How to keep your kids out of trou­ble while us­ing Red­dit

It’s easy to fall down rab­bit holes on this pop­u­lar on­line site

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Brett Molina

There is per­haps no other site on the In­ter­net more in­for­ma­tive, en­ter­tain­ing and con­fus­ing to use than Red­dit.

It’s called “the front page of the In­ter­net” for good rea­son. Nearly ev­ery­thing you have seen catch­ing vi­ral buzz on­line likely started on Red­dit.

Users can find just about any­thing they want, on any topic. For most of Red­dit’s users, it’s awe- some. For par­ents, it’s both good and bad.

There are count­less par­ent­ing com­mu­ni­ties in Red­dit, so that’s a plus. But what if your child wants to check out Red­dit? Be­cause its own­ers take a more hands-off ap­proach, it’s very easy for kids to stum­ble into a link or im­age in­ap­pro­pri­ate for chil­dren.

For par­ents, here’s what you should know about Red­dit:

Red­dit is the fourth­most-pop­u­lar site in the U.S., with more than 300M users a month. It’s be­hind Google, YouTube and Face­book.

WHAT IS RED­DIT?

Launched in 2005, Red­dit is es­sen­tially a mas­sive fo­rum cat­e­go­rized by a va­ri­ety of top­ics called sub­red­dits, usu­ally pre­ceded by an “r/.” For ex­am­ple, some of the straight­for­ward sub­red­dits in­clude r/news or r/books. Oth­ers can get pretty spe­cific, such as r/ cord­cut­ters for users who have dropped ca­ble or want to cut the cord and seek tips, ad­vice or other in­for­ma­tion. Some are just plain strange. Want a sub­red­dit with just pic­tures of birds with hu­man arms? It re­ally ex­ists.

Sub­red­dits are run by mod­er­a­tors, Red­dit users who earn the ti­tle by cre­at­ing a sub­red­dit or be­ing pro­moted by a cur­rent mod­er­a­tor. In some cases, mod­er­a­tors will have their own set of rules for par­tic­i­pat­ing in a sub­red­dit.

HOW POP­U­LAR IS RED­DIT?

Ac­cord­ing to traf­fic an­a­lyt­ics firm Alexa, Red­dit is the fourth-most­pop­u­lar site in the U.S., with more than 300 mil­lion users each month. For per­spec­tive, it’s be­hind only Google, YouTube and Face­book. Red­dit boasts more than 138,000 com­mu­ni­ties.

WHY IS RED­DIT A BIG DEAL?

You can find lit­er­ally any­thing on the In­ter­net via Red­dit. It’s an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful, crowd­sourced out­let. It uses a vot­ing sys­tem where users de­cide which con­tent is most rel­e­vant by giv­ing them “up” or “down” votes.

SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT MY KIDS US­ING IT?

Red­dit is kinda like YouTube in that kids can start with seem­ingly in­no­cent stuff then fall down this rab­bit hole into stuff that’s a lot more ques­tion­able for their ages.

Red­dit also fea­tures a lot of anony­mous com­ments and mes­sag­ing, and it’s pos­si­ble for any­one to mes­sage your child if they’re on Red­dit.

HOW CAN I PRO­TECT THEM?

On the mes­sag­ing front, users can con­trol who sends them mes­sages. They can add “trusted users” by their user­name, so only they can send mes­sages. For ques­tion­able com­ments, users can re­port them for re­view.

As for con­tent, users can con­trol what sub­red­dits or items ap­pear on Red­dit. An­other trick is sub­scrib­ing to sub­red­dits, which help shape what the front page of Red­dit will look like.

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