Parental monitoring is finally added to the popular chat service “Discord” for teens

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Discord has finally introduced parental supervision into the locker rooms of its teen-popular chat service.

Discord has finally introduced parental supervision into the locker rooms of its teen-popular chat service.

This free messaging platform has long had a Wild West reputation for gamers, growing to 150 million monthly active users since 2015. Two years ago, the company stepped up its efforts to crack down on its site against child predators and block minors from viewing it. porn. It fell short of offering the kind of monitoring features that competitors TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat offer. But with feedback from parents and digital media professionals, Discord has given parents new visibility.

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This free messaging platform has long had a Wild West reputation for gamers, growing to 150 million monthly active users since 2015. Two years ago, the company stepped up its efforts to crack down on its site against child predators and block minors from viewing it. porn. It fell short of offering the kind of monitoring features that competitors TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat offer. But with feedback from parents and digital media professionals, Discord has given parents new visibility.

Parents can now see details such as who their teen has befriended, when they have messaged friends, how many have called, communities they have joined, and more. Discord is not intended for use by children under the age of 13.

As with other social media platforms, the company does not share child-directed message content with parents.

Clint Smith, Chief Legal Officer, who oversees Discord’s trust and safety team, said, “We decided not to publish the content of our messages because we want to give teens more control over their experiences. ‘He said.

The company also doesn’t offer time limits or other basic parental controls found on other platforms. (Parents can configure these using built-in tools on iOS and Android.)

Parents who create their own Discord accounts and connect with their teens can access Family Center tools that provide information about their child’s activities. The teen must open Family Center settings and share her QR code with a parent to accept parental supervision requests.

Over the years, many parents have complained on Discord that child predators have involved their children on the platform. Anyone can create private chat groups, aka “servers”, and post messages, videos and photos on the platform. Porn is easily accessible on some servers.

Smith said the company is conducting focus groups and listening sessions with parents beginning in late 2021 through a partnership with the National Association of Parents and Teachers. “The most common question they ask is, ‘What is my girlfriend’s teen doing on her Discord?'”

He said he hopes the information parents now have access to will spark conversations about what their children are doing on the platform. Parenting experts often say that open dialogue with children is key to helping them develop responsible online habits.

Child safety was the second most common non-spam policy violation in Q4 2022, after regulated or illegal activity, according to Discord’s latest transparency report. The next report is due out later this month.

Discord is also working on a machine learning system that can identify predatory behavior in users’ chats. The company has updated its policy to clarify that Discord will take action against adults and teens who engage in predatory behavior by suspending their accounts and reporting them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. . Teens who disagree with Discord’s findings can appeal.

AI-generated images have become so realistic that Discord has updated its policy to not allow AI-generated images in sexual images of minors. The app also clarifies that it does not allow teen dating servers.

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Email Julie Jargon (Julie.Jargon@wsj.com).

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