South Windsor police say they have seen a significant increase in investigations surrounding the messaging and video chat platform called Discord.
Discord is popular in the gaming community and allows users to send text messages, talk, video chat, and even send and receive media files, according to police.
It is meant for ages 13 and up, but police said it is not uncommon to find elementary-school aged children on the service.
Games such as Minecraft and Fortnight have public Discord server groups and police say most are legitimate and are moderated for inappropriate content. There can also be private conversations which allow users to opt-in.
Police issued a warning to parents Monday alerting them that children who are in some of these server communities may be subjected to inappropriate content or conversations.
They have also seen instances of adults pretending to be children contacting other children.
South Windsor police urge parents to monitor their child's Discord activity and enable safety settings, including:
- Selecting a secure password
- Enabling two-factor authentication
- Enable "Keep me safe" (scans direct messages for inappropriate content)
- Direct message settings (blocks direct messages from server groups)
- Friend request settings (determine who can send a friend request)
- Teach your child how to use the blocking function
The company released a statement in response to the investigations:
"We take the safety of all Discord users, but most importantly our younger users, incredibly seriously.
"Discord has strict Terms of Service and Community Guidelines that all our users must adhere to and that outline a number of rules for interacting with each other. We have zero-tolerance for illegal activity on our service. We work hard to create robust controls to help ensure minors are not exposed to content that is inappropriate for them.
"We encourage any parent with questions to visit our Safety Center or to directly contact us if they believe their child is in danger."