May 12, 2022

Talking about online safety with your teen

We believe that online communities can be a source of friendship, camaraderie, and belonging. At Discord, we spent some of our best teen years online talking with friends and playing games.

Many of us are parents ourselves now, so we know how difficult it can be to navigate our teens' digital lives. To have safe, engaging, and positive experiences online, it’s important for our teens to understand how Discord and other online 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 asked parents at Discord to share a few tips they use with their own teens.

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

  • The same common sense and critical thinking they use offline should be used online too. For example, only accept friend requests from people you know. If something doesn’t seem right, tell a trusted adult. Behavior that’s not okay at school is also not okay online.
  • Review Discord’s Community Guidelines with your teen and help them understand what is and isn’t permissible on Discord.
  • Review their security and privacy settings and the servers they belong to with them so they fully understand who can interact with them on Discord.

2. Talk about what content they see and share online

  • Much of our teens’ lives take place online today, including romances.
  • Sharing personal images online can have long-term consequences and it’s important for teens to understand these consequences. Help them think about what it might feel like to have intimate photos of themselves forwarded to any number of peers by someone they thought they liked or trusted. Make them aware of the risk of sharing intimate pictures with anyone.
  • Review your teen’s content filters on Discord. Have a discussion about who is on their friends list, who they’re messaging, and what information they are sharing about themselves.

3. Set limits on screen time with your teen.

  • iOS and Android operating systems offer parental controls that can help you manage your teen's phone usage if needed. Apple and Microsoft offer similar controls for computers.
  • If you are worried about how much time your teen spends online, set ground rules - for example, “no social media after 10 PM,” or “no phone at the dinner table.”

4. Try Discord for yourself

  • Most of the services that your kids use online aren’t limited to teens. You might find that you also enjoy using them, and might even find new and fun ways to communicate as a family.
  • You will also understand how these apps work from the inside, and will be more easily able to talk to your teens about staying safe online.
  • You can download Discord and create a Discord account right here.
  • We suggest asking your teen to give you a tour of Discord using your new account! Some prompts you can use to get started are:
  • Show me how to add you as a friend!
  • Show me how to create a server together.
  • Show me your favorite features.
  • Show me how you stay in touch with your friends.
  • Show me your favorite emojis or gifs.

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.

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

Parents and Teens
User Safety

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