Discord started in 2015 as a communication platform for gamers. It’s now a sprawling hub of active servers where users can do everything from online dating to AI art creation. It goes much further than text and image-based chats. Discord users are able to form intimate connections with each other through live broadcasts of their audio and video, as well.
Anyone 13 or older is allowed to sign up, and parents are right to be concerned about who their children are befriending. According to NBC News, predators use the app to groom, kidnap, and extort minors as well as share child sexual abuse materials.
Discord’s new family center is a step toward protecting those young users, but it won’t prevent every instance of child exploitation, especially for teens whose parents are too busy to monitor their online activity. Other social media companies, like Snapchat, have also released security tools for parents.
Curious about signing up alongside your teen for this new safety tool? Here’s how to set up Family Center on Discord and a breakdown of what information is provided to parents.
How Do I Set Up Family Center?
As a parent, you will need to sign up for your own account before you can start using Family Center. Confused about how Discord works, exactly? Our beginner’s guide has tips to help you get started and navigate around (Android, Apple.)
After you’ve created an account, consider talking with your child about the importance of online safety and why these security settings are important. For Family Center to work, both the parent’s and the child’s account must opt in.
Go to User Settings, and then choose Family Center. Here, your teen will need to share a time-sensitive QR code for you to scan and complete the activation process. QR codes can be regenerated, if multiple parents want to sign up for Family Center.
What Information Do Parents Receive?
Once Family Center is activated, parents can use the Discord app to see who their teens added as friends in the past week. The tool also lists all of the servers they just joined and the servers they actively participate in. Whoever the teen called or messaged, whether directly or by group chats, is included as well.
You can check on this information during the week inside of the app, and Discord will send you an email every week with a summary of the data. Keep in mind that an archive of this activity isn’t available to you in the long term, so parents should save these weekly emails.
Does This Let Me Read Their Messages?
Nope! Even though parents are now able to see who their teens are chatting with on Discord, whatever is happening in their DMs, voice calls, and video chats remains hidden.
It can be quite hard for parents to balance giving their child more autonomy as they mature and the necessity of online safety precautions. Parents of teenagers who use Discord should consider activating Family Center, even if it doesn’t provide complete peace of mind. For more parenting advice, check out WIRED’s guide to the basics of protecting your kids online.