Reddit is a social news site where users can post about their interests and join communities with similar interests to their own. The Reddit platform is like a forum of ideas, where users are encouraged to create and share their own content, as well as reacting, rewarding and voting on the content made by others. The posts that receive the most liked votes become more popular on the app. The ‘Subreddit’ communities available to follow are vast and are aimed at helping users to find like-minded individuals on the platform. However, there is also content that is only suitable for adults, with a NSFW (not safe for work) disclaimer attached to these posts. The Reddit app and website are extremely popular with approximately 1.5 billion active users. The app is available on iOS and Android. 

The minimum age rating for Reddit users is 13, however, the app does not have any vigorous age verification methods.

It has been given an age rating of 17+ on the Apple App Store and ‘Mature 17+’ on the Google Play Store.

Find out more about age ratings in our ‘A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games’.

Reddit appeals to young people since the app automatically finds users a community for them to join based on the interests they enter when they first download the app. This makes users feel instantly welcome, as they are able to connect with like-minded people. By joining ‘Subreddits’ that they are interested in, users are provided with a personalised feed. As an online forum, users are given the opportunity to vote on posts to say if they liked them or not and comment on what they thought.  Reddit often appeals to young people as it a very different form of social media.

  • This is a form of community on the platform centred around a specific topic.

  • This is the content that users share on the platform. Posts can be text, images, videos, polls, audio and links. There is also the option for posting live content.

  • This is the main page that features posts from the different communities they follow.

  • A browsing page which features popular posts from all over Reddit. Posts can be sorted by category, including ‘Hot’, ‘New’, ‘Top’, ‘Controversial’ and ‘Rising’.

  • These are filters that can be applied to sort what appears on the home page.

  • This means ‘Not safe for work’ so users know which content should be viewed in private. Content labelled as NSFW is not suitable for users under 18.

  • Where users can leave a comment on the posts they see.

  • This function allows users to chat privately.

  • Where users can receive updates on communities and any messages they’ve received.

  • Live audio conversations between users.

  • This is a paid-for subscription service which allows users to use the app ad free.   

  • Users can purchase these to award to posts and comments.

  • In-app points that are earnt each time you post content or comments.

  • If a user really rates a post or comment, they can award the original poster (OP) for their content. There are bronze, silver and gold awards that can be purchased using real currency.

  • Users can cast votes about the content they see. Users can vote ‘Up’ if they liked a post and ‘Down’ if they did not.

  • This allows users to stop receiving notifications or suggestions for other communities based on their preferences. This can help to limit exposure to some subreddits with potentially harmful content.

Reddit is a social media platform where users can choose the type of content they wish to follow based on themes, known as ‘Subreddits’. When users first download the app, they are asked to select which ‘Subreddits’ they are interested in, which then forms the basis of a user’s ‘Front Page’. There are a wide variety of communities available on the platform, ranging from hobbies and interests to political ideals and agendas. There are also communities specifically for teen users on the platform, which feature content and discussions relevant to them. Users need to choose the communities they follow carefully, ensuring they have balance in the content they are exposed to. By only following ‘Subreddits’ for a particular agenda, users are potentially at risk of being exposed to information “in a vacuum”, meaning they are not viewing a topic from all angles and perspectives, which can distort their way of thinking. Talk to your child about misinformation and online hate and encourage  them to review the ‘Subreddits’ they have chosen frequently, asking them to think critically about the balance of arguments they are viewing.

Whilst a lot of content on the platform is suitable for all users, there is some that is not suitable for younger users. Content with the ‘NSFW’ tag is not suitable for users under the age of 18. There is adult content on Reddit. Before viewing it, users are asked to confirm their age before getting access. However, there are no rigorous age verification methods in place to ensure users are over 18. Remind your child to speak to you if they have been exposed to content that they find upsetting.

There are risks of contact with strangers on Reddit. Since users choose to follow different communities on the platform, they are automatically grouped together with other users who have the same interests. This shared interest can make it easier for strangers to connect with and form relationships with other users on the platform, through the comments and chat functions on Reddit. As with other platforms, predators may use children and young people’s vulnerability on these platforms to give them praise and establish a connection to leverage private messaging on this platform, or others. Speak to your child about the risks of connecting with strangers and explain the importance of not sharing any personal or identifiable information on their profile or within chats. Remind them to tell you if they have been asked more personal questions or have been made to feel uncomfortable. For younger users, it is worth finding out what ‘Subreddits’ they are part of on the platform and become familiar with the type of interactions your child is having on the platform.

