Discord: For more than just Gaming

Discord: For more than just Gaming

Known as the Facetime of the gaming world, Discord is a platform growing to popularity in the homes of gamers everywhere. So what exactly is this communication tool enjoyed by children and young adults alike? Discord was designed to be the solution to a problem many players of beloved PC games face - connecting others playing the same game. As more and more users join the online community,  it has become a hub for various subcultures throughout the internet and a stomping ground for predator behavior. 

To fully understand Discord, you have to break it down and examine how it works. 

Similar to programs such as Skype and Zoom, Discord offers public and private chatting through text, voice, and video among anyone within the Gamesphere. The app functions through servers otherwise known as chat rooms. Users are given the opportunity to either create or join a server. If the server is private, individuals need to be invited into the chat, otherwise, public servers are open for all to join. Once the player is connected to the server, it breaks down into channels allowing smaller spaces for discussion on the selected topic.

To maintain social interaction with players outside of the server, Discord has created the ability to have a list of friends. Friends are allowed to contact one another through any form of communication without being enrolled in a server together. Its anonymous cloak ensures that you never really know who could be hiding behind the other side of the screen.  As relationships with these individuals are built, negative consequences could be inflicted on your family.

Although Discord permits anyone 13-years or older onto the platform, the application was designed and created for adults. As the site continues to sour to popularity, Discord is in the hot seat for dangerous happenings occurring on its forums. Some of those incidents have included child pornography, sextortion, human trafficking, and child and sex abuse crimes. 

If your child is on Discord, it is imperative that certain measures are taken and tools are used to ensure their safety and wellbeing. 

  • Familiarize yourself and your child with the Community Guidelines, Terms of Service, and the Parent's Guide to Discord. By grasping a basic understanding of this particular application, you can help guide your child into understanding acceptable online behaviors as well as off-brand, unsafe, or harmful content they may encounter. 
  • Review the privacy and safety framework located under user settings. The safest option for direct messaging your child receives is to set this function to “Keep Me Safe.” Once selected, all messages received from anyone on the app, including friends, will be scanned for inappropriate content and deleted before it reaches your child’s inbox. 
  • Disable allowing users from participating servers to message your child. The last task within this section of a player’s setting is managing who can select them as a friend. The best option is to turn off any user from adding your child, giving your family the power to choose who interacts with your child. These actions are a starting point to create a barrier to shut down predator activity.
  • Be mindful of the username and password to your child’s Discord account. To keep the relationship transparent, have your child walk you through their account every so often. Ask questions about who your child interacts with, and how to keep the focus on your child’s safety and trust. If something potentially harmful occurs on Discord, you want your child to feel welcome coming to you without fear of harsh punishment. 
  • Enlighten your family on the ability to block someone who may be sharing inappropriate content with your child.  Blocking a user on Discord prevents anything they sent you within your messages, or on a server, you share, from being delivered to you. The act of blocking another player is available on any version of Discord. For steps onto how to block a user on different devices, check out this Business Insider article.

For more information regarding Discord, SGS has rated the application on the basis of privacy, safety, and content. We have also created a downloadable form to open up the conversation with your children about being safe on Discord.

This information does not guarantee online safety and is provided as a courtesy of Smart Gen Society.  SGS is not legally responsible for your family's digital planning or safety.