Wattpad is a free social-storytelling app which enables users to connect with and read content by writers from around the world, as well as creating and sharing their own original stories.  With over 90 million users, it is a popular platform with those who enjoy reading and writing, especially teens and young adults. The easy audience reach that the platform provides makes it a compelling platform for aspiring writers to share their content for free to gain a following. Popular stories published on Wattpad, such as ‘The Kissing Booth’ and ‘After’ have gone on to become published works and adapted for film and television series.

The minimum age rating for Wattpad 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 ‘Parental guidance’ 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’.

Wattpad appeals to young people due to the range of content it offers and the connectivity it provides. Readers can choose from over 20 different genres and engage with the authors and other users via comments and messages. Young aspiring writers are also drawn to the platform as it allows them to share content with a large audience for free and without expectation. Writers can upload small sections of their work at a time, which allows them to reflect on the feedback they receive before writing more. The different genres offered on the platform also mean that young readers and writers can find a community with similar interests to them. Some young writers have found success through the platform, going on to have their work published in print, which can be inspiring for other aspirational writers. The platform is also known for its ‘Fan faction’, where amateur writers create fictional texts featuring characters from popular culture.

  • This is a list of stories that users have read or would like to read. This list is publicly displayed on a user profile and can be used to make connections between users on the platform.

  • A collection of books or stories a user has read or is currently reading.

  • A paid-for service users can purchase to unlock certain books and stories, features and read ad-free.

  • Users can use this feature to earn money from the content they post on the platform. Users can donate ‘Coins’ to support their favourite books and writers.

  • This is the in-app currency on Wattpad, which users can gift to writers for stories they like. ‘Coins’ must be purchased using real money.

  • Where users can comment on paragraphs and sections of the book or story.

  • Where users can follow other users to keep up with their content.

  • For users to show their support to the writer.

  • Where users can share their stories or other users’ stories on different platforms, such as Facebook.

  • Where the story can be read out to users.

  • A feature for finding more specific stories.

  • Users can send messages to other users privately.

  • Similar to hashtags, this categorises content on the platform and allows users to search the tags to find the type of content they are interested in. Creators are responsible for adding the appropriate tags to their content.

  • This refers to a category of stories which contain erotic, romantic and relationship stories and usually contain a sexual narrative and inappropriate language.

  • Amateur fictional writing created by fans based on existing works of fiction or popular culture.

  • These serve as extensions to the story in the form of prequels, sequels, alternative endings or whatever the writer wishes them to be. These can be accessed via a paid subscription to a writer.

  • Wattpad is testing ‘Writer subscriptions’ on the platform. This allows users to subscribe to certain writer’s accounts to get unlimited and exclusive access to all the extras on the writer’s stories for a fixed fee each month.

With so much user-generated content available on Wattpad, it is possible that your child will stumble across inappropriate content. This could be through the stories themselves, but also through inappropriate profile names, book or story titles and user comments. Writers on the platform are required to label and ‘tag’ their stories, to help readers find stories they would be interested in.  Enabling the content filters may help to reduce the frequency of being exposed to harmful content (full instructions on how to do this can be found in the ‘Managing interactions and content’ section of this guide). However, content filters should not be solely relied upon as a safeguarding measure, especially as some creators mis-label their content, meaning inappropriate stories could be found in other genres or searches.

Wattpad is known for its ‘Fanfiction’, where amateur writers produce stories based on existing works of fiction or their favourite characters from popular culture. These stories are crafted for the readers to live-out their fantasies and often contain a highly sexual narrative and sometimes graphic violence and sensitive subjects, such as self-harm.

There is also a ‘New adult’ genre on the platform, which features erotic fiction, containing sexual themes and profane language. When adult chapters appear, there is usually a disclaimer warning of the topics included. However, users can simply by-pass this warning to access the story. It is recommended that you use the app with your child to ensure they are searching for stories that are suitable for their age and stage of development. Users can enable ‘Blocked tags’ to try and limit their exposure to certain categories however, as mentioned previously, this should not be solely relied upon as a safeguarding measure as some creators mis-label their content, meaning inappropriate stories could slip through this filter.

Whilst Wattpad differs from other popular social media apps, it is still a social network, where over 90 million users come together to share, chat and engage. Whilst users can make public comments on the stories they have read, they can also talk privately using the ‘Messages’ feature, which cannot be disabled or made private. This could expose your child to private conversations with people they do not know. Speak to your child about the risks of connecting with strangers and explain the importance of not sharing any personal or identifiable information within chats. Remind users to tell you if they have been asked personal questions and to report anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.  

