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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Is Reddit Safe to Use? What Parents and Kids Need to Know

Husain Parvez Fact-checked by Ryan Jones Cybersecurity Researcher

Reddit has become the go-to place for discussions, knowledge sharing, and community building. With many topics covered, Reddit attracts a diverse user base, including curious teenagers and younger children.

However, like many online platforms, Reddit has its share of inappropriate content for young audiences. In this guide, we'll explore Reddit inside and out — what's age-appropriate, how parents can keep things safe, and the pros and cons for younger users.

Pro Tip: It's crucial to safeguard your children's internet connection, not just during general browsing but also while they're using Reddit. An unprotected connection could expose them to hackers and data snoops. A trustworthy VPN such as ExpressVPN encrypts your child’s internet connection, keeping their sensitive information outside the reach of cybercriminals.

Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

What Is Reddit and How Does It Work?

Reddit, often dubbed the “Front Page of the Internet,” is a social media platform where users can discuss multiple topics. With over 50 million daily users (21% of which are teens under 20, according to Reddit statistics) and over 130,000 active communities known as subreddits, the site thrives on user interaction.

A screenshot of the Reddit main pageUsers can upvote or downvote posts to determine their visibility

Its interface provides a range of functionalities, including:

  • User interaction. You can share text posts, images, and links and leave a comment on other posts.
  • Community engagement. Reddit lets you join communities known as subreddits based on your interests, ranging from academic subjects to hobbies. Some of the most popular communities focus on topics like cryptocurrency and NFTs. If you're browsing without a specific topic in mind, you can explore r/All, ​​which features popular posts from a wide range of subreddits throughout Reddit.
  • Karma system. Redditors can earn points called karma from upvotes on their posts and comments, fostering a sense of community engagement.

What Age Is Reddit Appropriate For?

Reddit’s official age requirement is 13 and older. However, parents need to know that Reddit doesn't have a solid age verification system, which means even younger kids can easily get onto the site. Keep in mind Reddit has material that may not be appropriate for children, so it’s not recommended to let children under 13 access the site.

 Screenshot of Reddit's age verification popupI wish Reddit had a more stringent age-verification process

While many popular online platforms have developed specialized versions for younger users, including Messenger Kids, YouTube Kids, and Spotify Kids, Reddit is unfortunately yet to introduce a child-focused version of the service.

Is Reddit Safe For Kids and Teens?

While Reddit's open environment definitely offers some educational value to minors, it also carries the risk of them encountering unsuitable content. Like many social media services that run on user-generated content, the platform can and does contain explicit material, false information, and, occasionally, predatory behaviors.

Screenshot of Reddit's search interfaceAs age restrictions can easily circumvented, children can search for inappropriate content

Due to this, I’d say Reddit is generally unsafe for kids and teens — unless you take measures to filter out explicit content and oversee their activity. Thankfully, there are several ways of achieving this, which we’ll cover in detail further into the article.

The Dangers and Risks of Reddit

Unlike other social media platforms (for example, Instagram or Snapchat), Reddit doesn’t permit users to disclose their real names or show their faces. Instead, each Reddit user must select a unique username from a set of choices and pick an avatar.

This layer of anonymity can sometimes lead users to engage in behaviors that could be harmful to others, as they might feel less accountable for their actions compared to platforms where their real identity is visible. A few examples of potentially harmful behaviors that young users may encounter on Reddit include:

  1. Hate groups. Reddit has faced significant controversies due to subreddits that promote hate, which may include content dedicated to body-shaming, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and racism. While Reddit's content policy explicitly bans communities and individuals that advocate hatred or violence based on identity or vulnerability, some of these groups manage to persist.
  2. Doxxing. Reddit faced backlash in 2013 after the Boston Marathon bombing, when users misidentified and wrongfully accused several individuals of the attack. Some of these users were doxxed, meaning their personal information was posted online, allowing them to be targeted with harassment and threats outside the Reddit platform. Some even ended up the subject of police investigation.
  3. Pornographic content. Contrary to platforms like 4chan, where adult communities may be more visible, on Reddit these groups aren't typically showcased on the front page. That being said, there's still plenty of sexual content available — users just need to actively search for it. Locating such content isn’t particularly challenging, and children could easily end up coming across it.

    Screenshot of Reddit's NSFW contentWhile you can’t specifically look up porn, it does pop up in NSFW posts

  4. Graphic content. In the publicly accessible subreddit "morbid reality," users can find content such as photos and videos of severe attacks and shootings, as well as transcripts detailing instances of torture and rape. This is just one example of many communities dealing with such dark topics.
  5. Cyber threats. Reddit users are at risk of encountering cybersecurity threats like phishing attacks. These attacks often involve deceptive posts or messages that lead users to fraudulent websites, tricking them into sharing sensitive information or infecting their device with malware.

