If you’re a parent, you’ve probably never heard of Voat, a newish news and commentary social media platform.
It’s more likely that you’ve heard of Reddit, a social network that is very similar (if you haven’t, that’s okay – more than a third of Reddit users are 24 or younger). It’s not a coincidence the two networks are similar. Voat is quite literally a clone of Reddit.
You may have also heard that Reddit has been having big problems lately, as users and moderators have been revolting over a number of issues. One of the key issues is censorship, from the users’ point of view. Reddit’s management views what they are doing as more along the lines of maintaining a responsible community.
Which gets us back to whether Voat is safe for teens – and the answer is no. Both sites’ Term of Service are very lax about permitted content and on both users are mostly anonymous. The rules according to Reddit:
There are a few more Reddit rules, known as Reddiquette, and you can see them here.
From Voat’s User Agreement:
“Keep Everyone Safe: You agree to not intentionally jeopardize the health and safety of others or yourself. Keep Personal Information Off voat: You agree to not post anyone’s sensitive personal information that relates to that person’s real world or online identity. Do Not Incite Harm: You agree not to encourage harm against people. Protect Kids: You agree not to post any child pornography or sexually suggestive content involving minors.”
While’s Voat’s rules may look more strict, the difference between the two is that Reddit has begun battling harassment in earnest. On Voat, there is no such battle because harassment is permitted, and that is why former Reddit users have been migrating to Voat. Voat is Swiss-based, and if your teen is in North America and using Voat, you might want to ask him why he is doing so in the first place. Reddit has more content and more users. Chances are he is doing so because Reddit is policing some of the inappropriate behavior that he is interested in. For example, one of the forums that Reddit recently shut down was based solely on shaming fat people.
Because most types of adult content is permitted on both networks, neither is really safe for teens. On Voat, you have the added risk of unchecked harassment. Even is your teen is not participating, that’s not the best environment of be hanging out in.
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