Is Discord safe for kids? An app safety guide for parents

Qustodio Team

Qustodio Team

Experts in digital safety

teenage boy using Discord on computer


Once upon a time, Discord was the refuge of gamers only: somewhere for them to chat, strategize, and relay tactics mid-game. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and everything changed.

Discord had 56 million users at the end of 2019, but by the fall of 2021, that number had exploded to 150 million as gamers and non-gamers alike started using the platform to connect with loved ones and maintain a sense of community – in the absence of real-life opportunities. Today, the platform has an estimated 614 million registered users.

Discord is particularly popular among Gen Zers. According to our 2023 report on children’s tech habits, Discord was the number one communication app in the US, where under-18s spent an average of 31 minutes a day on the platform. 

With so many young fans, Discord is now firmly on parents’ radar. Like with most apps, there are potential risks that we need to be aware of before deciding whether or not Discord is safe for our kids. 

What is Discord?

Founded in 2015, Discord is a real-time chat platform originally designed to make it easier for gamers to talk to each other while playing.

The platform lets friends chat via voice, video, or text, and join communities called servers. A private server is similar to a group chat and is a place for communicating with friends. A public server is more like a subreddit or Slack channel where users congregate to chat about a common interest, game, or literally anything else. The biggest Discord community at the time of writing is the Midjourney server which has over 17.5 million members!

Because of its appeal to the younger generations, and the diversity of its users and communities, many parents are concerned about the type of people their children can interact with on the platform.

Why do kids and teens like Discord?

If your child is a gamer, it’s almost a given that they use Discord. The platform makes it easy for them to talk with their friends during gameplay, interact with game-specific channels, organize gaming sessions, and more. 

But Discord isn’t just for gamers. 

Teens use private chats for everything from working on school projects to watching Netflix together. They can share files easily and chats can be accessed from their desktop, laptop, phone, tablet – you name it!

Public chats can also be incredibly useful for teens as they can be a fast resource for academic help, as well as places for them to indulge their passions with others who are just as obsessed with that thing as they are.

Also, Discord is free to use! There are subscription options but the free version is fine for most people.

What’s Discord’s age rating?

Discord’s terms of service states that users must be 13 and over to use the platform. But as they simply have to enter their date of birth when creating an account, there’s nothing to stop someone younger from lying about their DOB.

The platform promises to delete any accounts reported to be owned by underage users – unless they verify they are over 13 with official documentation. 


Teenage girl using Discord


Is Discord safe for my child?

While users as young as 13 can use the platform, Discord was designed for grown-up gamers – and not children. So, whether you’ve found out that your child is using Discord or they want to sign up, there are a few potential safety issues you need to be aware of.

NSFW content

If a server contains inappropriate or 18+ content, the owner must label it NSFW (not safe or suitable for work). But, as we all know, this kind of warning does nothing but pique the interest of young eyes who can access the server without much trouble. 

Sexual and racist language in chats

Conversations in both private and public chats can get pretty provocative. Anyone who’s ever gamed online (or used Twitter/X!) knows the kind of abuse that can get thrown at you seemingly for no reason, and if it’s left unchecked, it can develop into cyberbullying

Strangers can connect with your child

By default, members of the same server can DM each other without them being accepted as friends. This is particularly worrying for parents as predators can easily find out your child’s interests and exploit them to foster a connection. 

Discord’s privacy settings allow you to disable or filter DMs – but your child can easily change these.

Extremist servers

In its early days, Discord was a haven for Alt-Right groups to spout hate speech, plan rallies, and recruit members. This came to a head in 2017 when it was revealed that white supremacists had used the platform to organize the fatal Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, U.S. Nowadays, the platform takes a firm stance against violent extremism, but we’d be naive to think that the problem has completely disappeared. 

Discord safety tips for parents 

Even though there are some risks, Discord is one of the safer communication options out there – especially when compared with apps like Kik and Snapchat

If your child is using, or wants to use, Discord, here are a few safety tips to help them have a healthy experience on the platform. 

1. 13 + only

After using it ourselves and hearing other parents’ opinions on the app, we agree with Discord’s minimum age of 13. If your child sticks to age-appropriate servers and ignores those labeled NSFW, they can avoid content meant for more mature eyes. 

If you want to make sure that your pre-teen stays off Discord, at least until they’re older, consider using a parental control tool like Qustodio to block access to the app.  

2. Talk to your child about online stranger danger

Sexual predators and data thieves are increasingly finding victims on social platforms like Discord. They tend to strike up conversations designed to build up trust through common interests and build up to asking for photos or personal information. Make sure your child is aware of the risks involved when connecting with strangers online and what to do if they think they’ve become a victim. If you’ve never broached the subject with your child before, this is a good place to start: How to talk to your child about online predators.

3. Approve each server your child joins

Servers and their channels can vary wildly in appropriateness. By checking those your child is interested in, you can see the type of language used and content shared, as well as the server’s safety settings, i.e. if direct messaging is blocked, and if NSFW material is monitored. 

Many kids won’t like seeking approval whenever they join a new server, but this can be a condition you both agree upon before allowing them to use Discord. 

4. Protect them with privacy settings

Discord has some useful Privacy Settings that can help your child have a safer time on the platform. We recommend blocking DMs from server members as this will prevent contact from anyone who isn’t on your child’s friend list. You can also disable friend requests from server members and other users who know your child’s Discord username – and just allow requests from friends of friends, for example. 

If someone has slid into your child’s DMs unwarranted, you can block them by clicking their @Username to bring up their profile, pressing the three dots in the top right, and selecting Block.

Make sure your child knows how to do this too!

Discord’s Teen Safety Assist initiative is designed to keep teen users safe by issuing safety alerts when they receive a DM from a sender for the first time. The alert encourages them to double-check if they want to reply and provides links to block the user or view more safety tips to safeguard themselves. By default, Teen Safety Assist is enabled for all teen users and cannot be turned off.

Does Discord have parental controls?

The platform has its own parental control feature called Family Center which allows parents and caregivers to monitor their kids’ activity on the app. Parents simply have to create an account of their own and link it with their child’s, then they’ll be able to see who their child is messaging, new friends they’ve added, and the servers they’ve joined. Parents can’t read their teen’s conversations.

Although the feature is useful, your teen must voluntarily opt into connecting to Family Center and they can disconnect at any time.  So, an agreement must be made with your teen for it to be beneficial.

In conjunction with Discord’s safety features, Qustodio can help safeguard your teen by allowing you to:


  • Monitor the time they spend on the platform 
  • Set time limits for its usage 
  • Block the app from being opened
  • Receive an alert when they first use Discord
  • Pause the internet at the push of a button

Is Discord safe for kids? Qustodio’s verdict

Although it was originally developed for adult gamers, Discord has become one of the most popular communication platforms for teens thanks to its usability and plethora of communities. 

We agree with Discord’s minimum age requirement of 13; and while there are safety risks that parents need to be aware of, we believe the platform is one of the better communication options out there for teens. Discord’s Teen Safety Assist and Family Center, as well as some well-chosen privacy settings, can help your teen have a safe experience on the platform. 

As useful as these safety features are, however, they do require your teen’s cooperation. That’s why we recommend having an open conversation with your teen and coming to an agreement on how they may use Discord. 

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