Discord is the communication platform for gamers. Players can communicate via forums, chats, voice channels on servers (as on Teamspeak), etc. Discord is now also used by other people because it combines so many functions.
Discord is mainly used by gamers to communicate with each other while playing games, either via chat or VoIP calls (Voice over IP = telephoning via Internet connection). This is done via so-called servers, which can be created free of charge. Theoretically, a school class could also open a Discord server to exchange information.
Anyone who wants to join a server needs an invitation. This is a link sent by the creator of the server. These links are either valid for a limited time or permanent. Influencers in the gaming scene mostly use permanent links to interact with their fans on their server. Other users can also be added as friends, who will then end up in a friends list. Everyone in the friends list can write in a private chat or contact each other via a voice or video call.
The software can also be connected to services like Twitch or Facebook which makes it easy to add friends. The paid premium version (“Nitro”) offers attractive features, e.g. media files can be sent faster and premium users get access to a large library of games.
Discord is an exciting platform for young people who are enthusiastic about computer games, as it is primarily the gaming community that hangs out here. It is a very easy and cheap way to stay in touch with friends and acquaintances. Communication is quasi-anonymous, as other users are not shown an email address or cell phone number.
Teenagers also use Discord to follow and interact with their gaming stars.
As in all social media platforms, content on the platform is shared by users – this also includes things that are not intended or suitable for children and young people (pornography, images and videos containing violence, etc.). Discord has specified in its community guidelines that channels with such content must be marked. An age query then appears on the user’s screen. However, it is not checked whether it is answered truthfully.
In addition, Discord offers little opportunity for parents to influence what is displayed to their child. In your own account, you can make a few settings to make the experience more secure. Theoretically, your child can change these settings at any time.
There is also a guide to account settings that can be used to protect your account and privacy. Discord‘s Parents’ Guide provides information in German about various aspects of gaming and the platform.
When communicating via public chat rooms in Discord, your child may come into contact with strangers. Discuss possible dangers (such as cybergrooming) and give tips on what your child should do if he or she finds something strange while chatting. Users can be blocked or even reported (based on their individual usage ID). It is safest if your child only chats privately with the people who have been added to their friends list.
Even though Discord is theoretically allowed at the age of 13, you should consider whether your child is mature enough to assess the possible risks and deal with them. Always remain responsive, even with older children, and check in regularly to see how things are going with Discord.