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What is Discord?

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What is Discord?

Discord is a free app for mobile and PC that lets people chat via text, voice, or video in real time. Combining the internet-calling features of Skye with Reddit-like discussion boards, it's broadened from gamers-only to a social networking site for communities of all types. Users include those with non-gaming interests like anime, TV series, music, and more. It can also be an easy-to-use group-chatting tool for friends.

How old should you be to use Discord?

Discord requires that users be at least 13 years old, although they don't verify users' age upon signup. 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.” But under-17s can still register and use the platform. The Google Play Store has a “Teen” rating.

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). Discord also has "NSFW" channels and servers that require users to be 18 or older to join (but it's easy to click through the verification).

Are there any safety features available on Discord?

Keep me safe

This setting automatically scans and deletes direct messages that may contain content that goes against its community guidelines.

To enable this setting:

  • go to ‘User settings’
  • select ‘Privacy and safety’
  • then ‘Safe direct messaging’
  • you will then need to select ‘Keep me safe’.

Be aware though that this only scans for media content and it won’t pick up text that contains inappropriate or offensive language.

Manage private messages

There are different settings available that will help manage who can contact your child on the platform. By default, your child can be sent a private, direct message (most likely referred to as a DM) by other users who are in the same server as them.

You can disable this by going to:

  • ‘User settings’
  • ‘Privacy and safety’
  • then select ‘Server privacy default’
  • move the ‘Allow direct messages from server members’ toggle to off.

Manage friend requests

You can also manage who can send your child a friend request. Being ‘Friends’ on Discord means you can communicate outside of servers. You can access this setting by:

  • going into ‘User Settings’
  • selecting ‘Privacy & Safety’
  • ‘Who Can Add You As A Friend’.

You will then be given three options to help you manage who can add them.

These include:

  • everyone – anyone on the platform can add them
  • friends of friends – selecting this means that your child will be able to receive friend requests from users who they have mutual friends with ·
  • server members – this means that your child can added by anyone who has joined the same server as them.

If you don’t want your child to receive any requests, you can deselect all three options. However, this won’t stop them from sending out friend requests.

You should make sure to talk to your child about not accepting friend requests from users they don’t know.