Discord is a communication platform that has gained popularity over the years, particularly among gamers. It allows them to stay up-to-date on the games they play and communicate with each other in real time. Many students have also started to use it for school as well, since it provides them with new ways to communicate and even organize chat groups through channels and services. However, users on Discord are generally anonymous, the platform has also become a place where inappropriate content can be found. Protect your children with this parents’ guide to making Discord safe—see our tips below.
Discord is a popular voice and text communication platform for communities and gamers. Released in 2015, it has since become one of the most widely used chat and voice applications in the world.
It allows users to create and join servers, which serve as online communities centered around a common interest or topic. Each server can have multiple channels, which are dedicated to specific discussions, activities, or voice chats within the community. In these channels, users can communicate with one another either one-on-one or in groups through text messages or voice calls.
Discord also includes many features that are designed for gaming yet can be used for other purposes—namely, the ability to share screens, stream games, and use custom emojis. Discord can be used on a wide range of devices including desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Discord mandates that its users must have attained a minimum age of 13 years, notwithstanding the lack of age verification during the registration process. Given the user-generated nature of the content on Discord, there exists the possibility of anyone sharing any form of material, inclusive of vulgar language and graphic images. However, it is feasible to join groups that prohibit such content, and mechanisms exist to protect minors from accessing inappropriate materials.
Notably, Discord features “NSFW” channels and servers, which limit membership to individuals aged 18 years and above; however, it is worth mentioning that these age restrictions may be circumvented through hacking.
Discord offers several privacy and security settings to keep your child safe. Some of these include settings for enabling two-factor authentication, disabling friend requests from strangers, disabling direct messages from strangers, and limiting information shared with others.
You can also enable a filter that scans DMs for inappropriate content and keeps them away. However, these are all settings that can be applied to a personal account, so you’ll have to apply them on your child’s behalf rather than as a separate account.
While there are no parental controls on Discord currently, Discord has a “Keep Me Safe” feature that allows users to automatically block direct messages or DMs from users who are not on their friend list. When this setting is enabled, it can help protect users from unwanted messages, spam, and potentially harmful content. It’s important to note, however, that this only applies to DMs and not to the servers or channels your child is part of.
The most important thing you can do to ensure your child’s safety on Discord is to keep communication lines with them open and non-judgmental. This goes for all other platforms on the Internet—the best thing you can do is discuss with your child what is and isn’t appropriate, the right behavior that should be exhibited, the reason why some sites aren’t “allowed,” and most of all, what to do if they ever feel unsafe on the Internet. Your child should feel that they have a safe space, and the Internet should not become that space for them. Instead, they should know that you are always there to listen and not to judge so that if anything happens, they can turn to you, and you can help.
Discord is an online platform where, admittedly, you cannot shield your child from the world around them. While it is entirely your choice whether or not to allow your child to use Discord, know that in the end, even prohibiting them from using the platform (or similar sites on the Internet) is only a band-aid solution.
This parents’ guide to making Discord safe presented ways for you to adjust Discord’s settings and make them less harmful for children, and there is a way to make the site child-friendly to an extent. However, always keep in mind that communicating properly with your child is the best and most effective way to keep them safe, especially on the Internet.
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