Failure of Safety Settings

Discord’s Safety Settings Fail to Protect Children

Here are screenshots of parent reviews:

 

 

Discord has also struggled to protect children who use their platform from being targeted and contacted directly by adult predators. These bad actors are notorious for using and abusing online gaming systems and social media sites like Discord to befriend and then prey on vulnerable young people. One extreme case ended with two teenage boys being trafficked and held hostage for over a year after being groomed on Discord. A review of Discord from a concerned parent said this about the platform:

“Seriously poor protection for children. Firstly lets dispel the myth that your child on here is safe as they can block people and only be found by people they choose to link with. They meet these ‘people’ on games who befriend them there and from there send them to discord groups and invites therefore bypassing the invite system. My child has gotten involved with a group who are far beyond the realms of any decency and the conversations people were having with my 14 year old have made me sick. I am just glad I have found out in time to try and prevent any further psychological problems. He has been slowly groomed and I guess it could have been only a matter of time before something dangerous happened. I would seriously not recommend this to any child or parent until it gets some sort of filters and security in place to stop people creating and running these sort of perverted and deviant groups.”

Here are just a few examples of children being groomed and abused through Discord:

  • A 12 year old girl was groomed for over two months and manipulated into leaving her California home in the middle of the night by a 40 year old predator.
  • Two teenage boys were found in a sex trafficking ring where the traffickers used Discord to contact the victims.
  • A 22 year old man was arrested when a 12 year old girl he had been talking to on Discord disappeared with him in a car.
  • Several predators groomed a 12 year old boy by sending him explicit messages and even calling him over a period of six weeks, before his mother found out and deleted Discord.

Screenshots:

 

IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED:

  1. Develop and implement parental controls, so parents can monitor and streamline their child’s experience on Discord and ensure basic safety is being met.
  2. Automatically default minor-aged accounts to the highest level of safety and privacy available on the Discord platform.
  3. Automatically ban any minor-aged account from joining servers that contain NSFW content.
  4. Develop and implement moderation strategies that proactively detect and remove pornography—especially in regard to servers dedicated to trading hardcore and non-consensual material.
  5. Provide education to all users and parents on the potential harms and risks associated with exploitation and abuse on Discord, and feature prominent reporting processes on all forms of Discord’s interface.
 

Comments are closed.