Is discord safe for your kids?

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Discord is a chat app—it's a bit like AOL Instant Messenger meets Slack. But unlike either of those apps, Discord connects directly to game systems like PlayStation, Xbox, Twitch, and Steam … which makes it incredibly popular with gamers of all ages. 

Here's what you need to know about Discord, and whether it's safe for your family.

How does Discord work?

Users can chat on Discord in two ways:

  1. Through private messages with one or more people
  2. With an array of other people in group chat rooms called servers

Chats can happen through text, audio, or video, too. 

Anyone may set up a Discord server based around a particular topic—there could be a server for everyone in your child's algebra class, or for Fortnite players. There are even servers dedicated to NSFW (not suitable for work) content—aka inappropriate for minors. 


But if your child joins public servers focused on adult topics, or meant for over-18 users, then they could encounter inappropriate content. 

Is Discord private?

Discord isn't fully private by default—other people can look up your child's account by username, and public conversations that happen in server channels are visible to every other member in that space.

And because Discord connects to game platforms, it can reveal information including:

  • Your child's username on Xbox, Steam, and the like
  • When your child is playing a game
  • When they were last active in the Discord app
  • What games they like to play

However, if your child sticks to private conversions—and you implement some of Discord's privacy controls—you can make the app a little less revealing. 

Does Discord have parental controls?

Yes, Discord has parental controls. This feature is part of the app's Family Center. Through this portal, you'll:

  • See a feed of your teen's activity on Discord, including any new friends, servers they've joined, and the number of (and names of) users they messaged or called through the app
  • Get weekly activity summaries via email
  • Be able to report content, block users, and limit friend requests

However, it's important note that you won't be able to:

  • Remove your child from servers or private/group messages
  • Read the content of your teen's private messages or group chats

Family center gives the whole family access to the same portal, too—so once you add your kids, they'll be able to log in and see what kind of information gets passed from your account to theirs. 

This means that it's probably going to be helpful to have open conversations with your kids about how to use Discord safely … and why you want to keep an eye on their activity. 

By making your kids an active part of staying safe while gaming and chatting, you can make their experience feel less like "my family's spying on me" and more like "I'm glad I know I can go to my folks if something scary happens." 

For help getting that conversation started, check out our guide to talking to your kids about staying safe online.

If your child only joins age-appropriate servers or chats with real-world friends, then they'll be more likely to have a safe and fun experience on Discord.

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