Discord

Software Version: 221.0
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Edition: 2024

Discord, an instant messaging and chat platform, was initially designed as a communication platform for gamers. Despite its widespread popularity, there are significant risks associated with its use, especially for kids; the platform has embroiled numerous video calls and text messages – including issues related to child grooming. 

Some servers on Discord are themed around adult topics, which may expose children to inappropriate content; there have been reports of harmful and illegal content being shared on the platform.  Contact with strangers poses significant danger to children, as Discord allows anyone over the age of 13 to join public servers. This means that predators can easily contact children. They might start by chatting with kids in kid-friendly channels and then take the conversation to direct messages, which aren’t moderated.  

In hidden communities and chat rooms, adults have used Discord to groom children before abducting them or engaging in other harmful activities.  Child predators have exploited Discord for sextortion—forcing minors to produce explicit content—and even abductions. Some cases involve adults grooming children on Discord for months before committing crimes. In one instance, a teen was taken across state lines, raped, and found locked in a backyard shed after being groomed on the platform. Another case involved a 22-year-old man kidnapping a 12-year-old girl he met through a video game and groomed on Discord.  Discord has been implicated in cases where adults transmitted or received child sexual exploitation material (CSAM). At least 91 prosecutions have resulted in guilty pleas or verdicts for such offenses.   

Discord’s young user base, decentralized structure, multimedia communication tools, and recent surge in popularity make it an attractive location for those seeking to exploit children.  To mitigate these risks, parents should consider setting ground rules with their children, such as joining only private servers with known individuals and adjusting privacy settings accordingly. It’s essential to have open conversations about online safety and monitor their interactions on platforms like Discord. 

Protecting your child’s privacy and safety on Discord is an important step to ensure they are safeguarded from potential cybercriminals and to ensure that they have a safe and positive experience on the popular app. This guide will provide steps to properly configure your child’s privacy settings on TikTok. It’s encouraged to set these settings to be as private as possible and to do so with your child present to allow for open communication and questions. 

Privacy Settings

  1. Open Discord and log in to your child’s account.
  2. Select the profile icon at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Once you are on your child’s profile page, select the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. In the Account Settings, scroll down until you find Privacy & Safety and click on this option.
  5. In the Sensitive Media panel, you will see options for Direct messages from friends and Direct messages from others. You can choose to Blur or Block media that may contain sensitive content. Selections will save automatically.
  6. In the DM Spam Filter panel, you can choose how direct messages are filtered for spam.  Choices are to Filter all direct messages, Filter direct messages from non-friends, or Do not filter direct messages. Your selection will save automatically.
  7. The Sever Privacy Defaults panel allows configuration of receiving direct messages from server members. When turning this on or off, a pop-up will ask if this change should be applied to other servers where your child is also a member.
  8. Settings in the Activity Status panel control whether other Discord users can view your child’s activity. Depending on your child’s use of a social app, this may be a good time to revisit the importance of online privacy.
  9. In the Message Requests panel, you can disable message requests from server members that your child may not know personally. 
  10. Continue down the Privacy & Safety page and unselect boxes to prevent other Discord users from adding your child as a friend based on mutual servers, friends, or everyone.
  11. Go back to Settings and click on Account. Ensure that personal information has been removed and is not displayed.
  12. Scroll down to Multi-Factor Authentication to set up Two-Factor Authentication for an added level of privacy.
  13. Go back to Settings and click on Friend Requests, then deselect all options. This can help stop anyone who may target your child through their friends list or servers on Discord. 

Family Center

We strongly suggest setting up and monitoring a Family Center for social apps with your child/children. Having a healthy conversation about the internet and the risks that come with it can help keep them and their friends safe from very real dangers.