If there’s a kid in your home, you’ve probably heard about Discord and you probably wonder “is Discord safe?”. It’s a chat app that’s popular among teenagers, especially those who play video games.
Even if your teenager doesn’t play video games, Discord has community boards for nearly any interest you can imagine. Plus, it has a robust set of chat tools for text, video, and voice messages.
With over 150M+ users, Discord is among some of the top social media apps. So let’s explore Discord to learn more about what is, how it works, and whether it’s safe for kids to use.
- What is Discord?
- Who can use Discord? Is there an age limit?
- How does Discord work?
– Discord servers
– Discord channels
– Discord direct messages (or private messages)
– Discord group direct messages
- Why do teenagers like Discord?
- Is Discord safe for kids?
- Which parental control app is best for monitoring Discord
What is Discord?
The short answer is that Discord is a free chat app for mobile and PC. But … there’s a little more to it than that.
Discord lets users chat via text, voice, or video in real-time (as do most chat apps). What’s special about Discord though is that it blends features from other apps. For example, it offers internet-calling features, like Skype. But it also has discussion boards, like those found on Reddit.
For this reason, Discord is highly popular in online gaming communities. In fact, that’s actually why Discord was created in the first place. It started out as a way to talk with other gamers during live game play. And gamers needed a way to chat with each other without impacting performance.
However, Discord has since grown into a popular networking website for all communities. It’s not just for the ones related to gaming. People use Discord servers to chat about anime, music, television, and more. Others use Discord just for its group chat features (also known as GDMs or group direct messages).
As well, according to Discord, they don’t sell user data nor do they share data with third-parties for advertising purposes. Instead, Discord earns revenue by offering a paid subscription service that unlocks additional features.
Who can use Discord? Is there an age limit?
According to Discord’s terms of service, users have to be at least 13 years old to join. However, upon sign-up, the age verification process is easy to get around. In other words, children and adults can lie about how old they are.
Discord is made up of user-generated content. This may include swearing, graphic language, inappropriate images, and so on are common. There are channels and servers labeled as “not safe for work” or NSFW which are only meant for users aged 18 and up. However, again, the age verification process is easy to click through.
How does Discord work? Is Discord safe?
This is where things get a bit technical. There are four major “parts” to Discord.
#1: Discord servers
Discord is made up of servers, which is a fancy word for “chat groups.” There are two types of servers: public and private.
Public servers are, as the name implies, open to the public. These servers host thousands of members as they chat about popular interests like movies, anime, and so on.
On the other hand, private servers are invite-only. These are the most common type of Discord server and most host about ten to fifteen users.
Regardless, all Discord conversations require an opt-in. Users have to join a server (whether it’s public or private) to access content and interact with other users.
This is what makes Discord unique from other social media apps. There aren’t any algorithms that deliver content to a user’s feed. Instead, individuals start servers and other individuals can choose to join those servers.
What else is interesting is that users can’t search Discord for servers. Users either have to be invited, or they have to discover servers through friends, social media, and so on.
#2: Discord channels
Discord is organized into servers. Those servers are then organized into channels. Channels can either be text or voice.
Text channels let users post messages, files, and images. Voice channels let users chat with each other through voice, video, or screen share. This is sometimes called “Go Live.”
#3: Discord direct messages (or private messages)
Like other chat apps, Discord has private message functionality. These are also called direct messages, or DMs for short.
DMs let users communicate with one another through voice, video, or text. Discord doesn’t monitor DMs, and they aren’t end-to-end encrypted. Users can send files, photos, voice messages, videos, and other content to one another via DMs.
#4: Discord group direct messages
Discord lets users engage in direct messages with up to nine other people at once. This is called a group direct message, group private message, or GDMs for short.
GDMs work the same way as DMs, but with more people. You can think of this like a group chat.
Why do teenagers like Discord?
There are several reasons teenagers like Discord. Mostly, it’s the fact that Discord is packed with tons of communication tools. This includes things like call, screen share, and video chat that other apps don’t offer for free.
