFW make some parents wonder whether the platform is safe and what they can do to protect their child.
How to set up Reddit parental controls: step-by-step instructions
Here are 10 steps you can take to help protect your child on Reddit:
- Go to reddit.com – your child will need to log into their account.
- Click on your child’s username in the top-right corner of the screen.
- Choose ‘User Settings’ on the dropdown menu.
- Click on ‘Profile’. Then scroll down to the ‘Advanced’ section and disable the toggles next to ‘Content visibility’ and ‘Active in communities visibility’. Click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the screen. This will help keep your child more anonymous on the platform.
- Scroll back up and click on ‘Privacy & Security’.
- In the top section called ‘User Privacy’, disable the toggle next to ‘Search engine indexing’. This keeps your child’s profile out of search engine results.
- Scroll down to the ‘Messaging Privacy’ section. Click on the dropdown next to ‘Who can message you’ and change it from ‘Everyone’ to ‘Whitelisted’.
- Now you can add users who can message your child’s Reddit account. Please note that moderators and administrators of subreddits your child follows will still be able to send them private messages. This is why it’s important to decide which subreddits your child can follow. and which you should disallow. See our How to block subreddits on Reddit article for more information. Then, click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the screen.
- Scroll back up and click on ‘Feed settings’.
- At the top of the list is ‘Content preferences’. Check that ‘Adult content’ is disabled – it should be by default if your child is under 18. Below the ‘Adult content’ setting is ‘Autoplay media’ which, when disabled, will stop videos and gifs from playing automatically. Click ‘Save’ at the bottom of the screen.
You should check these Reddit parental controls are in place on a regular basis. You can also block specific users on Reddit from following or interacting with your child.
Other ways to help your child stay safe on Reddit
As well as setting up Reddit parental controls, there are other things you can do to keep your child safe on the platform:
Explore Reddit on your own
Set up a Reddit account and spend time exploring the platform to understand the potential risks for your child. Familiarizing yourself with Reddit will better inform conversations and discussions with your teen – see the next point.
Keep lines of communication open
Talk to your child about the communities they visit on Reddit. Have regular conversations about what type of content they post and what is happening in their communities. If you show interest in their online world and keep the lines of communication open, they are more likely to come to you with any worries and concerns.
Encourage other hobbies and interests
To help your child balance their Reddit usage with other hobbies and activities, find out why they are drawn to the platform. If you understand what needs your child is trying to fulfill – relaxation, escapism, socializing, learning about new topics – it will be easier to help them find other interests to meet those needs. See our hobby tool.
Set and monitor screen time limits
Our screen time guidelines will help you manage screen time use in your family. To encourage healthy digital habits, it’s important to set and monitor screen time limits so that Reddit and other social media platforms don’t start to take over your child’s life.
Introduce other parental controls
Look at other ways of keeping your child safe online. As well as setting up Reddit parental controls, broadband, browsers, and app stores also have parental controls to help protect your child from cyberbullying, harmful content and online predators.
Does your child have an unhealthy relationship with Reddit?
You may have other concerns about your child’s Reddit usage beyond their potential exposure to inappropriate content and cyberbullying. Some young people become obsessed with the platform to the point that it starts to take over their lives. School work, relationships and their physical and mental health can suffer as a result and Reddit can even become an addiction.
Sometimes, this happens to young gamers who become increasingly reliant on Reddit. The platform forms part of their gaming experience as they share and comment on video game subreddits with other gamers and increasingly waste their time on Reddit.
If your child has an unhealthy relationship with gaming and Reddit, we have support and resources available at Game Quitters. You can also delete your Reddit account to create a strong boundary for your child.
You can also book a free Gameplan call with us to discuss their situation – limited spaces are available.