To sum up, this is a list of the most common dangers that you can find on Reddit:

  • Exposure to explicit, violent, toxic, or misleading content (like conspiracy theories, fake news, grooming, catfishing, and sextortion)
  • Encounters with online predators, cyberbullies, and trolls
  • Participation in harmful communities or dangerous online challenges like the 50/50 challenge, which exposes users to incredibly graphic and traumatizing content
  • Communities dedicated to NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content

How Reddit Community Content Is Moderated

Reddit maintains various checks to uphold its rules and policies on a broader scale:

  • Community moderators. Volunteer moderators (mods) oversee subreddits to ensure adherence to community and platform guidelines.
  • Administrators. Reddit-employed administrators enforce platform-wide rules and policies.
  • Automated tools. Services like AutoModerator help filter out content that goes against Reddit’s policies.
Screenshot of Reddit's ban popupWhen communities that promote hate or violence are discovered, they are immediately banned

How to Keep Your Child Safe on Reddit

Unfortunately, Reddit’s moderation efforts aren’t enough to keep your child safe. That’s why I’ve made a list of what you, as a parent, can do. Here are some safety guidelines that you can follow:

1. Oversee Your Child’s Reddit Account

Create the account together with your child or ensure you have access to it. This allows you to manage the settings and monitor your child's interactions on the platform. To create an account, navigate to the Reddit website or download the Reddit mobile app and click the Sign Up button. You need an email address and a password to create a Reddit account.

2. Use Reddit’s Safety and Privacy Features

Adjust privacy settings and enable two-factor authentication on your child’s account to ensure a safe Reddit experience. Although Reddit lacks parental controls, some options can be adjusted to enhance your child's safety on the platform. These settings can help privatize the profile, block mature content, minimize data tracking, and deter strangers from sending connection requests.

It's worth noting that your kid can log out of the account and browse content without any restrictions. So, it's important to encourage them to stay logged in while using the platform. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to securely set up a child’s Reddit account:

Step 1. Log in to Reddit on a PC (not all settings are accessible in the app). The Log In button can be found in the top-right corner.

Step 2. Click on your account profile in the top-right corner, select User Settings, and choose the Profile menu button.

Screenshot of Reddit's user settings panel“User Settings” should be one of the higher options in the list

Step 3. Scroll down to the Advanced section and disable the following options: Allow People to Follow You, Content Visibility, and Active in Communities. This will ensure that other users cannot find your child’s profile, follow them, or see which communities they are active within. It also prevents your child’s posts from appearing in r/All. The changes are saved automatically.

Screenshot of Reddit's advanced content settingsI’d recommend disabling all these settings to be 100% safe

Step 4. Select the Safety & Privacy tab and deselect all options to prevent your child’s activity from being used for personalized ads and recommendations.

Screenshot of Reddit's safety and privacy settings windowThis will ensure your child’s data isn’t shared with third-party marketing companies

Step 5. Scroll to Advanced Security and activate two-factor authentication (2FA) to prevent any unauthorized access to the account.

Screenshot of Reddit's 2FA settingsYou can also prevent specific topics from being shown to your child
Pro Tip: Two-factor authorization requires using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator or Authy. Once it’s set up, logging in to your child’s account will require both the set password and a verification code from your chosen authenticator app. This means a hacker would need both the password and access to the authenticator — which is highly unlikely to happen.

Step 6. Again on the Safety and Privacy screen, click on Manage third-party app authorization at the bottom, and revoke permission for any connected accounts. This will prevent uncontrolled data sharing across your child’s accounts on other platforms.

Step 7. Select the Feed Settings tab and toggle off Adult content to keep it from appearing in your child’s feed or search results.

Screenshot of Reddit's feed settingsYou can also customize the interface to make Reddit more kid-friendly

Step 8. Click on Chat and Messaging to ensure that the Who can send you chat requests and the Who can send you private messages toggles are set to Nobody — preventing strangers from communicating directly with your child.

Screenshot of Reddit's chat settingsIf you don’t change these settings, anyone could send explicit messages to your child

3. Report Posts and Comments

Despite the above security settings, your child might still come across offensive content or bullying. Use the guides below to teach your child how to report such posts.

How to Report Offensive Posts

Step 1. Click the “…” at the bottom of the post and select Report from the dropdown.

Step 2. Reddit will ask you to select a reason for the report. Choose the option that best describes why you find the post offensive. If none of the options fit, you can select “It breaks r/[subreddit]’s rules” or “Other issues” and provide more specific details.

Screenshot of Reddit's report interfaceReddit provides several categories you can file your report under

Step 3. Submit the report. Reddit will review it and take appropriate action if the post violates its policies.

How to Report Offensive Comments

Step 1. Click on the Report button below the comment.

