Not a Redditor? Don’t even know what Reddit is? Read on...
Have you spotted your child browsing through what looks like a very complex, text-heavy, over-crowded web page slash forum? There’s a good chance it might have been looking at Reddit.
While your child’s use of and exposure to Reddit is hopefully nothing but positive, there are a few things about the platform that all families should be aware of.
What is Reddit?
In their own words, Reddit strives to be a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website, recently including livestream content through Reddit Public Access Network. Registered members submit content to the site such as links, text posts, images, and videos, which are then voted up or down by other members.
Reddit gives users access to a network of communities based on said user’s interests. Users are encouraged to find communities they’re interested in, follow, contribute and become part of an online community.
The content is user-generated, where Redditors share stories, links, images, videos and popular news stories about every topic imaginable. And the site is very popular and very active! The social news site attracts 243 million active users on a monthly basis. The platform has forum pages that are dedicated to specific topics such as American Football or subject matter that is broad. On the homepage, users can view trending topics, news items, videos and more.
Although the site has many pros and can be very helpful and interesting for users, it’s made some news headlines and had some issues over the last few years for a number of negative reasons.
How Does Reddit Work?
Users can browse the site to look over posts, submitted links or videos. Users can comment, like or dislike a post in the form of votes. For example, if they choose to upvote a link, this will help it move up in the rankings. This public user-to-user activity builds a conversation and creates a thread where others users can join and contribute to the conversation. Posts with the highest number of upvotes will get shown on the homepage or at the top of forums, helping to drive further engagement and popularity.
Is the Site Free?
Reddit is free, but it also features an option to upgrade for annual memberships. Furthermore, you can buy rewards for other users in the form of Reddit Gold which can also be exchanged for a premium membership for one month. With a paid membership, you can turn off ads, personalise the home page and also get a custom made Avatar.
What is Subreddit?
A subreddit is Reddit’s name for a theme or forum. On Reddit, there are around 830,000 different forums. All the topics have an r/ in front of them. You can subscribe to different subreddits which will then appear on the homepage each time you log in.
Is All Reddit Content Appropriate for Young People?
The short answer here is, no, unfortunately. Just like the world wide web at large, we all have access and get exposed to good and bad content, whether we seek it out or not. Reddit typically does a decent job at flagging content with NSFW or NSFL, but it doesn’t restrict users from accessing it. You’ll need to chat with your family about these content labels and activity. Not all age inappropriate content will be flagged NSFW/NSFL, so it’s important to speak with your child about their overall use of the platform and the risks involved.
How Can I Find Out Who My Children are Speaking to on Reddit?
As the site is available for users across the world, you can engage with almost anyone on the site. Most users comment or post anonymously, therefore it is tricky to know who they are communicating with. You’ll see many users don’t have profile images or “names”, opting for random handles and nicknames. Although there is no direct chat function, there are some subreddits that are designed for meetups (eg. there’s a subreddit could be called r/LAMeetUp). If a user subscribes to this subreddit, they can have chat-like conversations and arrange meetups in person and with other users.
The meetup forums can cause concern for parents, as there are obvious risks involved if a child organises to meet up with complete strangers. Discuss this sort of situation and the risks involved as a family, so your family is aligned on how to stay safe on Reddit and online, as well as being aware of predators and sexual groomers.
Are There Ways to Block Young People From Seeing Certain Content?
The concept behind Reddit is to enable users to meet like-minded people with common interests. The platform did implement some controls in 2015 to manage the users who can subscribe to forums with highly explicit content. To access these, the user must be verified using an email address.
The owners are taking steps to remove controversial messages and comments about certain new items. However, it is very rare for site operators to take down anything inappropriate.
Is it Suitable for Young People?
All parents worry about what their child gets up to online and Reddit is a natural worry. Once signed up as a user, there is little you can do to prevent exposure to age-appropriate content or control what your child does/can’t do, so conversation and alignment as a family is encouraged.
Do Redditors Use Specific Abbreviations?
A little bit like texting, Redditors use a variety of abbreviations that have specific meanings on the platform (on top of the acronyms, codes and emojis that are common place in other messaging forums). It’s important that your family is aware of these abbreviations and their uses, so you can understand the context they’re used in and avoid any risky situations.
AMA > Ask Me Anything.
AMAs are events that are held on Reddit that are designed to be interactive sessions to engage with the community and inform users about a particular topic.
DAE > Does Anyone Else?
This tends to be used in comments and is a great way to engage your thoughts on a thread and to interact with other users who share a common opinion on a link. There is a forum known as r/DAE, where many people post their thoughts.
FTFY > Fixed That For You.
People write this when they disagree with another users opinion on the platform.
IIRC > If I Recall Correctly.
This can be said if a user can't fully remember what they previously said on a forum or are trying to remember a particular situation.
ITT > In This Thread.
This specifies what is going on or being said in a thread.
This is usually when users are discussing another user who is reposting content, links or causing issues primarily, for their own personal gain.
A Person who uses Reddit but doesn't engage with threads by commenting or voting on posts.
OC > Original Content.
To show your appreciation of good content which is unique and hasn't been seen before on the site.
OP > Original Poster.
The person who started a thread.
Used on most social media Apps, when an image or video with a funny caption is shared to describe a feeling or situation. NSFW > Now Safe For Work. A note that specifies the link contains explicit content. Not appropriate for the office or under 18s.
NSFL > Not Safe For Life.
A note which indicates the content might cause offence or emotional distress.
When a user has posted something again after it was originally posted. These links are often removed.
TIL > Today I Learnt.
This is how a user indicates they have learnt something through a particular post.
TL;DR > Too Long; Didn't Read.
Sometimes users comment on this to show that the post is too long or sometimes follow by a summary of the content.