Children and young people are increasingly frequenting Discord. What exactly happens there, many parents do not know – due to a lack of knowledge about the social media platform.
ost families are familiar with the well-known social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even TikTok. Parents have rather limited knowledge about the communication, gaming and video platform Discord. That parents should know as much as possible about these platforms their children are on is important. Because only then can they take necessary safety measures to protect the entire family online. Now we will tell a little about the platform, its history, and its features.
What exactly is Discord?
Discord is a communication platform that was originally used by the gaming community to exchange information while gambling. However, in recent years, the platform has expanded to include communities that exchange ideas on a variety of topics via voice, video, or text.
Anyone who wants to participate in Discord must be invited, and some of the “servers” are also open to the public. A “server” is dedicated to one main topic and has so-called “channels” below it for specific sub-conversations around the same topic. Anyone can set up a Discord server and set the rules for that specific area.
The History of Discord
Discord was first launched in 2015 by Jason Citron, a former CEO of OpenFeint, a social gaming platform. Initially designed as a communication tool for gamers, it quickly gained popularity among other communities as well. Discord has come a long way since then and now boasts over 250 million registered users worldwide.
What Are the Features of Discord?
Discord offers a wide range of features that make it an attractive communication platform for gamers and non-gamers alike. Here are some of its key features:
- Voice and video calls: Discord allows users to make high-quality voice and video calls with friends and teammates.
- Text chat: Users can create and join text channels to communicate with others in real-time.
- Screen sharing: This feature allows users to share their screens with others during calls, making it easier to collaborate on projects or show off gameplay.
- Customizable servers: Users can create and customize their own servers, which can be used to host events, discussions, and more.
- Bots: Discord supports the use of bots, which can automate tasks, moderate channels, and provide fun features like music streaming.
- Emojis: Discord has a vast library of custom emojis, which users can use to express themselves in chats.
What makes Discord so popular?
Kids and teens find Discord a place to do what they love best: Hang out with friends. Since the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, the platform became especially popular because kids and teens could meet there virtually regardless of any Corona rules. In addition, Discord is not as “mainstream” as other social networks and is probably therefore still out of parents’ sight.
Talking to kids about online safety
Discord is comparable to the AOL chat rooms that parents may remember from earlier Internet times. AOL offered a variety of chat rooms there, and there were different interest areas for groups to talk in. Some of these areas were completely adult-only, while others were more for adults.
Parents have many opportunities to steer children in the right direction. Have a conversation about the pros and cons of social media and online communities, and show your kids productive ways to participate in these communities.
Tips for keeping kids safe online
- Educate about privacy and lack of encryption.
“Privacy policies” at Discord are in no way comparable to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The company and its servers are located in the USA, so when using it, users consent to their own data being processed and passed on there. The messages sent via Discord are also not end-to-end encrypted, which is now guaranteed even with most popular messenger services (e.g. WhatsApp, Signal, etc.).
- Talk openly about dubious experiences
Try to talk about experiences on Discord together with the children. Have there been chats involving nude pictures or other inappropriate topics? Tell them about questionable experiences you’ve had on the Internet and keep the conversation open with them – children should know that they can turn to their parents with any problems.
- Use strong passwords
Talk to kids about strong passwords by sitting down at the beginning of the school year and setting a new password for all important accounts. A strong password is part of basic account protection – even on Discord.
- Don’t go online without security software
Advanced antivirus and privacy protection protects privacy and prevents malware while keeping stalkers and advertisers from tracking kids’ online activity.