Screenshot of Reddit's comment report interfaceOnly report comments that are in clear violation of Reddit’s rules and regulations

Step 2. Select a reason from the options provided and click Submit.

4. Block Users

Besides reporting offensive content, teach your child how to block suspicious or offensive users. This will prevent the user from having any further contact with your child. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Navigate to the user’s profile and click More Options.

Step 2. Select Block User.

Screenshot of Reddit's block user panelUsers can be unblocked at any time if necessary

5. Talk to Your Kids

Have open discussions about Reddit’s risks, set flexible rules, and evolve with your child’s growing digital needs. It's crucial to arm your kids with knowledge and skills now so that they can navigate the online world safely throughout their life. Here are some tips:

  • Be proactive. Discuss with your kids their favorite online platforms, listen to their experiences, and offer supportive feedback.
  • Talk about the dangers in simple terms. More complex topics like phishing, malware, and the behaviors of predators might be tough for kids to understand. Explaining these ideas in a simpler way can help keep your child safe. For instance, you could explain phishing simply as someone malicious tricking you into giving up your password.
  • Be understanding. If you discover inappropriate online behavior, discuss it calmly and provide guidance on how to avoid the issue reoccurring in the future.
  • Involve them in rule-setting. Establishing guidelines together fosters trust and compliance.
  • Adjust rules as they grow. Their online needs will change, so ensure the rules evolve alongside this.
  • Lead by example. Adhere to the same rules you set for them to reinforce the importance of online safety.
  • Demonstrate rather than just instruct. Show them how to create strong passwords and explain the importance of different privacy settings.
Pro Tip: Strong passwords are often difficult to remember. Thankfully, there are some great password managers that will allow you to securely store your strong passwords, so there’s no need to remember them or write them down.

6. Consider Using a Monitoring Tool

Various parental control apps like Bark can help you monitor and keep your child’s activity safe on Reddit and other platforms. Bark scans texts, YouTube, emails, and over 30 different social networks for safety concerns, flagging only potential issues while respecting your child’s privacy.

What Are the Benefits of Reddit

Reddit can offer supportive communities for multiple interests and topics, from academic subjects to mental health. It can provide a sense of belonging and support to your child when used mindfully and responsibly.

For example, LGBTQ+ youth can discover guidance in subreddits like r/LGBTeens, while individuals grappling with ADHD might find solace in r/ADHD. There are also communities for simply engaging in casual discussions about the latest trends.

FAQs on Using Reddit

Is Reddit kid-friendly?

Reddit is not suitable for kids under 13. The platform hosts a wide range of content, some of which can be educational and enriching, but it also contains material that may not be appropriate for young audiences. The open nature of the platform, combined with the lack of robust age verification, means children could be exposed to adult content, misinformation, or harmful interactions.

While there are measures like community guidelines and moderation in place, this is not enough to protect kids under 13. However, kids over 13 will be at a more appropriate age to use Reddit — provided you’ve properly set up their account to filter out adult content and ensure their privacy. You should also offer extensive guidance to teach them how to stay safe on the platform.

Does Reddit have parental controls?

Reddit allows you to somewhat control the content your child will see and who can interact with them, but these features are limited (and not labeled as parental controls). For example, you can enable a setting that filters out Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content, which can help block adult content. Additionally, you can make it so strangers cannot initiate private conversations with your child.

However, the content filtering controls in particular rely largely on content being accurately tagged as NSFW by users and moderators. Due to the vast and user-generated nature of Reddit, complete filtering of all inappropriate content is challenging. Because of this, parental guidance and supervision is important when allowing children to use Reddit.

Is Reddit used for dating?

Reddit isn't primarily a dating platform, but certain communities may foster romantic interactions, which can pose risks, especially for younger users. That said, you can teach your child to report inappropriate behavior and block suspicious users.

Is Reddit browsing tracked?

Yes, like many online platforms, Reddit does track user activity to some extent. This tracking can include which links you click on, the subreddits you visit, the posts you interact with, and how you engage with the site overall. If you’re concerned about privacy, review Reddit’s settings and opt out of certain types of data sharing.

Wrapping Up: Keep Your Children Safe on Reddit

Parental guidance and good use of the content, privacy, and security settings on Reddit are key to ensuring a safer experience for your child. While the platform can be a rich source of information and support, navigating its intricacies safely requires a collaborative effort between parents and children.

If you stick to my recommended methods for enhancing overall security and understand its limitations, your child can use Reddit without any major concerns. Just stay aware of the latest online risks on the platform and guide your kid on how to avoid them wherever possible.

Privacy Alert!

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The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

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We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Husain Parvez is a Cybersecurity Researcher and News Writer at vpnMentor, focusing on VPN reviews, detailed how-to guides, and hands-on tutorials. Husain is also a part of the vpnMentor Cybersecurity News bulletin and loves covering the latest events in cyberspace and data privacy.

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