As well, Discord is great at facilitating communication between people with overlapping interests. Not to mention, Discord has in-game overlay options for games like Fortnite.
This lets teenagers chat in real-time with their friends as they game together. Plus, they can talk without having to have a separate chat app open in the background. In other words, there’s less switching back and forth between a chat app and a video game.
Some teenagers use Discord as a place to be social with less pressure. In this way, Discord is a place to make friends and maintain friendships. This is particularly helpful for those with long-distance friendships. Or, for those who struggle with in-person socialization.
Is Discord safe for kids?
As is the case for all other social media apps, Discord has inappropriate content. There are also cases of catfishing, cyberbullying, grooming, and other predatory behavior occurring on Discord.
The good news is that in an effort to minimize these dangers, Discord has some control features. While these aren’t exactly Discord parental controls, they can help filter inappropriate content. Discord’s privacy and security settings let users restrict some functions like:
Filter direct messages
This feature lets users choose settings to filter direct messages for explicit content.
Keep Me Safe
When you choose this setting, Discord scans all of your direct messages.
My Friends Are Nice
This setting only scans direct messages from people other than your Discord friends.
Do Not Scan
Direct messages won’t be scanned for explicit content, regardless of who sends you a DM.
Friend request settings
Users can choose who can send them a friend request on Discord. There are three options.
Anyone on Discord can send you a friend request without limitation.
Friends of Friends
Only people who are friends with your friends can send you a request.
Only people who belong to servers you also belong to can send you a friend request.
Blocking and reporting
Users can also block direct messages, block users, report user behavior, and report inappropriate content. If you block a user, they can’t send you messages, and you won’t see their posts.
Discord has general community guidelines against inappropriate and hurtful behaviors. This includes hate speech, bullying, misinformation, harassment, and others.
Discord also has a team of volunteer moderators (called “mods”). Mods enforce community guidelines, delete inappropriate content, and ban users for inappropriate behavior.
Even though Discord has security features (unlike sites like Omegle), it’s important you talk with your child about what’s safe and what’s not. For example, just because Discord has privacy settings, this doesn’t mean your child will enable them. And even if your child has these settings on, this doesn’t guarantee your child won’t encounter inappropriate content or behavior.
If your child is younger than 13, Discord may not be the best app after all. In which case, we recommend apps designed for younger children like YouTube Kids.
Which parental control app is best for monitoring Discord?
Apps for Discord parental controls like MMGuardian monitor text content sent and received across your child’s Discord messages. MMGuardian analyzes text for signs of bullying, sexting, predatory behavior, suicidal thoughts, and other sensitive topics.
If MMGuardian finds sensitive texts, you receive an automatic safety alert (if you have alerts enabled). You can then talk with your child or take action you find appropriate.
Parents can try MMGuardian Discord parental controls for free for 14 days. MMGuarian works across Android and iOS devices (like iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), even if you have a different device than your child.
Final thoughts on Discord
Discord is a great place for children to explore their interests and discover new ones. Since Discord isn’t just for gaming anymore, kids and teenagers can discuss topics like playing music, camping, bike riding, or any other hobby.
Plus, kids can socialize and chat with friends as they play games together. Overall, this can have a positive impact on children as long as parents keep a careful eye out. So here’s a quick summary of what you should know about Discord as a parent:
- Discord is a social media platform that lets users chat via text, video, and voice in private and public channels
- Although Discord is only meant for users age 13 years and up, its age verification process is easy to bypass
- Kids may be exposed to inappropriate content even if they have safety settings enabled
MMGuardian makes it easy for parents to protect their children and teenagers online. Sign up for a free 14-day trial now to stay in the know about your child’s safety. Now you don’t have to wonder “is Discord safe?” Explore MMGuardian’s features as anandroid parental control appand as aparental control app for iPhone.
Explore MMGuardian’s features as anandroid parental control appand as aparental control app for iPhone.
