May 31, 2021
Is Discord Safe? An Ultimate Guide to Parents
If your kids play online video games with other people over the Internet like Battle Royale, Fortnite, Among Us, League of Legends, they probably use Discord. Especially in this pandemic, when we can’t physically meet one another, Discord has become a top-rated app to communicate or hang out with our friends. More than 100 million people use Discord, but how safe is Discord?
Kids and teens mainly use Discord apps to talk to their friends while streaming or playing games online. With the recommended bandwidth of only 64 kbps, Discord can efficiently run in the background while using your phone for other purposes like gaming, watching movies, etc.
Like other social media apps, Discord can raise online safety concerns if not used appropriately. So, in this blog, I will talk about Discord, its safety and security concerns, and what steps you can take as a parent to ensure online safety for your kids on the Discord app.
Who is Discord for?
Discord app makes it simple to communicate every day and hang together more regularly, whether you’re part of a gaming group, school club, global creative community, or just a small circle of friends who want to spend time together.
You can download Discord as an app on your Android and iOS devices, laptops, MAC, and personal computers. The minimum age required to use a Discord app is 13 years. Discord was initially created for the gaming community, people who love online gaming, but now the growth has skyrocketed.
Discord has more than 100 million monthly active users, 13.5 active users per week, and 4 billion server conversations daily. Discord is used for various activities, including screen share group painting, live karaoke nights, and even virtual wedding festivities.
How does Discord approach security issues?
Discord encourages everyone to participate in their open bug bounty program, which rewards researchers and hackers alike for responsibly discovering, disclosing, and assisting in resolving security flaws. Discord has a fairly straightforward and simple set of rules that help protect both the app and those looking to disclose, similar to many other bug bounties out there.
- Discord will not take legal action against users who follow the instructions and disclose vulnerabilities.
- It responds to reports of vulnerabilities as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours.
- Discord provides a detailed account of the steps that it took to address any issues you raised.
- Discord even rewards you with awesome stuff based on the validity, severity, and scope of each issue you have disclosed.
What can you do in Discord?
Anyone who needs a place for social networking to send a direct message and talk with their friends and communities should use Discord. Discord servers create social networks for gaming, comedy fan groups, yoga courses, and even running entire podcasting companies. It is different than other chatting apps or social media. Discord is home to many communities, including school clubs, gaming communities, art communities, and groups of friends who want to spend time together.
On Discord, each community’s space is referred to as a server. Discord servers are private, invite-only communities where you can chat, cooperate, and share information. On a Discord server, you can only talk to the people you want and about the things you want to chat about. There are topic-based channels on Discord servers that allow you to cooperate, communicate, and talk about your day without filling up a group chat.
Therefore, Discord isn’t your typical social networking site or a chatting app like Facebook messenger, Viber, WhatsApp. Like other chatting apps, you can text chat, video chat, or send direct messages, but what you should see on Discord is not determined by an algorithm. Hence its doesn’t sell your personal information. It doesn’t even sell your personal information and data to third parties like any other social media.
There is no tedious scrolling, no news feed, and no likes counter. When you have free time, you can join a voice channel. Friends on your server can see you’re online and jump in to talk without calling. With moderation tools and specific member access, you may start a community of any size. You can set up private channels and give members specific capabilities.
How to get started on Discord?
- You can download Discord on your phone, laptop, PC, or Mac.
- Create an account with an email and a name. You can use your own name or go by a nickname.
- When you’re ready, take a seat in a voice channel and start speaking. Friends can see you’re online and call or video chat with you.
- You can also hang out because Discord’s technology allows you to share your screen with others directly. Stream a game to your pals, provide a live art demo to your community, or give a presentation to a group.
- Organize your members by allowing you to customize their access by roles. Use them to appoint moderators, offer unique awards to fans, or form working groups to communicate with all at once.
- You can express yourself with your Discord server’s emoji library, which you can tailor to your liking. Make an emoji out of any image of your dog or a friend’s face for your server to utilize.
- Customize your server. You can also do more with server boosting and Discord Nitro.
Is Discord safe for your kids?
Users must be at least 13 years old to use Discord. However, because the app is entirely user-generated, they do not verify users’ ages when signing up. There is plenty of offensive material, such as swearing, cursing, and violent language and imagery.
