Wondering what Discord — also known as the Discord App — is?
In simple terms, Discord is a communication app that connects gamers through messaging, video, and voice. Designed to allow adults and teens aged 13 and older to organize online games and chat within a gaming community, the app is used for much more than that. With more than 100 million users worldwide, Discord is considered to be a “social platform,” where users can hang out and socialize not just with their friends but with anyone who is logged in.
Easy to download, register, and start messaging, if security guidelines are applied, Discord can be safe for teens to use. But what if your teen is ignoring safety rules for chatting online?
Is Discord Safe?
Discord emphasizes that users should set up security controls, even encouraging parents to set up their teen’s account so they can only communicate with friends and not strangers and block inappropriate contact with “Explicit Content Filters.” However, since its release in 2015, Discord has been consistently questioned about its reputation for child safety.
Discord allows users to create multiple aliases. This means that online trolls, those who send off-topic messages that are provocative and inflammatory, can say what they want and then leave. If you’re unaware that your teen has made their server on Discord public, they’re left wide open to trolls and any other users who message inappropriately.
There have also been numerous reports about Discord users increasing hate speech on the platform, engaging in abusive and bullying chat, as well as individuals exploiting the platform for criminal activity. Likewise, with Parler’s recent troubles, conservative extremists are migrating back to Discord. Another news story about the murder of 17-year-old Bianca Devins, photos of the deceased young teen were posted on Discord for all to see by user Brandon Andrew Clark, who was charged with second-degree murder in Devins’ death.
Without security controls and knowing exactly what your teen is doing online, Discord has the potential to be unsafe for your child.
How You Can Keep Your Kids Safe
Parents need to ask their children if they have downloaded and are using the Discord app. Have conversations about the security of online chatting and the correct safety rules for using this or any app.
With Discord’s parental controls, set up your teen’s account so they’re chatting and messaging safely — whether they’re gaming or joining in on gaming chat. Security features include blocking messages, reviewing (or not getting) friend requests from strangers, and blocking explicit or inappropriate content.
- Go to User Settings
- Select Privacy & Safety
- From here you can set up who chats with your teen, who friends them, and more.
But the best security feature? Talk to you kids — often — and find out what they’re doing with the app and who they’re talking to. Always be open and encourage your child to come to you if they feel threatened, or to report bad online behavior.