Is it possible that your child is engaging in more than just our College-monitored platforms while working from home? One particular app that your child may be using is Discord. This is a very dangerous app where profanity and abusive language are standard on many Discord gaming servers. So, what is Discord?
Described as Skype for gamers, Discord has become the cool way for gamers to chat about gaming. With 19 million daily users, it is no surprise that Hillcrest students are using it too.
Discord is an application that is available across multiple platforms including PCs, Macs and mobile devices. The app allows gamers to text, voice call and video chat while playing team-based games like Fortnite Battle Royale, Overwatch and League of Legends.
Users can send direct messages to one another or listen in to larger group chats. Connecting with friends is easy. Users simply join an existing gaming server or send an email invitation to start a new one. The app uses less bandwidth than comparable voice-chat apps, which is another reason for its popularity.
However, this level of functionality also brings dangers for younger users. Profanity and abusive language are standard on many Discord gaming servers because Discord is primarily aimed at mature audiences. However, anyone aged over 13 or claims to be over 13 is able to download it. According to familyzone.com, many players are discussing mature topics like sex, violence, drugs and even white-supremacist topics. Anyone can anonymously join these chats.
Despite claims from Discord that ‘hate groups are banned’, we have found that the chats are not moderated. If chats are shut down, another quickly takes its place.
Under 13s have no business being on Discord, legally or otherwise. So that’s straightforward. As for our older kids, they need to be aware that if they are using Discord, they have the ability to set some level of protection from these unsavoury interactions by using the app’s Explicit Content Filter. While this will not prevent all dangers such as bullying, obscenity, porn or hate speech, it is a positive step toward protecting our kids online.
Familyzone.com suggests that if you are concerned about your child’s use of Discord, your first step is to read Discord’s Parent’s Guide to Discord. Keep in mind that this content was prepared by the developers for the express purpose of attracting more users.
Talk with your child; sit beside them while they give you a tour of the app and encourage them to explain how and why they use it. Help your child to set up the Explicit Content Filter, and review privacy precautions recommended by the app’s developers.
Most importantly, use parental controls to maintain balance in your child’s online activity. Gaming has a place in the life of our digital kids, but when it starts to take over, it is time to take action.
Deputy Head of Senior Learning Community