Like many other social media platforms, a key behaviour risk on Reddit is that users’ opinions and views can potentially reach a large audience. This poses a risk in two ways for some users: a risk of what they choose to post, and a risk in how they choose to engage with the posts of others. Have a conversation with your child to help them understand what is and is not appropriate for them to post online. It is also important to talk with you child about how they react to other posts on the platform. Ensure your child understands the impact that negative comments can have on the original poster and talk to them about not sharing or reacting to posts which may be intentionally hateful. It is important that your child understands that sharing a post provides a bigger audience for that post. Reddit relies on its users flagging content that may go against the content guidelines, so remind your child to use the ‘Report’ function if they encounter content or behaviour that is inappropriate.

If your child is posting on Reddit, it is important for you and them to be aware of what they post and the impact this will have on their digital footprint. Have a conversation with them to help them understand what is and is not appropriate for them to share. Ensure your child knows it can be difficult to keep ownership of any content once it has been shared online, as content can easily be copied and reposted without their knowledge and can then become difficult to remove from the internet.

There are a range of functions available on Reddit to encourage engagement with the platform, which can result in extended periods of time scrolling through a continuous feed of content. Features such as the ‘Awards’ and ‘Vote’ functions encourage users to react to and reward content that they think is good, and ‘Vote down’ content that they think is bad. There is also the option to purchase ‘Reddit coins’ which can be used on the platform to buy awards or reward other users for their posts. All of these design features are ways of keeping users on the platform for longer. Speak to your child about how social media platforms have been designed and work with them to set boundaries on their Reddit use. Explore the notification settings to help manage some time away from the app.

  • Accounts cannot be made private on Reddit.

  • There are a few settings on Reddit to help users manage interactions and content.

    To disable NSFW (not safe for work) content (iOS):

    • Go to your device main settings menu and scroll to ‘Reddit’.
    • Toggle off the option for ‘NSFW content’.
    • Toggle on the ‘Blur NSFW images’ option.
    • Note: for Android and web versions, the NSFW option can be managed within the app settings menu.

    To manage chat and messaging permissions:

    • Within in the app, go to your profile and select ‘Settings’.
    • Select your account name under ‘Account settings’.
    • Scroll to ‘Blocking and permissions’ and select ‘Chat and messaging permissions’.
    • Set ‘Chat requests’ from the listed options:
      • Everyone
      • Accounts older than 30 days
      • Nobody
    • Set ‘Direct messages’ from the listed options:
      • Everyone
      • Nobody

    To leave a community:

    • Within the app, find the community you wish to leave.
    • Select the three dots at the top of the screen and choose ‘Leave’.

    To keep your account out of Google search results:

    • Within in the app, go to your profile and select ‘Settings’.
    • Select your account name under ‘Account settings’.
    • Scroll down to ‘Personalised recommendations’ and toggle off the ‘Show up in search results’ option.

    To manage content:

    • Within in the app, go to your profile and select ‘Settings’.
    • Select your account name under ‘Account settings’.
    • Scroll down to ‘Personalised recommendations’ and work through the list, toggling on and off the options as appropriate.

    To mute a community:

    • Go to the post from the community you wish to mute.
    • Select the three dots icon and select ‘Mute [community name]’
    • Note: you can also mute community recommendations in the same way, by selecting ‘Show fewer posts like this.’
  • Users can report and block other users who may be bothering them or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To block a user:

    • Find the user profile you wish to report.
    • Select the ‘Block’ icon at the top of their profile.
    • Confirm by pressing ‘Block’.
    • Note: you can also block a user on your feed. Find a post that they have posted and select the three dots icon and choose ‘Block user.’

    To report a post and user:

    • Find the post you wish to report and select the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the post.
    • Select ‘Report’ and choose the reason you wish to report.
    • Select a reason why you wish to report.
    • Choose ‘Submit’ to complete.
  • Users can manage their notification options and online status within the app to help manage time on the platform. In-app purchases can be disabled on the device itself.

    To manage notifications:

    • Within the app, go to your profile and select ‘Settings’.
    • Choose ‘Account settings’ and select ‘Manage notifications’.
    • Work through the extensive list of notification options, using the toggle option to deselect notifications you do not want to receive.

    To manage online status (so that other users cannot see when you are online):

    • Within the app, go to your profile.
    • Your ‘Online status’ is found under your username.
    • Set your status to ‘Off’.

    To disable in-app purchases on iOS:

    • Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Screen time’ and scroll down to ‘Content and privacy restrictions’.
    • Select ‘iTunes and app store purchases’ and set the option to ‘Don’t allow’.

    To disable in-app purchases on Android:

    • Go to your ‘Google Play Store’ app.
    • Select ‘Menu’ > ‘Settings’ > ‘Require authentication for purchases’.

Remind your child that if they have chosen to follow ‘Subreddits’ with a political or ideological interest, that they take the time to become familiar with opposing viewpoints. Being exposed to continuous content from only one viewpoint can have an impact on a person’s way of thinking.