Discord is a free social media and chatting app that is popular with gamers, who use the platform to communicate whilst playing games. Many users enjoy chatting with and watching other gamers play and using the app to swap tips and share techniques.  Chats can be either one to one or in a group or game-specific ‘server’ (community or friend groups). Popular online games, such as Fortnite have their own official Discord channels, where fans can watch each other play and talk about the game.

With over 150 million users in more than 80 countries, Discord has become a popular platform for gamers around the world to come together. Whilst Discord is mostly associated with gamers, the platform is also used by others to chat and interact on a range of other topics, ranging from fashion to sport, with thousands of channels available. Discord is available on Apple and Android devices, as well as computers.

The minimum age recommendation for Discord is 13, however it doesn’t have any vigorous age verification methods.

Discord updated its age rating to 17+ in the Apple App Store at the request of Apple. Apple stated that the higher age rating was necessary to reflect the use of offensive language and realistic violence contained within some games used on the platform. However, Google Play still rates the content on Discord as ‘Teen’.  Despite the 17+ rating in the Apple App Store, Discords terms of service allows users to sign up to the app if they are over 13.

Find out more about age ratings in our ‘A parent and carer’s guide to age ratings of apps and games’.

Discord sells itself as “a place that makes it easy to talk every day and hang out more often”. It supports multiple forms of communication, including video calls, voice chat and text so users have numerous ways of communicating with each other. It is particularly popular with young people who use it to connect with friends and share their experiences of their favourite games. The Discord community makes gaming more interactive and social for young people, especially for those who tend to play single player games or don’t have friends to play with in person.

  • This is the user’s space where they hang out with friends. It is a designated virtual room for them and anyone they invite. Users can choose to set up servers for private groups ‘For me and my friends’ or for wider audiences ‘For a club or community’.

  • You can add friends via your phone contacts, with someone’s Discord username and tag or via a nearby scan using your mobile’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to find nearby friends.

  • Users can direct message each other in a private message. Users can also video call via their direct messages (DMs) or server’s voice channels.

  • A group conversation that requires an invite to access the group.

  • This is where users can interact with each other via chat or video.

  • This means ‘Not safe for work.’ This is used to refer to adult content on the platform. Discord have added an option for 18+ users to label their content as NSFW, meaning users will be shown a warning message before viewing the content.

  • This feature means users can easily find live audio conversations taking place on the platform.

  • Allows users to share their screen with other users via direct message or server. This function allows users to watch the real-time gameplay of another user.

  • A premium subscription service which offers users special features such as customised Discord tags, the ability to use custom emotes (static and animated emojis that users design themselves) in every server, a higher file upload cap and discounted server boosts.

  • Users within the same server community can work together to purchase a ‘Server boost’, which offers collective features and upgrades for those users.

  • Allows student users to verify their account with their school email to unlock an exclusive hub for students at their school.  This allows users to join study groups or classes through the app. 

  • Players can now voice chat with anyone on Discord directly from an Xbox, rather than just via the app.

It is recommended that parents and carers acknowledge the older age rating of 17+ used by the Apple App Store. Users on the platform are often discussing games that have a higher age rating than 13 and users are therefore exposed to more mature content. The app does have a ‘Keep me safe’ feature, which scans direct messages from everyone for explicit media content. However, users are easily able to disable this function. Users under 18 are also able to easily access the NSFW server by simply clicking ‘OK’ after receiving a warning message that it’s not suitable for users under 18. If you choose to allow your child to use the Discord app, it is worth finding out which games they are discussing and explore the age rating of these games via the PEGI website. This would give a better indication of the kinds of gaming content users would be exposed to and discussing. As with other chatting apps, it is also possible your child may stumble across inappropriate content in the form of bad language within chats. By restricting who your child can access on the platform, your child is less likely to experience language or behaviour that is not suitable for their age.  However, it should be acknowledged that your child may still be exposed to inappropriate content by their known contacts.

Discord recommends its users should be at least 13 to use the platform, but it does not offer any robust privacy settings which allow the account to be made private. This means that any users on the platform can see another user’s profile and contact them. Within the Discord app, users can interact one to one or in group chats with either people they know or with strangers. It is recommended that young people only chat with people they know in the offline world. This will help to limit the likelihood of being exposed to inappropriate content.  Younger users should use the ‘Privacy and safety’ settings to manage friend requests. If your child is using the app in a public server (chat space within the game), it is advised that you supervise them in order to establish the types of engagements they are involved in. Speak to your child about the risks of chatting with strangers and explain the importance of not sharing any personal or identifiable information with other users within chats. Encourage them to tell you if they have been asked personal questions or to chat privately.

