What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this social news site can inform and influence kids to both positive and negative ends. Reddit is a place for free speech and kids will see things that are credible, factual, and charitable as well as silly, offensive, and weird. To a degree, a voting system helps police the area. Links with the most positive votes float to the top of the page, but there’s no telling why people vote the way they do (Dan Akroyd in a strip club vs. Q & A with a NASA scientist? Team Akroyd wins). Reddit is a peek into what people find interesting in the world and how they feel about it, but the adult attitudes and opinions expressed here can impact impressionable kids.
What's it about?
Kids can access links that lead to stories or photos on external sites. Once they register, they can vote, make self-posts, or subscribe to “subreddits” that focus on specific topics. The signup process doesn’t require proof of age. Voting a link “up” or “down” affects its popularity over other stories on the page. Kids can comment in response to stories or other users, and then vote on those, too; a user with a lot of upvoted comments earns “karma,” which doesn’t affect the user’s experience, but does look nice in the bare-bones user profiles.
Is it any good?
Reddit is an excellent example of the power of people; in its completely open environment groups have formed, campaigned, and raised significant amounts of money for positive change. Subreddits connect users with common interests while moderators keep things on topic and stick to clearly posted rules. The drawback here is the same as it is for the entire Internet -- there’s just no telling what people will put out there. Links, comments, and entire subreddits may expose kids to biased, offensive, or sexual content. Reddit’s best audience is a grown-up one.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the benefits and drawbacks of an open, free-speech community. What are the consequences of sharing opinions in an anonymous, public environment? What are good rules to follow when responding to others? Read Common Sense Media’s Digital Life: Our Kids Connected Culture.
Kids begin to form their moral and philosophical beliefs in their mid to late teens. How does the news affect them? Read Common Sense Media's Explaining the News to Kids.
Families can talk about how to recognize bias and stereotyping in the media. Read Common Sense Media’s Tips for Battling Stereotypes.