Addiction comes in many shapes and forms. In recent years, we have seen a rise in obsessive video gaming so severe that it leads to health problems and even suicide. The internet itself has become a dangerous meeting place, allowing pedophile predators direct access to our children’s private lives. Nowhere do these two dilemmas overlap more than on a cultish, exclusive website called Reddit.com.
Reddit is one of those profoundly confusing internet pages. Its cheery façade covers up deep layers of highly questionable and pornographic content. New users start off slightly intrigued by the fast-paced action found there 24 hours a day. It isn’t long before the desperate and lonely amongst them descend into a dark world where they click and refresh so intensely that the site regularly breaks down. In a cruel system of rewards and punishments, members are given points for the depths of their compulsive behavior, forcing them to unwittingly embrace a shocking mix of controversial ideologies, open nudity and bawdy humor.
What makes Reddit so effective at luring naïve teens is its use of miniscule blue-colored text. This is intentional, for such a font is very difficult for adults to read (ideally, it should be black) and helps keep the site youth-oriented.
There is also an imperious and privileged sensation that a young person feels when he becomes a recognized member of Reddit. In several egregious cases, that shared superiority complex has been tapped to bully kidney donors, inspire criminal activities and fund radical political movements. Indeed, a shockingly high concentration of anarchists, atheists and socialists call this place their home base. It’s not hard to interpret such an internet collective as a terrorist cell in the making. It should also be noted that the mascot that represents Reddit is Tinky Winky from the children’s series “The Teletubbies.” You may recall that news reports have identified this character as a secret icon for homosexual recruitment.
The meat of a Reddit member’s diet is glib, one-line headlines. These are displayed in long columns with numbers denoting an approval rating. It is a veritable leftwing talking points memo jam-packed with paranoia, urban legends and outright libel. Ostensibly, these headlines hyperlink to full news articles but the reader rarely makes the effort to click away. This has the sad effect of limiting independent interpretations of important issues. Instead, regular visitors simply parrot the biased headline text presented before them in the comments that ensue. This reinforces a hodgepodge of simplistic and liberal views on everything from academic science to global politics. (Click here for a dictionary of Reddit web slang and an analysis of the page’s most popular sections.)
As a user becomes more familiar with the website, he grows dependent on these abbreviated news flashes as his one and only source for updates on current events. After extended exposure, such a person will take every screaming headline at face value and avoid true journalism of length and substance altogether.
On a physical level, your average Reddit user, or “Reddator” as they prefer to be called, is sickly and neurotic. He will forgo food and sunlight to maintain his website account, lest someone steal his username the minute he logs off. After months, he will become haggard and pale, pounding on his laptop with calloused fingers into the murky dawn as anxiety overtakes what’s left of his delicate sanity. Inevitably, the Reddator reeks of stale humanity and masturbation.
The immediate consequence of Reddit for teens is that it steals time away from productive activities like exercise and normal peer socialization. Recently, Fox News reporter Bill O’Reilly turned the public’s attention to the illegal Chinese website Four Chan. He noted that it was the internet’s chief source of child pornography and hacking activities (including Wikileaks). The physical resemblance between that site and Reddit is startling. In addition, the designers behind Reddit engage in tactics calculated to lead to manic dedication. An investigation by Psychology Today revealed that programmers have discovered a way to induce narcotic hallucinogenic experiences through the computer, most notably with something called I-Doser. I-Doser essentially “doses” the visitor by stimulating various mental states with flashing sounds and images. This type of content, invented by an Israeli, is known to cause short-lived feelings of euphoria followed by intense periods of nausea. Much the same can be said of Reddit.
Reddit.com– America’s very own Four Chan/I-Doser hybrid– should surely raise public concern for its lecherous attempt to insert itself in the minds of our struggling and confused youths. Parents often ask, “Is my teen on drugs?” In this age of internet dependency, maybe we should be asking, “Is my teen on Reddit?”
IS MY CHILD REDDITING?
The images below will help you recognize children engaged in the Reddit.com fantasy world. The first slide explores the common facial types of such addicts, while the exhbits that follow can assist with in-person identifications. Also, please see “Reddit.com’s Web of Inappropriate Web Slang” for common terms found on the site and its most disturbing sections analyzed in further detail.