Discord presents itself as a platform where individuals can freely share their interests, devoid of algorithms dictating their content. Users drive the conversations and content, but despite the myriad of voices present, Discord still enforces community guidelines to safeguard against hateful behavior, threats, and harassment.
Discord, as a pseudo-anonymous chat room site, poses several risks to children. These risks include cyberbullying, sexting, exposure to mature content, predatory sexual behavior, solicitation, and even identity theft through the manipulation of children to disclose sensitive information.
To ensure Discord safety for children, it is worth utilizing various safety features found in Discord’s account settings. With these features, you can selectively block content, and direct messages, and control the type of friends you can connect with on your account.
#1 Filter Explicit Content
Parents can limit explicit content by accessing the “Privacy & Safety” tab in their child’s Discord profile. The “Keep me safe” tab provides the most conservative choice, as it filters all direct messages for explicit content.
The “My friends are nice” option scans all direct messages, except for those sent by friends. The “Do not scan” option does not perform any explicit content checks on messages.
#2 Disable Direct Messages
To turn off Direct Message (DM) settings in Discord, parents can choose to enable safe direct messaging or block direct messages completely. When the child logs into Discord, they should go to the settings gear icon, click on Privacy & Safety, and scroll down to “Server Privacy Defaults.”
Afterward, switch off the option “Allow direct messages from server members.” A prompt will then appear asking if you want to apply this change to all existing servers.
#3 Install Parental Controls
When we think about child protection, we immediately think about parental control. Maybe, a safe Discord may be just our dream, but it really can be made safer for teens and children. There are external security tools, like VeePN, and built-in utilities. Parental controls on Discord help a lot, as it prevents most risks for the child even before they appear on the horizon. With this technology, you can manage screen time, limit access to questionable content, etc.
How to set up Discord parental controls step-by-step:
- Open your teen’s Discord app and go to “User Settings”.
- Choose “Family Center” from the options.
- Generate the QR code located in the “Connect with Parent” section.
- On your phone (as the parent), go to the Family Center in Discord.
- Select “Connect with Teen” and scan the QR code.
- Once your teen accepts the request, you will be able to see their activity in the Family Center on your app.
#4 Block Unknown Users
Teach your children to avoid engaging with strangers online and demonstrate how to block unfamiliar accounts. In a DM chat, kids can click on a person’s username to access their profile. From there, the child can click on three dots in the top right corner and select “Block.”
#5 Only Join Verified, Age-Appropriate Servers
Encourage children to exclusively join public servers that have been verified. You can identify verified servers with verification badges located at the top left corner, resembling a checkmark. These badges demonstrate the server’s affiliation with a noteworthy business, brand, or public figure. Additionally, ensure that a vigilant moderation team actively monitors the servers your child has joined. Click on “Server Settings,” then “Members,” and search for at least one member with a crown next to their name.
#6 Organize Secure Access
Ensure that your child has a strong password (i.e. unique, long, and complex) and links it to a two-factor authentication (2FA) code method, like SMS or an authenticator app.
Aura’s password manager offers browser extensions and cross-device sync, automatically adding and syncing account and password details across all supported devices to avoid the need to memorize (and potentially forget) usernames and passwords.
#7 Teach Your Child Basic Internet Protection Skills
Parents should educate their kids on identifying and steering clear of phishing links and downloads containing malware. Additionally, parents should urge their children to report any direct messages received from strangers.
Discord staff impersonators, seeking to hijack the child’s account or obtain sensitive information, are among the ill-intentioned individuals who may befriend your child.
#8 Prepare for Unforeseen Events
Discord should be alerted to any instances of harassment, spam, or abuse. It is crucial to provide detailed information, enabling Discord to take action against users who violate their guidelines.
Gather and submit screenshots of the chat, pictures, videos, user IDs, and other IDs about specific messages and channels. If you wish to report a particular message on your iOS device, hold down the message and select “Report.”
Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the platform’s functions. Involve your child in the safety discussion, explaining the importance of online safety and avoiding inappropriate conversations with strangers. You can also actively monitor your child’s Discord usage, including the conversations they have on the platform.