Discord and How it's PERFECTLY Safe for 13+ as intended (guide for parents like my own):
I've been using Discord for almost three years and here's what I've understood about Discord. I was an early Hypesquad member (back before it was made available to everyone and it had all that weird faction stuff) and I am an Early Supporter of Discord.
Discord is an application that you can access by downloading it through the App Store/Google Play Store on your phone, downloading the application for your PC/Mac through Discord's website (discordapp.com), or simply accessing it on the web browser edition, through the miracle it calls a website. (I use the web browser edition myself because I use a Chromebook to access my social medias. I do not enjoy using mobile Discord at all on my Chromebook or even on a phone (it sends too many notifications for me to handle). I do have a computer that I could potentially use for Discord, but its use is only for my art, because of it's slowness and small keys that are unfit for fast typing.
Discord is a chat for gamers, it proclaims! I agree it is, depending on who you are and what you prefer using it for. Discord, in reality (from my perspective), is more than just a chat for gamers. It has the key features of being a gaming chat application, but many use it for more than just that. Some use it to get together with people with similar interests (TV shows, Movies, Music...anything you could think of), uniting communities together (MANY, MANY Youtubers use Discord to get closer and more in touch with their fans through Discord "servers") or friends just making "servers" for the pure fun of just talking their close friends.
It's just like any other chatroom, really. It's nothing special other than being amazingly modern compared to other platforms like Skype, Chatzy or Teamspeak...to name a few.
For any parents likeminded to my own, you are still wanting to throw down the ban hammer on Discord's head and keep your children as far away from it as possible, because it's labeled as a chatroom. I understand, there are many dangers on the internet that worry many parents. Pedophiles, Cannabalists, Kidnappers, Murders and anything you can poke a stick at. You fear that your child could possibly be the next victim to this horrible reality, so what is your simple solution? Burn every bridge that could make this even remotely possible. With that simply, your child is safe as you'd like to tell yourself.
But, from my perspective, Discord is safe and here are 6 reasons why:
1. Your child's account can only be found if you insert a specific set of characters.
With Discord, you automatically have very high security on your account. Your account comes with something called a "discord tag", which is a number sign with a set of four numbers at the end of your username (Example: FortniteFan!#8930). No one can find your account unless you give out your username and discord tag personally. Then again, if someone finds your account (out of luck or from a Discord "server") you have the choice to accept them as a friend or ignore- just like Facebook!
2. People cannot talk to you unless you accept them as a friend.
This is a default setting in your Discord options, but you can change them. There are many things you can do in the options of Discord- like block sexually explicit content!
3. Discord servers are not as easily accessible as normal chatrooms.
Servers are the communities of Discord, it's what Discord's all about. This is where the chatroom portion contributes into Discord...and where the many worries about Discord come up. But, as I said before...Discord servers are what Discord is all about, embrace it! There are not many people who talk to you strangely in Discord severs unless they want to get banned. Then, if someone's randomly trying to be your friend from that server and you've literally never talked to them before...don't accept the request.
To begin, you can create a server or join one, whichever you fancy---but there's a catch. If you are joining a server, you MUST be invited to the server by someone who is already in the server with a link that has NOT expired (they can last 1 day to just never expiring ever-- unless the owner deletes the invite from the server settings) and/or used already (you can set limits on this---but the owner can still delete your invite either way). Without a server link, you cannot join the server (and that's if the owner didn't turn off the "create invite" button). You cannot automatically join a Discord server without your knowledge, because with the invite link you are taken to another tab that confirms you are joining this server--- so basically, you consent to whatever you're getting yourself into.
4. Discord servers with +5,000 people in it could be dangerous...but they're not.
If you join a server created by a Youtuber and they decide to post an invite link onto their channel, many people from around the world...including (maybe) yourself join! The join numbers rack up fast after that. This is more of the large scale type of chatroom that seems risky for anyone who glimpses over it. There are millions of different kinds of channels on Discord which means anything could be hiding in those channels...which brings me to my next topic in this section. (Channels are categories separated by number signs specialized for a specific topic....in my server I have a channel called #videos where you post videos and conversate about them. I have another called #art where you post your art for everyone to see.) At the beginning of Discord's days, they didn't have this feature I'm about to mention...but now they do! It's the NSFW Channel feature! When making a channel, you insert the name of your channel and then there's another option listed below that says: "NSFW Channel". With this, you answer yes or no...without the yes or no- just white which signifies no or blue which signifies yes. If your channel is called #NSFW, your channel is automatically marked as NSFW. Before anyone can enter these channels (and I mean ANYONE from 13 to 1,007 years of age) they're asked if they're over 18. They tell you that there's adult content ahead. If you consent to it by pushing the "Proceed." button then that's your own fault for possibly getting caught looking at...odd Fortnite...and Minecraft...porn? Yuck, that's a sticky situation, good luck explaining that to Mom! If you avoid the channel and mute it like a good kid (which you can do with all channels and whole entire servers), then you're all good!
5. Private group chats and how to deal with those.
With private group chats, anyone in your friends' list can add you into one of these. The maximum users of a group chat are 10 users. If you do not want to be in a group chat, you could simply leave and explain to your friend why you left. If you're the owner and you don't like how someone is acting, you can kick them from the group chat. (You can also do that in your owned servers! You can also ban there too, but not in group chats.)
6. What to do if you run into a sketchy person.
First of all, if they are Direct Messaging you on Discord...that's your own fault for letting them into your friends' list. Maybe you deserve it. If this happens directly in a big server, they'll be banned if you inform a Moderator or the owner about it then, (most of the time) they will make an announcement about the person and to avoid them at all costs (I have seen this in a server because they @everyone'd the server about it). If the sketchy person doesn't leave you alone, block them (hides every message they've sent and they can't contact you anymore) or contact Discord themselves via. email or Twitter. They always respond on Twitter- even to stupid and silly stuff. (I've said, "I love you." to their Twitter account and they replied, "I love you too!" about an hour later.) Discord is one of the most understanding organizations out there and they are always there to help! They would especially help in a situation like this.
Those are the top 6 things that came to my head in an instance when I thought about what makes Discord safe. Hopefully, I have painted a wonderful picture of how well done Discord has done with its application to make it safe for everyone to use.