Wattpad

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Wattpad Website Poster Image
Teen writers hone craft, get feedback; watch privacy.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 44 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 88 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to develop their reading and writing skills as well as the discipline necessary to keep writing (they'll want to keep their readership coming back). They'll explore the world of grassroots marketing -- such as peer-led book clubs, social sharing, and more -- to get their stuff read. Contests and partner publishers give young adults the exposure they need to reach millions of readers worldwide and create a career, or they can just have fun writing light fiction about their favorite teen stars. Wattpad propels young adults into a vibrant and sometimes racy community of readers and writers.

Positive Messages

Kids are empowered to write freely and seriously; the site makes them feel like "real writers." 

Violence

Genres such as adventure, horror, vampire, werewolf have the usual knife play, more. Site guidelines advise users to give their story a mature rating if it contains self-harm, graphic violence, media containing gore; site seems to rely on users to report infractions, so some could potentially slip through.

Sex

Some selections definitely qualify as erotica found in romance section, many fan fiction titles feature graphic, detailed sex scenes (think Fifty Shades of Gray, which started out as Twilight fan fiction). Writers are responsible for marking stories with a sex scene, image with partial nudity with a mature rating before publishing it; it's unclear how much moderation is going on.

Language

Users are free to use everyday language, including profanity of all kinds.

Consumerism

Ads are absent in beginning, but sidebar ads start sneaking in, as do video pop-ups. A shop sells four items: stickers, tote bags, hoodies, T-shirts. Popular writers who participate in Wattpad Stars program may be commissioned by top brands to produce content; Wattpad says it's giving them chance to earn money while writing new stories.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ads for online prescription drugs sometimes appear, and obvious use of word "drugs" to get hits, attention for certain stories. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wattpad is a site and app where teens and adults can publicly share their fiction writing in a blog-like format as well as read and comment on other people's works. Users are asked to rate their story as mature or for everyone, but it's voluntary; and some decidedly explicit stuff shows up, especially in the romance and non-fiction sections. The relatively unmoderated environment means younger teens should proceed with lots of caution, but there's clearly a community of young people who use Wattpad responsibly, so be sure you know your kid and monitor use. Some content may have a commercial aspect, due to the site's Wattpad Stars program, which pairs writers with brands. As of 2017, there's also Wattpad Premium, which is $5.99/month and removes ads. Comments from readers are usually helpful and encouraging but also can be brutally honest. Teens should be mature enough to receive criticism. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bykathrynlh12 June 23, 2016

What's the problem?

Before I start this review, I do want to say that I was a part of the Wattpad community years before I let my daughter start using it, so I know the website ins... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 year old Written bymom2015 April 22, 2015

Loads of inappropriate content

Went on to see what my son was reading...sure kids are on reading because they can easily find inappropriate content plus they can message each other including... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 8, 2014

Awesome!

You are both author and the reader. You can write your own story and share it with the public. It is awesome!!! Anybody can write on wattpad. Therefore, the st... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byella18601 March 23, 2015

Good if used responsibly

Wattpad is a brilliant platform for sharing your stories and receiving constructive criticism about your writing. The community is mostly friendly and everyone... Continue reading

What's it about?

Teens can read, write, and communicate with other writers on WATTPAD; the goal is to get their own work out in the public sphere. Writing is published in serialized chapters and organized by genres, ranging from "werewolf" to "spiritual." There also are a few classics available to read, as well as works by popular published authors. Most chapters contain only a few pages, but there are hundreds of new works posted daily, and total reads occasionally hit the million mark. Beyond writing, kids can start a book club to encourage readership of their own work or a favorite genre, enter contests to earn a Watty award, and aspire to actually get published with partner Sourcebooks. ​Top writers may even be brought into the Wattpad Stars program that can further their publishing goals. Submissions are nearly all in English, but site translation in nearly 50 languages supports writers and content from across the globe.

Is it any good?

As a platform for young adult writers to hone their writing skills, develop readership, and even move toward a career in writing, Wattpad is awesome. Its basic tools let kids save, edit, and publish with ease and are topped off with fun features such as dedications, links to book trailer videos, and the ability to upload covers. Help for newbies comes in the form of specialty clubs including Improve Your Writing and Multimedia Designs, although some more concrete writing resources would be a nice addition. 

The downsides to giving kids free reign are obvious -- loosely monitored commenting from users of all ages, for starters. There's a "three strikes" policy for repeat offenders, but you'll want to keep an eye on both what your kids are publishing and reading as well as who's reading their work. Although some writing is really polished and just waiting to be picked up by a book publisher, there's a lot of rambling sludge starring pop stars such as Justin Bieber (and more One Direction fan fic than you could ever, ever imagine). In addition, the site's Wattpad Stars program, launched in 2015, claims to offer top writers opportunities to get exposure, and potentially get published -- which it might. It also has a strong commercial component, though; companies can commission Wattpad Stars to write stories that support their brand goals. Still, despite the advertorial-sounding addition and the lack of content monitoring, Wattpad's value lies exactly in the fact it so clearly belongs to the teens, who are actively reading and writing what they love -- and that's encouraging.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about advertising. Members who are Wattpad Stars may be asked to produce stories that involve products from commercial companies, so would that be considered promotion?

  • Talk about how much work it takes to write a whole novel. How does a site like Wattpad help with the whole process? Does getting feedback help?

  • Enjoy discovering new genres of writing; try reading a book as a family that's not in your usual range of interests -- you may end up pleasantly surprised. 

Website details

For kids who love fiction

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate