Discord App Review: A Guide for Parents
Welcome to our Discord app review for parents. Continue reading or find a table of contents to your right:
If you’ve never heard of Discord before, you’re not alone.
Despite barely being 4 years old, the app already has over 250 million registered users. Most of whom are gamers.
If your child is a gamer, more than likely they’re using Discord.
But, what is it? And if it’s so popular how come I haven’t heard of it?
In this Discord app review, we’ll go over these questions, as well as many more.
We’ll also talk about how you can manage the time your child spends on the app, and make sure they stick to your guidelines.
Let’s get started.
What Is Discord?
Discord is a free-to-use voice and text communications app that can be used on almost every platform.
The vast majority of its users play video games, and Discord is starting to build up its platform to offer more rewards for gamers by partnering with gaming manufacturers.
On Discord, users can create what’s known as a server which is only accessible through a specific invitation link.
Within this server, people are free to communicate in text or voice channels dedicated to different purposes.
For example, someone might make a server based around their favourite game.
Inside the server, there may be a general text channel, a place to specifically talk about the game, an area where users can discuss their favourite anime and even a section to post memes.
Alongside this, they’ll include a few voice channels to make it easier to communicate and share ideas.
All of these channels can be locked to certain members of the server, depending on their rank, and moderators are able to keep an eye on the type of content that is posted.
Discord is incredibly easy-to-use, available everywhere, and offers a much-needed service to gamers around the world.
No wonder it’s so popular!
What Do Parents Need to Know?
In this section, we’ll give you a brief overview of the main elements you should be aware of in order to be able to keep your child safe on the app.
Discord plays an important role in your child’s social life
Imagine if you were able to instantly connect, chat and share whenever you wanted with all of your friends. Now imagine you’re not just limited to friends, but can easily communicate with anyone interested in all of your hobbies. Therefore, if you’re trying to limit your child’s screen time by restricting gaming, you need to consider how they will react to their social life being taken away.
Discord states that their app is only for those aged 13 and up, and if you want to view adult content you have to verify your age. However, like most of these services, a simple checkbox bypasses any block that might be in place. This leads nicely into our next point.
Discord is home to a large amount of adult-only content
Firstly, we’re not saying that your child is going to stumble upon porn as soon as they download the app. The issue is, a large number of servers include an NSFW (not safe for work) channel for people to share graphic images and videos. This isn’t something you’re going to find on the majority of popular servers such as Fortnite , PUBG, or anime. But once you delve a bit deeper into more niche topics, it’s very easy to find.
Want to keep your children safe online? Our friends at Covenant Eyes provides device accountability and monitoring.
See what games your child is playing
As long as your child hasn’t disabled it in the settings, their current activity is visible to all of their friends and servers. It might say “currently playing Fortnite” or “listening to Spotify”. As a result, if you’re friends with your child on Discord (which we’d highly recommend), you can monitor their activity much more easily.
The app is free-to-use, but…
That little b-word always makes its way in somewhere. Users can access 99% of all Discord features for free, but there’s also an option to subscribe for $4,99/m to Discord Nitro. This enables people to share server and game-specific gifs and emojis, as well as a unique username and animated profile picture. Only a small portion of the userbase subscribes to Nitro, but as more and more games are offering exclusive features to Discord users, that may change in the future.
How Can I Make Discord Safer for My Children?
This is a question we see all the time in our Facebook Support Group for Parents.
The problem is, there isn’t a simple answer – Discord is as safe as you let it be.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s possible for your child to come across graphic imagery, regardless of how careful they are.
There are a number of servers which could introduce your kids to a very toxic environment, and that’s something we want to avoid.
Here’s what we’d recommend for a parent trying to make Discord a better environment for everyone:
- Have an honest discussion with your child about staying safe online, and understand why they’re using Discord. Don’t be confrontational with them, just let them know online safety is a family value.
- Make an account and take some time to familiarise yourself with the app. Try joining some servers by doing a Google search of “game + discord server”. Note: This will require you to download the app on your smart device or computer.
- If you’re worried that your child is spending too much time playing video games, let them know you’re interested in learning more about Discord and want to be their friend. It’s possible that they will be hesitant at first, but assure them you won’t join any of their servers, you just want to become more invested.
Unfortunately, aside from the few things I just mentioned, there isn’t much more you can do to monitor or limit your child’s Discord time.
There’s always the option of talking to your internet provider about app/website blocking, or time monitoring. But, that might be too extreme for some people.
You can look into Covenant Eyes, Bark, K9 Web Protection, Circle, or Family Zone for help with that.
If your child’s Discord use has got out of control or they have had their account hacked, you may need to delete your Discord account.
Final Word: Discord App Review
Like with most apps, the issue isn’t with the program itself, it’s with the people that use it.
If you let your child join servers full of random people, then soon enough they’ll come across something they shouldn’t see.
If, however, you manage their time on the app responsibly, then it can be a healthy and effective way for your child to communicate with their friends.
An increasing number of parents are worried about how to raise their child in a world dominated by gaming. If you’re one of them, check out our article about How To Raise Successful Kids That Play Video Games.
The article is a summary of a recent interview with Jordan Shapiro, author of The New Childhood, and it’s a fantastic resource that every parent should look at.
If you found this Discord app review helpful, be sure to share it with other parents who are concerned.