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Read it somewhere?

The internet today is dominated by various social media platforms, which allows people to collaborate, share and comment on content generated by others. This gives everyone the powerful opportunity to be an author, artist or critic.

One of the biggest social sites on the internet is Reddit.

What is Reddit?

Reddit considers itself as the front page of the internet, with a predominant US following it has in recent years grown with interest from users from other continents as well.

In layman’s terms Reddit is a web forum consisting of millions of smaller forums each covering a specific topic. It is comparable to a beehive which has many cells where each cell is accessible to every bee. Each of these sub forums is called a subreddit.

In 2008 Reddit consisted out of 11000 subreddits and today it is sitting at an astounding 1.2 million subreddits, with 330 million monthly active registered users of which 40% comes form USA.

Visitors view about 1 billion videos through Reddit each month.

The top 10 subreddits based on the total subscribers are:

  • /r/announcements
  • /r/funny
  • /r/AskRedit
  • /r/gaming
  • /r/Pics
  • /r/science
  • /r/aww
  • /r/worldnews
  • /r/Movies
  • /r/Music

Reddit’s popularity base is centralized in the 18-28 year old range. Since content is generate by users for users most of the authors would by extension also be within this range. Although many helpful subreddits exist ranging from DIY and gardening to music and self help, always remember who your audience might be and take advice with a healthy pinch of salt.

What does all this mean to me as a parent?

  • As a parent you should be aware that Reddit allows anonymous access to content to any person who access the site. Once the user attempts to leave a comment or create a new post in any subreddit, a user account is required. To create such a user account a valid email address and unique user-name is required.
  • Reddit allows the user, once registered, to subscribe to specific subreddits basically customizing their front page with a feed of things they prefer to read. Although, the user is not blocked from browsing any of the 1.2 million other subreddits that might not be part of the customized front page. A registered user can engage in the social aspect of Reddit as well, such as voting and commenting. [explain up/downvote]
  • Content on Reddit is moderated by users, although Bots are being brought in to to govern some aspects, it is mostly a case where if no-one complains about a post, the post will not be automatically be flagged as being inappropriate.
  • Like open internet Reddit also has its Adult elements. These will all be flagged with a NSFW flag (Not Safe For Work). This flag will typically be attributed to any content which has been restricted to viewers younger than 18 years old.
  • Reddit has been designed in such a way that it seamlessly delivers content in a never ending stream of webpage. The user can scroll continuously and be fed with non stop content, indefinitely.
  • When allowing children to use Reddit a close eye needs to be kept on:
    • The content viewed.
    • Subreddits visited
    • Time spent online.

Not so friendly acquaintance.

Very different from schoolyard scuffles, cyber bullying has the same negative impact on people’s lives, if not more.

Cyber bullying can be defined as a form of electronic harassment that happens over an electronic platform, like social media or gaming platforms and instant messaging. Your child might be exposed through email, comments or text messages.  

Cyber bullying can take various forms such as abusive texts, online comments or even images or video being circulated without a person’s consent. Young people are particularly susceptible to cyber bullying and it often focuses on what a young person appearance like the clothes they wear. This would normally be detrimental to the young person’s self-esteem, ultimately impacting their daily lives and if not addressed, mental health.

What if?

As a parent you need to talk with your child about the situation, discuss some behavioral changes they can make to avoid scenarios where they are susceptible to cyber bullying. Smart devices are here to stay. Much of their future life will be conducted online or via their mobile device. This makes the development of protective strategies to deal with online criticism or bullying an important skill for lifelong self-esteem.

Children don’t always listen to what they are told, but will often copy their parents behavior to the letter. Setting a good example to your loved one when it comes to dealing cyber bullying is very important.

Bullies are generally after attention, feeding off of the physical reaction their words or actions invoke. Showing any reaction normally gives the bully even further incentive and retaliation would only make matters worse.

What are “bully-safe” habits?

Understand diversity of the global community

You have to recognize that others might be right. What may seem as rudeness at first might only be the expression of a different opinion.

Don’t take comments personally

If you find some comments that offend you, don’t reread any of it.

Healthy 30 second break

When you are about to post something online, take 30 seconds, step away from your computer/device, after which reread your post before posting.

Don’t retaliate.

Ultimately the less time we spend on social media the less the odds are of encountering a cyberbully.

To safeguard your family from this toxic part of our society starts with knowledge.

Knowledge as a parent of the key identifiers to know when your child is being victimized. The knowledge of how to deal with this type of behavior from a victim standpoint, and lastly the knowledge that you, as a parent, have the power to make informed decisions to implement measures to safeguard your loved ones.