If your child has a Discord account, it is important for you and them to be aware of what they share and the impact this will have on their digital footprint. Have a conversation with them to help them understand what is and is not appropriate for them to share and encourage them to share with their friends only. Ensure your child knows it can be difficult to keep ownership of any content once it has been shared online, as content can easily be copied and reposted without their knowledge and can then become difficult to remove from the internet.

Discord can be hugely popular with young people who love gaming. Like gaming itself, watching others game and chatting to them about it can be immersive and absorbing for young people, so they may need boundaries to stop them engaging in extended hours of chat.

There are several opportunities for users to make in-app purchases on Discord. Users can upgrade to a premium subscription called Nitro as well as purchasing server boosts.  Speak to your child about in-app purchases and ensure they understand that real money is used to make purchases within the app. Most smart devices and computers allow users to set up in-app purchasing settings within their main settings menu.  It is also important to check that the app is not linked to your bank cards or financial details.

  • Whilst there is not one main privacy setting on Discord, there are some safety settings that can be used to manage privacy. This includes managing who can send friend requests to your child.

    To manage friend requests:

    • Open the app and selectUser settings’ by clicking on your profile.
    • Choose ‘Privacy and safety’ and scroll down to ‘Who can send you a friend request’.
    • By default, all settings are set to everyone.
    • Options for ‘who can send you a friend request’ are:
      • Everyone
      • Friends of Friends
      • Server Members
  • There are several in-app safety settings you can use to make Discord safer for your child. By default, Discord allows anyone to be able to send and receive direct messages.

    To set ‘Safe direct messaging’:

    • Open the app and select ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Privacy and safety’.
    • To allow Discord to scan messages for explicit content you can choose from either:
      • ‘Keep me safe’ which scans direct messages from everyone.
      • ‘My friends are nice’ which scans direct messages from everyone unless they are a friend (default setting).
      • ‘Do not scan’ which means direct messages will not be scanned for explicit content.
    • The changes will be applied immediately.

    If you would prefer for your child to not receive direct messages you can disable this function:

    • Open the app and select ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Privacy and safety’.
    • Toggle‘Allow direct messages from server members’ to off.
    • Note: this setting is applied when users join new servers and will not be applied to existing servers.
  • Users can report and block users who may be bothering them or behaving inappropriately on the platform. Whilst it is easy to block a user, it is more complicated to report a user, as you need to submit a request to Discord with a link to the message, image or video you wish to report.

    To block a user:

    • Go to the user you wish to block by selecting the friend icon at the bottom and select the three dots icon.
    • Select their name and then select the ‘Blocked’ option or ‘Remove friend’.

    To report a user or content:

    • Firstly, ensure you have saved all the relevant message IDs and/or user IDs. Please note Discord do not accept screen shots as evidence for reporting. To find the message’s ID, right click on the message or user.
    • Select ‘Settings’ at the bottom right corner of the page.
    • Scroll to ‘App settings’ and select ‘Appearance’.
    • Toggle on ‘Developer mode’.
    • Navigate to the message you would like to report and select the three dots.
    • Scroll down to ‘Report message’ and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the request.

    Alternately you can complete Discord’s online reporting form.


  • To help limit the pressure for young people to be online and respond to messages straight away, Discord has some settings to help manage usage. ‘Activity status’ tells other users when you are online with a small green dot next to the Discord icon.

    To turn off notifications:

    • Go to the app and select ‘User settings’ by clicking on your profile.
    • Scroll down to ‘App settings’ and select ‘Notifications’.
    • Toggle off the option to ‘Get notifications within Discord.’
    • Scroll down and toggle off ‘Get notifications with your friends stream’.

    To disable ‘Activity status’:

    • Open the app and select ‘User settings’ by clicking on your profile.
    • Scroll down to ‘App settings’ and select ‘Activity settings’ and toggle to off.

Discord has developed its own designated safety centre for users to find out more about ways to keep themselves safe when using the app.

Discord has produced a guidance page dedicated to parents and carers to help them talk about online safety with their children.