- Published: May 19, 2022
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Apps for Discord parental controls like MMGuardian monitor text content sent and received across your child's Discord messages.Should I let my 13 year old have Discord? ›
Common Sense Media also recommends that Discord users be at least 13 due to its open chat. Because it's all user-generated, there's the potential for plenty of inappropriate content, like swearing and graphic language and images (though it's entirely possible to belong to a group that forbids these).Can you have Discord under 13 with parental consent? ›
The COPPA rule says a child can be under 13, as long as they have parental permission and supervision, with the guardian having full management of the account.What is the best parental control app for Discord? ›
AirDroid Parental Control is a full-fledged supervision application that lets you see what your child is doing on Discord, set restrictions, and even view their chat history. This can help you keep your child safe while using Discord and ensure they are not exposed to any inappropriate content.Are Discord private chats monitored? ›
Are Discord messages private? Direct messages sent between a specific sender and recipient are private. They cannot the viewed by anyone else outside the channel. Bear in mind that if a message in a private channel gets reported, members of the Discord admin team will have access to the chat to investigate the claims.How private are Discord messages? ›
A Direct Message (or DM for short, sometimes referred to as a Private Message or PM) is a message directly from the sender to the recipient, not connected to any server. DMs cannot be viewed by anyone except the sender and the recipient, and exist in a special channel for this purpose.What happens if Discord finds out your under 13? ›
If a user is reported as being under 13, Discord will lock the user out of their account until they can verify their age with an official ID.What age should a kid get Discord? ›
It has an age-rating of 13+. How does Discord work? Users talk to each other on the platform via servers.Is Discord safe for privacy? ›
Social networks do not have a great reputation when it comes to security and privacy (to put it mildly). Being what it is, Discord is a lot safer and more private than, say, Facebook.Can you childproof Discord? ›
Parents can restrict explicit content by clicking on the “Privacy & Safety” tab in their child's Discord profile. The “Keep me safe” tab is the most conservative option, screening all direct messages for explicit content. The “My friends are nice” option scans all direct messages except those sent from friends.
Users must be at least 13 years old to use Discord, but the platform does not verify users' ages once the sign-up process is complete. A 12-year-old cannot use Discord under its user policies.What are the risks of Discord? ›
The most common risks associated with Discord are scams and phishing attacks. Scammers often create fake profiles and try to friend people to steal their personal information. They may also create fake gaming servers to trick people into joining and stealing their information.Why do kids use Discord app? ›
One popular teen usage of Discord is as a voice-chat while playing video games. While some games have their own team-speak services built in, most don't, and those that do often are not that great. Discord is an easier and higher quality option when your teen wants to talk to their friends they're playing with.Is Discord owned by Amazon? ›
Discord is a communication platform used by gamers but also by businesses, communities, and individuals for voice, video, and text chat. The platform is owned by Discord Inc. and is the brainchild of Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy.How does parental Discord affect children? ›
Self-blame and feeling responsible for parental discord are commonly seen. This may lead to the child facing self-esteem issues in the future. Being a witness to recurrent parental conflict can lead to an adolescent resorting to violence, aggression, yelling, and in extreme cases hitting, to resolve problems.Can parental controls see Discord? ›
The new settings in Discord's Family Center allow parents to know which Discord communities their teens belong to, as well as the users that their teens are friending and interacting with. The settings will not, however, allow parents access to the actual content of their teens' interactions.What can parents see on MMGuardian? ›
MMGuardian provides detailed reports of your child's SMS and iMessage text messages, chat messages from social media and messaging apps, phone calls, and web browsing, all of which you can view either in the Device Usage screen in the MMGuardian Parent App on your own phone or at the Parent Web Portal.What can the MMGuardian app see? ›
You can see every text your child has sent, received, and even deleted. MMGuardian also alerts you to potentially problematic conversations thanks to its keyword monitoring.Can MMGuardian see private browsing? ›
Android– Both apps allow parents to view their child's browsing history. MMGuardian allows parents to block or allow websites based on categories or specific URLs. They can also both monitor most browsers, including incognito modes.