Is Discord Safe? Here’s What Parents Should Know About the Platform
**This blog post was updated on Jan. 5, 2021**
Have you ever wondered, “Is Discord safe?” Maybe you’ve heard your kid talking about how fun it is or you’ve seen information about it online and been curious to learn more. The communication platform is popular in the gaming community (and with kids who aren’t even gamers themselves). Discord text is similar to the productivity platform Slack, featuring chatrooms, direct messaging, voice chat, and video calls that make online gaming easier. Users can join different “servers” to chat about their favorite games, and within each server are different “channels” for discussing more specific aspects of the game.
Discord is becoming a huge place for teens to communicate — and it’s beginning to spread even beyond the gaming community. As of November 2019, the platform had over 100 million monthly users. Some teens even prefer to use it as a way to talk to their friends, more so than Facebook Messenger — or even texting. The platform has become so popular, in fact, that Samsung built it into its phones.
It’s not all fun and games on Discord, however. Cyberbullying, as well as graphic and sexual content, is popular on the platform. Servers are also open to the public, which makes it extremely easy for strangers to contact children. That’s why we are proud to be able to monitor text chat within direct messages on the platform, on Android and Amazon devices. In this post, we take a look at what parents need to know about Discord.
Is Discord Safe? Risks on the Platform
While Discord does have terms of service that aim to protect users from being harassed or bullied and a Trust and Safety team to help, there are still “adult” servers on Discord that contain graphic and sexual content. There are very few tools that prevent underage users from accessing them. While some servers will attempt to verify age, this feature isn’t actually built into Discord — it’s programmed by gamers themselves and used at their own discretion. All of this means that there are very few ways of preventing a child from joining a server that may be filled with explicit and adult content.
Another feature for families to watch out for is Discord’s direct messaging feature. If direct messages are enabled, any user can message another user, even if they don’t know each other. This opens a kid up to being solicited by strangers, potentially receiving explicit and inappropriate material. And since Discord is a platform where users publically reveal their interests, potential predators can use that information as an easy way to gain their trust. There are some controls that scan and delete explicit messages, but they can easily be disabled in the settings.
Help Protect Your Kids On Discord Text
One of the first steps a parent can take to help protect their kids on Discord is to set up parental controls. While these settings are important, they can’t account for everything. For additional support, parents should monitor their child’s online activities with Bark. Bark monitors text chat within Discord’s direct messages on Android and Amazon devices and alerts parents to potential issues, including cyberbullying, depression, suicidal ideation, threats of violence, and more. Our advanced technology doesn’t just search for keywords — it analyzes language in context that might indicate that something’s wrong.
So, is Discord safe? While it does have its fair share of issues, with the proper tools in place, those risks can be lessened significantly. In addition to Discord text, Bark monitors text messages, YouTube, emails, and 30+ different social networks for signs of digital dangers. Sign up today for a free, one-week trail to help keep your kids safe both online and in real life.
Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.