I know about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (OK, I don’t use that last one). I’m familiar with other social-media platforms and chat modules, but I don’t know much about Reddit.
And maybe I should.
In this USA TODAY story by Brett Molina, parents can get all the details, but here are my quick take-aways after exploring Reddit:
Reddit can be a rabbit hole
We all know what happens when you watch one video on YouTube, right? It’s like potato chips. You can’t just watch one. Watch a music video of ’80s earworms and within four videos, your Oingo Boingo has gone bonkers and borderline X-rated videos are among the options. Reddit is sort of like that. Be careful what you click is my advice to parents as well as teens.
Subreddits, rules and what’s really concerning
Subtopics called subreddits (usually preceded by an “r/”) are moderated by Reddit users and the range is broad. There are subreddits for everything, even r/birdswitharms as Molina points out. My teen sons would be drawn to that, along with subreddits like funny, videos, gifs, jokes and mildlyinteresting.
Rules and guidelines for each subreddit vary because moderators are in charge.
I quickly discovered that, like Facebook, Reddit is rife with anonymous comments. Perhaps most concerning, however, is that anyone can message your child if they’re on Reddit.
What parents can and should do
Add trusted users by username so only people you and your kid trusts can send messages to them.
Subscribe to subreddits. If your kid is into Reddit or wants to be, do this together so you know why they want to visit Reddit. Talking through this process will help you know what your kid is into while customizing their experience when they visit. Help your kid not fall down that rabbit hole.
Check preferences. Under “preferences,” select “content options,” and look for two boxes. One says “I am over eighteen years old and willing to view adult content,” which is unchecked by default. The other option just below that is a box that is checked by default to label posts that are not safe for work (NSFW). Change anything? Remember to click the Save Options box. If you don’t see the word preferences, look for and click on the wrench in the upper right-hand corner.
Know your Reddiquette: It’s an informal set of rules for using Reddit. It took me awhile to find because I fell down the rabbit hole mentioned above. The help menu isn’t at the top on Reddit; rather, the bottom. Scroll down and look under Help. Or click here for a quick look. I loved a lot of what I found, particularly the first two items listed under “Please do.” Some comments on Reddit clearly getting this wrong, but the aim is in the right direction and this parent appreciates that along with the reminder to come back and read it again every once in awhile because it changes.
Log in. None of this is going to work without logging in, so do that first — always. Tracking happens that way, too. You want to know what your kid is reading.
I’m already a fan of Today I Learned and AskReddit. And I’m already shaking my head at the cussing. It sticks out like a sore thumb and is unnecessary. But I think Reddit could be fun.