Discord started off as a small chatting platform for gamers to stream their games to close friends and chat with them. The platform enables users to find like-minded people to chat with on text or voice channels. Besides, there are tons of fun activities that you can enjoy with your friends.
When more and more people started knowing about Discord, the number of members surged tremendously, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every kind of person joining the platform raised many red flags because of no controls by Discord.
So, Discord suddenly became home to predators and abusers who used this platform to sexually exploit and abuse others, especially minors.
Grooming anywhere online is a process where a predator gains a child’s trust with the intention of sexually exploiting them. These predators seek minors on many platforms, like Discord. Online predators manipulate minors to gain their trust to sexually exploit them. Eventually, they blackmail and even abuse children with the material they gathered through manipulations.
Let’s explore more on this subject to help our children know the red flags to avoid being exploited and blackmailed by predators on Discord.
The Risk of Online Grooming on Discord
Social media is an integral part of our lives, especially younger people who live and breathe on their socials. After the COVID-19 pandemic, social media platforms saw a colossal rise in users. One platform that flourished specifically during the pandemic was the VoIP platform, Discord.
Discord is the chatting platform where gamers generally find like-minded people to share their game or chat with. After the pandemic, it became a hotspot for non-gamers due to its fun and exciting features. When Discord’s community grew, it attracted every kind of person, including online predators.
The objective of an online predator is to exploit people, especially women and minors, sexually, to coerce and abuse them. This process is called online grooming, where the predator gains the child’s trust for sexual purposes.
When predators use grooming tactics, they manipulate the child to lower their guard to open themselves to them. After winning their trust and gaining enough data, they make their next move.
These predators start by trying to win the trust by discussing things like fears or perhaps how controlling their parents are. They also try to gauge the parents’ or caretakers’ involvement in the child’s online activities before making their next move.
Once they have enough data, they introduce sexual topics in their conversations. They may convince the child to share their intimate pictures or share explicit material with them to exploit them. Once a relationship develops, and they have enough data against the child, they may blackmail or even abuse them.
Online grooming is a serious threat that parents and social media platforms must deal with together for a child’s well-being.
Why Are Online Grooming Cases on the Rise on Discord?
Discord has servers or communities on literally every topic.
Discord does not moderate the content that floats in these communities unless reported to it. So lately, instances of sexual grooming have been on the rise on Discord.
There are several servers where tons of non-consensual sexual content and images of women and girls are still shared.
There were reportedly more than 140,000 images of women and minors revealed by a server on Discord.
Moreover, before 2020, the platform did not even ask for age verification upon joining, which became part of the bigger problem.
Many young people, especially minors, joined the uncontrolled environment on Discord that attracted predators. Discord failed to protect these young children, who later became victims of child pornography and even sex trafficking.
There are stories of young girls and boys being groomed for months by predators on Discord.
With great power comes greater responsibility, so it is time for Discord to be more proactive. Though, recently Discord has improved its safety settings, including restricting underage children from joining servers or channels with explicit content. Still, it is easy to bypass this filter.
Discord needs to start monitoring the content that floats on the platform. Additionally, it can implement various parental controls so that parents can also protect their children from being groomed by predators.
Discord is now not a small community. As it is a big community, it is time for it to ensure the well-being of its members by making its policies tighter.