As with any form of social media, users need to be aware of how they behave and treat others on the platform. Wattpad has a ‘Code of conduct’ that all users must adhere to when using the platform. Whilst the connectivity on the platform differs from other forms of social media, users can still be exposed to unkind comments or reactions via the ‘Comment’ or ‘Message’ functions.  The online environment can generally reduce the empathy of face-to-face interaction and expose young people to a world in which reactions, votes and unpleasant comments can be made rapidly without those posting reflecting on their impact. It is important to talk to your child about how they behave towards others online and how they react and respond to content. Encourage them to think about how a comment or post would make them feel if they were on the receiving end of it.

If your child is writing their own content on the platform, 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.

Wattpad differs from many other social media platforms in that it encourages users to spend time reading and writing extended pieces of writing, rather than short, fragmented pieces of text or photos or videos. Whilst this form of reading may be encouraged by some parents, users should still be aware of how much time they spend on the platform and the connectivity it allows. Talk to your child about the risks of spending too much time online and encourage them to take time out.  The notification settings can be used to help manage time on the platform and full instructions on how to disable notifications can be found in the ‘Manage time and purchases’ section of this guide.

Wattpad has its own in-app currency known as ‘Coins’ which users can earn, purchase and use within the app.  Users can earn ‘Coins’ through watching video adverts, buy them via Google or Apple accounts and then use their ‘Coins’ on Wattpad to unlock ‘Paid stories’. Speak to your child about in-app purchases to affirm their understanding that real money is used to make purchases within the app. You can also set the relevant in-app purchase settings on your device (instructions can be found in the ‘Managing time and purchases’ section of this guide.)

Wattpad has a paid upgrade option called ‘Premium’, which allows users to unlock new books and use the platform free of adverts. The homepage has a prominent ‘Try Premium’ option which encourages users to upgrade. Wattpad is also testing ‘Writer subscriptions’ for a set fee each month. This may be compelling for keen users who want to unlock more books. Remind your child that upgrades and subscriptions are just another way to try and keep users on the platform and make money.

  • There are no specific settings to make an account private. However, there are some settings to help manage privacy.

    To disable ‘display name’:

    • Go to your profile and select the settings icon.
    • Choose ‘Edit profile’ and scroll to ‘Show display name’.
    • Toggle off this option.

    To remove your location:

    • Go to your profile and select the settings icon.
    • Choose ‘Edit profile’ and scroll to ‘Location’.
    • Delete your location and then press ‘Save’.
  • There are a few options available to help manage interactions and content on the platform. Content filters and managing ‘Tags’ can help to limit the inappropriate content your child may be exposed to.

    To enable ‘Blocked tags’:

    • On the homepage, select the icon next to your profile at the top.
    • Select ‘Blocked tags’ and list any content tags that you would like to block.

    To disable mature content:

    • On the home page, select the icon next to your profile at the top.
    • Toggle off the ‘Include mature’ option.  
  • Users can report and block other users who may be bothering them or behaving inappropriately on the platform.

    To report a story:

    • Find the story you wish to report and select the flag at the top.
    • Choose the reason you wish to report the story from the given options:
      • Inappropriate content
      • Copyright infringement
    • This will open some further options to choose from, where you can add additional comments to support your report.
    • Select ‘Report’ to complete.

    To report a user:

    • Find the user you wish to report and select the 3-dots icon.
    • Select ‘Report’.
    • Give your reason for why you wish to report this user, adding additional comments to support your report.
    • Select ‘Report’ to complete.

    To mute a user:

    • Find the user you wish to report and select the 3-dots icon.
    • Select ‘Report’.
    • Then select ‘mute username’
  • Wattpad has an option to help manage notifications, or you can do this from the device settings. There are no in-app settings for managing purchases, but this can be controlled from the device.

    To manage notifications:

    • Go to your profile and select the settings icon.
    • Choose ‘Push notifications’ and deselect the relevant options.

    To turn off notifications on iOS:

    • Go to phone settings and scroll to ‘Notifications’.
    • Find Wattpad and toggle off the ‘Notifications’ option.

    To turn off notifications on Android:

    • Go to phone settings and scroll to ‘Notifications’.
    • Deselect Wattpad from the notification options.

    To disable in-app purchases on iOS:

    • Go to phone settings > ‘Screen time’ and scroll down to ‘Content and privacy restrictions’.
    • Select ‘iTunes & 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’.

Wattpad has a designated Safety Portal to help support users, including parents and guardians, to stay safe on the platform.