Is Reddit Safe for Kids?

By Andrea Nelson
April 25, 2024
Teen boy leaning back at desk with hands behind head looking at Reddit

To say Reddit is huge is an understatement. Just about any Google search these days is bound to turn up at least one hit from the site. Last year alone, Reddit had 850 million monthly active users, putting it ahead of Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. But is Reddit safe for kids? If your child wants to browse this popular platform, read on to hear our take. 

What is Reddit?

Reddit’s slogan is “Dive into anything,” and that certainly holds true. It’s an enormous social network made up of smaller communities centered around various interests, hobbies, and passions. These smaller communities are known as subreddits, and the range of topics they cover is truly mind-boggling, such as movies, vintage recipes, and relationship advice.

Users have a front page, which features posts from all the subreddits they follow. They can also browse r/all, which displays popular posts from different subreddits. 

What are Reddit’s age restrictions?

The age minimum for creating a Reddit account is 13. However, the signup process doesn’t require any proof of age. In addition, while an account is needed to post, comment, or vote, a person can read posts without an account. 

Is Reddit moderated? 

Reddit does have content guidelines which apply to the site as a whole. In addition, each subreddit has its own rules. These rules and guidelines are enforced by volunteer moderators, as well as admins employed by Reddit. 

This level of moderation does help, but the sheer volume of posts means things inevitably slip through the cracks. Additionally, moderators are only looking for people who violate the guidelines, not if something is unsuitable for children. 

Is Reddit safe for kids? 

The answer to this is a hard no. Let’s break down why we feel so strongly that Reddit isn’t safe for kids:

  • Problematic content. Because of the wide variety of subreddits and lack of safeguards, children can stumble upon just about anything on the site. Adult-only subreddits, extremist and violent content, and subreddits promoting hate, like misogyny and fat-shaming, are just a handful of the problematic things your child can easily come across on the site. While some subreddits are age-restricted, it’s easy to sidestep the minimum age restrictions when a child creates their account.
  • Harassment. Unlike other social media sites where your child can create a private account and curate who they’re friends with, Reddit is open to anyone. That means users can harass your child in the comments section and in their inbox.
  • Dangerous trends. There have been a number of Reddit controversies in recent years surrounding dangerous internet trends. One is doxxing, or publicly sharing someone’s personal information. In recent years, Reddit has prohibited doxxing, and users who violate this policy are banned from the site. But there are still reports of it still happening, and once the information is out there, much of the damage has been done, even if the perpetrator is subsequently banned.  
  • Direct messaging. Flimsy age restrictions, the lack of parental controls, and questionable communities make direct messaging especially problematic on Reddit. It’s possible to block people and prevent strangers from messaging your child, but it’s not the default setting for minors.
  • Lackluster privacy and security settings. While Reddit does have some privacy and security settings available for users, like keeping their account out of Google search results, the options overall leave something to be desired. 
  • No parental controls. Reddit has no parental controls. As in, zero. This makes them an outlier among social media sites and provides parents with few options for safeguarding their children. 

The bottom line  

Even though Reddit’s minimum age is 13, that doesn’t mean your child should use it. Due to the lack of parental controls and the high likelihood of being exposed to problematic communities and troubling content, Reddit is not safe for kids.

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