Discord app safety – What parents need to know

discord logo

Is the Discord platform safe? We recommend that with the correct privacy and security settings, Discord can be used safely by kids. Please bear in mind, there are always risks when it comes to sites with online chat options.

Take a look below what you need to know about Discord.

What is Discord?

Discord launched in 2015 is a platform for people with similar interests to share and communicate. It is popular among the gaming community as it offers a way for video game players to communicate with each other and develop a community outside of the games themselves. However, since then, it has grown into a full social network with a wide range of ways to interact with over 140 million* active monthly users.

Note: Discord is not only just used by gamers nowadays.

*Source: Business of Apps

How Discord works

The platform works on the basis of servers. These are set up with a particular focus or emphasis as a way for people to congregate, discuss and exchange images, links, and information. These servers offer both text and voice communication via a microphone on the device you use.

Users can be invited to servers or find links online to access them. The person who set-up the server usually sets some ground rules about who it is for and the expected level of courtesy and etiquette.

What you need to use Discord

  • A computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • An email address to set up an account

What is the age rating?

13 years and up, however, Discord “updated its age rating to 17+ at Apple’s request”. Their website states they want to “help ensure minors are not exposed to content inappropriate for them”. However, we found that under 17’s can still register and use the platform. The Google Play Store has a ‘Teen” rating.

Find out more about Game age ratings explained

What are the privacy and security settings on Discord?

Discord’s latest Transparency Report reveals that 37% of users were subject to harassment on the platform, 12% were victims of cybercrime followed by 9% of not safe for work (NSFW) content.

They have implemented some safety measures, including:

  • use of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect abuse, scams, and phishing
  • dedicated moderators who are a key part of making the platform safe, “respond meaningfully to an increased number of reports while maintaining proactive efforts to keep the highest-harm actors off the platform”
  • blocking and reporting features

And here are the privacy and security features you can enable on the platform:

Choose who can direct message you

Safe Direct Messaging offers a traffic-light colour-coded system to determine whether messages should be checked for inappropriate content:

  • Keep me safe
    (Scan direct message from everyone)
  • My Friends are nice
    (Don’t scan friends messages)
  • I live on the edge
    (Don’t scan anything)

Credit: Discord

Find out more at Discord Parental controls

Report something

If you see anything suspicious or simply want to report a user, you can submit a request.

Block direct messages

You can block direct messages (DM) from other members by going to your Privacy settings:

Credit: Discord

Choose who can add you as a friend

You can adjust friend request privileges by who can add you as a friend from the Privacy & Safety menu:

Find out more at Discord Parental controls

Block users

Simply click on the user’s name that you want to block.

block user screenshot

Credit: Discord

Find out more at Discord Parental controls

What are the benefits of Discord?

It can be a really powerful way for children of an appropriate age to discover other people with similar interests and build community. This may be from playing a video game, but it can also be any other interests, such as playing an instrument, a favourite artist, or a favourite author.

Take the time to check in with them to make sure you are across who they are chatting to and always encourage them to keep conversations positive and appropriate. It can also give you an opportunity to equip them with the tools to deal with any risky situations that they may face.

Please note: You can also use certain privacy and security tools on your mobile device or computer to further limit interactions and location-based information. Check out our parental controls for more info.

What to watch out for on the Discord

The platform is not suitable for very young children

Discord contains adult content and must be labelled as only accessible to those over 18 years old. They have added an option for over 18 users to label their contact ‘not safe for work’.

Anyone that opens the channel will see a warning message letting them know that it might contain NSFW material and asking them to confirm that they are over 18.

Most conversations are private and allow live video and location tracking (strictly opt-in)

The conversations in Discord are private to the group so it’s less open and visible than other social networks. Along with this, you can type, talk, listen and watch live videos of other users. There is also a ‘Nearby’ feature that allows you to add friends who have the location features on their device turned on that are physically nearby.

Is Discord safe for your child?

It is a beneficial way to connect with other people if they are the right age to use it and have the proper support and context from parents and carers. Children of all ages are likely to encounter risks on the platform but younger children should use social apps or platforms that are designed specifically for them, like YouTube Kids and PopJam.

Latest updates

  • Stage Discovery – Discord announced on 13th May, a new audio feature launching early June. With Stage Discovery, Discord users can easily find live audio conversations happening across the various communities that exist on the app.
  • Stage Channel – Discord will also begin testing ticketed events for Stage Channel conversations this month.
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