Discord uses “a mix of proactive and reactive tools to keep activity that violates our policies off the service,” the company said in a statement. These include automated search tools like PhotoDNA and ways for users to report violations. Roblox reported that it uses a “combination of machine learning and a team of over 3,000” people to detect inappropriate content.
Lori Getz, an internet safety expert and the author of “The Tech Savvy User’s Guide to the Digital World,” said that caregivers can’t control everything children are exposed to, but parents can empower children to handle difficult situations online. Here’s how:
Start the conversation early.
Talk with children in age-appropriate ways about hate — including overt and covert signs, such as words, symbols and images — and trusting their instincts if something doesn’t seem right. “If caregivers don’t talk with their children about these things, someone else will, and it may not be a credible source,” Ms. Guy said.
If children are harassed online, ensure they have support, said Robyn Silverman, a child and teen development specialist. Online abuse should be taken just as seriously as other types of abuse, she said, noting that children and teens who are targeted “can experience anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, stomach aches and other physical symptoms from cyber abuse.”
Maintaining an ongoing, open dialogue about online safety is crucial. Even if children are not allowed to play certain games at home, they may be exposed to them in other places. A British survey of 20,000 children ages 11-18 reported that 57 percent said they have accounts that “adults don’t know about.”
Children may withhold information from caregivers, especially if they are targeted online, out of fear of losing their games, Dr. Silverman said. “Share with your children that they won’t be in trouble if they come to you about this,” she suggested. “Let them know that you are there to support them.”
Check content and review settings.
Review online content and the accounts that your children interact with, as well as privacy settings and parental controls. Be transparent so your children know you will be checking.
Ms. Getz recommended that caregivers check game ratings. Online platforms for children under 13 have stricter privacy requirements under the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule than platforms that target older users.