Have you ever found yourself pondering, “Is Discord a safe platform?” Perhaps your kids have raved about its enjoyable features, or you’ve stumbled upon information online that piqued your interest. So, what exactly is Discord? This chatting platform has gained popularity, especially within the gaming community, and recently, it has appealed to a broader audience. However, like any app facilitating communication between strangers, Discord comes with its set of potential risks, such as inappropriate content and the presence of online predators. In this post, we aim to shed light on what parents should be aware of regarding Discord and how to address queries from other parents like, “What is Discord?” or “Is Discord safe?”

What Is Discord?

discord logo and a kid walking away form that

Discord is a messaging platform akin to Slack, offering features such as chatrooms, direct messaging, voice chat, and video calls. It operates through “servers,” each containing various “channels” similar to chat rooms. These channels cover a spectrum of topics, from expansive public video game servers to intimate private groups among friends. Just like Slack, Discord is free to use, with users enjoying limitless messaging. If you’re acquainted with Slack, the setup is quite similar!

What Is Discord Used for?

Discord has evolved into a major hub for teens to connect and discuss all things gaming, whether they’re actively engaged in a Fortnite match or simply chatting. By 2023, Discord boasted over 190 million active monthly users. Surprisingly, some teens prefer it over traditional texting because it doesn’t require cell service to send messages. The platform has gained such immense popularity that Samsung even integrated it into their phones, making Discord a staple for virtual hangouts right in your pocket!

What is Discord Nitro?

a girl using discord and are that safe our no

In the ever-expanding world of Discord, a premium version called Nitro has emerged amidst its rapid growth as a free-to-use platform. For $9.99 per month, Nitro offers additional features like special emojis and expanded upload capacities. There’s also a more basic plan available at $2.99 per month.

Is Discord Safe? Risks Kids Face on the Platform

Despite Discord’s efforts to maintain a safe environment through terms of service and a dedicated Trust and Safety team, certain risks persist, particularly for younger users. The platform hosts some “adult” servers containing explicit and sexual content, and the tools to prevent underage access to such servers are limited. While some servers attempt age verification, this is not an inherent Discord feature but rather a practice implemented by gamers themselves.

Families should also be wary of Discord’s direct messaging feature, which allows any user to message another user, even if they are unfamiliar with each other. This opens the door to potential solicitations and the receipt of explicit material. Given that Discord is a platform where users publicly share their interests, potential predators may exploit this information to build trust. While there are controls in place to scan and delete explicit messages, they can be easily disabled in the settings, posing an additional concern for parents and guardians.

Discord Family Center

discord logo with family

Discord has recently introduced parental controls known as the Family Center, aiming to keep parents informed about their teen’s activities on the platform. To safeguard the teen’s privacy, parents are unable to view the actual conversations but can monitor the individuals their teen communicates with and the communities they join.

While this represents a positive stride, a notable absence is the lack of a secure way to lock these settings, such as employing a PIN, a measure adopted by other platforms like Roblox. Presently, it remains unclear whether teens can disable Family Center settings without parental consent.

Another consideration is that kids must agree to activate these settings, and parents can only finalize the Family Center setup if their teen provides the QR code from their app.

Here’s how to set up Family Center:

  1. Parents need to download Discord and create an account if they haven’t already. This allows them to link their accounts.

  2. On the teen’s Discord app, go to “User Settings.”

  3. Select “Family Center.”

  4. Generate the QR code under the “Connect with Parent tab.”

  5. On the parent’s phone, go to Family Center, select “Connect with Teen,” and scan the QR code.

Once the teen accepts the request, the parent will see their activity in the Family Center on their app.

Discord also offers “several other features” that parents can toggle on to enhance their child’s safety. Unfortunately, these can be turned off by the child at any time, as they lack password protection from the parent. These features include:

  • Explicit content filters in DMs
  • DM settings, controlling who can message your child
  • Friend request settings, determining who can add your child as a friend
  • Blocking

Help Protect Your Kids on Discord

Ensuring your child’s safety on Discord begins with the proactive step of setting up parental controls. While these controls play a crucial role, it’s essential to acknowledge that they might not cover every aspect. To provide comprehensive support, parents are encouraged to actively monitor their child’s online activities using tools like Pinardin.