What is Wattpad? A breakdown for parents

Wattpad is a social storytelling platform where users connect with your favourite writers, read and write original stories.

What is Wattpad?

With Wattpad, you can discover millions of eBooks on every genre that is out there and add them to your reading list. Not only that, but you can also follow your favourite writers and get notified whenever they publish something. Coming to the writing part, you can create your own book and publish it on their platform. Users can also private message with others.

Who is using it?

Our research found 85% of Wattpad’s 45 million-plus readers are between the ages of 13 and 30. 50% are under the age of 18.

What is Wattpad’s minimum age limit?

Wattpad has been given a minimum age limit of 13, but the age limit is 17+ if downloading this via the Apple App Store and given a ‘Parental guidance’ notice via the Google Play store.

Is it child-friendly?

Some categories are age-appropriate for children and some are not which children can easily access. Categories range from Adventure, LGBTQ+, Fanfiction to Romance. There is also a ‘New Adult’ category which contains erotic, relationship, romance stories – titles such as ‘booty call’, ‘I slept with my stepbrother’ were found also ‘smut’ stories containing sex and inappropriate language.

Other content we have come across may be concerning for younger kids, such as:

Tagged content – Prohibited material such as this can easily be discovered throughout Wattpad via searching tags such as #self harm, #dirtyimages for example.

Rating a story – You can set an age ranking as either ‘Mature’ or for ‘Everyone’. Wattpad’s mature or ‘new adult’ stories are given an age ranking of 17+ however users under this age can still have access to these stories.

So it is important to be vigilant to what your child is reading or writing as they are likely to come across these inappropriate stories. See our tips and Wattpad’s privacy and security settings you can implement below.

Are there any privacy and security settings on Wattpad?

Wattpad features a number of functions to help your child stay safe on the platform:

  • Report a problem: Get to the Help menu by tapping the three lines in the top left-hand corner then Tap ‘Help’ then ‘Report a problem’ – submit your problem by filling out the details. Once done, tap ‘Submit’
  • Report Story: Click on the story you want to report. Swipe down your screen to reveal the menu, then tap the three dots in the top-right hand corner. Tap ‘Report a Story’. Choose the appropriate option and enter your email address and details on the problem.
  • Report a user: Go to the user’s page and tap the three dots in the top-right hand corner and tap ‘Report’, then select the reason you want to report the user, enter the reason then tap ‘Report’.
  • Mute a user: Go to the user’s page and tap the three dots in the top-right hand corner and tap ‘Mute’, confirm by selecting the ‘Mute’ option again. To mute a user means that the account will not be able to follow you, send messages, post on your profile or comment on your stories.
  • Do not track: If enabled this tool, a 3rd party will stop collecting your user information. You will need to get to your account, first tap the three lines in the top left-hand corner then tap ‘View profile’. Tap the settings icon located in the top-right hand corner then tap ‘Privacy Settings’. Here you can toggle on or off the ‘Do not track’ function.

Wattpad says: ‘they will not allow users under 13s to sign up (when using the app) – automatically blocks registration. The site moderators will also terminate accounts if they learn someone is under 13.’

If your child uses Wattpad

Follow the step by step security features mentioned above. Get involved in your kids’ Wattpad experience. If they know that you’re interested in the things that matter to them, it’ll get them in the habit of talking to you about what they do online.

Having a family agreement or a set of ground rules for using social platforms is a good idea. It’s a great way for parents and children to work together on how to be safe, wise and responsible online. Here are some ideas:

  • Tip 1 – Advise them not to share any sensitive info that could be visible such as their full name, address, phone number, etc.
  • Tip 2 – Share an account with them so you can monitor the account activity.
  • Tip 3 – Show them how they can report any inappropriate content following Wattpad’s guidelines. If they receive directly hateful messages, tell them not to respond.
  • Tip 4 – Sit them down and tell them not to say something online that they wouldn’t say face-to-face.
  • Tip 5 – Ensure they’re aware of the community guidelines.
  • Tip 6 – Sit them down and tell your kids that whatever their friends and media are telling them, things like sexting and cyberbullying are not normal or common behaviours.

Read further information on Wattpad’s parent safety portal and their help centre.

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