The Discord team monitors NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content, and server owners are required to post an 18+ warning, but if your kids are underage, they can easily bypass that by changing their age. So, kids on Discord can be exposed to inappropriate content and get access to explicit, adult content.
You can hide your real identification on Discord. So, online predators or sexual predators can use this feature to hide behind anonymity and prey on your kids. If the “Who can add you as a friend” option is “Everyone,” then these online predators can add your kids add on their account, act as a fake friend and lure them into being their victims.
More than that, as it is challenging to find out who is behind the other end talking or sending text chat to you, it becomes easier to bully or harass someone. So, if not careful, your kids can be the victim of online cyberbullying and harassment. Hence there are questions regarding its online safety.
Discord promotes online gaming. It was initially designed for online gaming. So, if your kid is already spending too much screen time playing video games like Batlle Royale, Fortnite, Apex Legends, using Discord will aid to the screen time, making them more addicted to online gaming and bring upon online gaming risks. So what can you do?
What can you do to ensure your Kids’ Online Safety on Discord?
Here’s what parents can do to keep their child safe on Discord. For online safety, Discord has created mechanisms to safeguard its users from offensive content and unwanted interactions. You can learn how to utilize these tools to customize your kid’s settings and Discord experience and help them avoid potentially harmful situations.
Explicit Media Content Settings
You can choose what kind of content your children are allowed to see from this option. Go to User Settings and select “Privacy & Safety” and “Safe Direct Messaging” to access this setting. If your children are under 18, you can select the “Keep me safe” option. This option is enabled by default, and it ensures that all images and videos in direct messages are inspected by Discord, with explicit content being prohibited.
Direct Message Settings
This option allows you to control who can contact your kids in a direct message. Go to “User Settings” and select “Privacy & Safety” and “Server Privacy Default” to access this setting. When your child is on a server with another player, they can send them a DM by default.
You can select to block DMs from individuals who aren’t on your child’s friend list in a server by toggling “Allow direct messages from server members.” It only applies to new servers that your adolescent joins. You’ll need to update the DM settings for each server they’ve previously joined using the “Server Settings” dropdown menu on the server’s dropdown list.
Friend Request Settings
This panel allows you to control who can add your kid as a Discord friend. Go to “User Settings” and select “Privacy & Safety” and “Who Can Add You As A Friend” to access this option. There are three different options available. Friend requests should only be accepted by people you know and trust. If your teen is unsure, he or she should decline the friend request. If they make a mistake, they can always add them afterward.
You can also control these settings on a server-by-server basis. Perhaps you don’t want your kid to be messaged by everyone in a gaming community, but you do want them to be messaged by anyone in their study group. You can accomplish this by disabling members of the large gaming community to contact them at all. You can reject all three choices if you don’t want your kid to be open to any requests. Your kid, on the other hand, can still make requests to other people.
You always have the choice to block a user who is annoying your child. Blocking someone on Discord removes them from your Friends List, prevents them from directly messaging your teen, and hides their messages on any shared servers.
To block someone, right-click their @username and choose “Block.” Please report the user to the Trust & Safety team if your kid has blocked a user but creates a new account to contact them. You should also select to block DMs from people who aren’t on your kid’s friends list on any public server your kid is a part of.
Use Parental Controls to monitor your kids on Discord.
If your kids are under 13, they are underage users on Discord, and it is not appropriate for them. So you can use parental control software like Fenced.ai to find if your kids under 13 have the Discord app installed on their phone through the installed app monitoring feature. Using this feature, you can monitor what apps are installed on your kid’s phone.
Likewise, to manage their screen time, Fenced.ai has an apps usage monitoring feature that you can use to figure out how much time they spend on the Discord app. And if you find out they spend a lot of their time on Discord; you can then take necessary actions to limit their screen time.
My Final Thoughts
Discord is a great plate to hang out, talk to your friends and build a creative community. However, your kids can become victims of online predators, cyberbullying and get exposed to adult content if they add every anonymous person on Discord. They can also spend too much screen time on online gaming because of Discord.
So as a parent, to keep your kids safe on Discord, you can customize their setting as explained above and create a safe experience for your kids. You can block or report anyone misbehaving with your kids. You can also use parental controls like Fenced.ai to limit their screen time and monitor their app usage.
***Also read: "How safe is Snapchat for your kids? A parental guide."****