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What is Discord?

Launched in 2015, Discord is a digital space with millions of diverse communities. From small groups of old friends to huge servers with hundreds of thousands of people who connect over a shared interest. Discord isn’t a social media platform. There is no algorithm deciding what you should see, no endless scrolling, no news feed, no counting likes, no going viral. Instead, Discord is a place where everyone can be themselves and spend time with other people who share their interests. Conversations on Discord are driven only by the people you choose and the topics you pick.

Discord started by appealing to the gaming community. It offers a way for video game players to communicate with each other and develop a community outside of the games themselves. However, it has grown into a full social network with over 140 million active monthly users.

How it works

The platform works by using servers. These are set up with a particular focus or theme as a way for people to meet up online to discuss and exchange information. These servers offer both text channels, voice chat, and video chat.

Servers identified by a hashtag (#) are text channels, which are the most popular. Users share messages as well as images and GIFs.

Voice channels have a speaker icon next to them. When users join, they automatically hear ongoing conversations and can join in. Additionally, a chat function like those available in text channels lets users communicate in multiple ways at once.

Users can be invited to servers or find links online to access them. The person who set up the server usually sets some ground rules about who it is for and the expected behavior. They can also provide strict guidelines for filtering out explicit content and ensuring their moderators’ accounts are secure.

What is Discord Nitro?

Discord Nitro is a premium version of the platform. The subscription lets users customize their profiles, use a different avatar on each server, and use custom emojis anywhere. Users also have access to better quality videos, upload sizes, and more. Nitro prices vary depending on what you want to be included.

What you need to use the platform
Minimum age requirement

13 years and up unless local legislation mandates an older age. The Google Play Store has a “Teen” rating.

Discord’s privacy and security settings

Discord does not monitor every server or conversation. They do not sell your data or share it with third parties for advertising purposes.

They have added some safety measures, including:

Discord offers the following privacy and security features you can enable:

Filter inappropriate content out of direct messages

Safe Direct Messaging offers a traffic-light color-coded system to determine whether messages should be checked for inappropriate content. This can be found in the Privacy & Safety menu:

Find out more at Discord Parental controls

Report something

If you see anything suspicious or simply want to report a user, you can submit a request.

Block direct messages

You can block direct messages (DM) from other members. Click on the server’s settings and deselect the ‘Direct Messages’ option:

Alternatively, go to the account’s Privacy & Safety menu and deselect ‘Allow direct messages from server members’, which can be applied to all servers:

Choose who can add you as a friend

You can adjust friend request privileges by who can add you as a friend from the Privacy & Safety menu:

Block users

Simply click on the name of the user you want to block and select ‘block’ at the bottom of the menu.

What are the benefits of Discord?

It can be a really powerful way for teens to discover other people with similar interests and to build a community. An online community can be a source of friendship, camaraderie, and belonging.

We know how difficult it can be to navigate our teen's digital lives. To have safe, engaging, and positive experiences online, it's important our teens understand how different platforms work, and how to use them appropriately.

Online safety is about more than just which app your teen uses. Making sure they are able to think critically about their behavior online, the content they encounter, and how they interact with others will go a long way in keeping them safe. 

To help you in these conversations, we have a few tips on how to talk with your teen about online safety.

1. Let your teen know that the same rules apply online as offline.

 2. Talk about what content they see and share online

3. Set limits on screen time

4. Try Discord for yourself 

5. Third-party resources 

Many online safety experts provide resources for parents to navigate their kids’ online lives. 

ConnectSafely published their Parent’s Guide to Discord which gives a holistic overview of how your teen uses Discord, our safety settings, and ways to start conversations with your teen about their safety.

Find more information from other organizations, please go directly to their websites:

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