GETTING STARTED GUIDE
We understand that joining a new community can be overwhelming for young people so we have written this guide to help you support them while they settle in. We have found that a lot of young people can have anxiety around not knowing what to do/fear of getting things ‘wrong’ and building the confidence they need to reach out and connect with others. Therefore these suggestions focus on supporting them to understand key information about how the community and Discord works, and then ways to begin to connect with other members.
Some young people may not be at a point where they feel able to engage with the community yet, or they may prefer to observe for a long time after joining, rather than connect with other members. It can be helpful to listen to your young person and go at their pace when encouraging them to take part.
Help Them to Understand the Rules:
The community rules for our Discord servers can be found on our website here: Under 13 Community and Teen Community. They are also available for young people to read within the servers themselves too. In Under 13 the channel is called #rules and in the Teen server the channel is called #info-rules. Often young people only see the value in following rules when they understand the reasons behind them, therefore it might be helpful to explore with them why they think the rules are in place and why it is important to follow them while they are in the community.
The rules of the community were made in partnership with young people themselves and often the reasons for them are to do with keeping the servers a safe and welcoming space for young people to connect in.
The rules for our Minecraft server are also available on our website [here] and all new members need to play through our Rules Minigame server before being given access to the main server.
There are a lot of rules to remember - so we expect that some are broken when a young person first joins the community. This is normal and we try our best to make all members are both aware of this and able to be supportive.
It is a good idea to check that your, or your young person’s, Privacy Settings are set up how you would like. It may also be useful to check that your young person knows how to block someone if they need to. Some young people can feel really bad about blocking others and may need some support to understand that it is okay to block other people and it doesn’t mean you are unkind or a mean person for doing that. https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/articles/217916488-Blocking-Privacy-Settings-
Review Their Privacy Settings:
Our Discord servers have a feature called Support Tickets which are the easiest way for members to communicate with staff if they have a problem or a question that we could help with. There are three different types of Support Tickets and these are - Minecraft Support, Discord Support and Adult Staff Support. Staff aim to reply to Support Tickets within 6 working hours and our Support Hours are between 10am and 9pm every day. Young people can still make Support Tickets outside these times, but they will not be answered until the next Support Hour period.
Make Sure They Understand How to Get Support If They Need It:
There may be times when your young person does not feel able to make a Support Ticket themselves, in which case you are able to make one on their behalf, or you can email the Youth Work Team at email@example.com to explain the issue.
Parents of Under 13 members are required to monitor private messages and group chats and to report any incidents to staff either by Support Ticket or email.
If you would like to learn more about what we can and cannot offer support with, you can read more about what is and isn’t our remit [here]. We are not able to support young people who are experiencing a mental health crisis, but do signpost to other services in the channel called #getting-support.
In order to get support on our Minecraft Server, using the command /support is the quickest way to get help in most scenarios. However in some cases it may be better to make a Support Ticket on Discord instead.
If your young person has not used Discord before they may not be used to all the features and may need some support in understanding how things work. Even if you feel your young person is much more tech-savvy than you are, it can still be worthwhile looking at the server together, to check that they understand:
Where to find announcements, info about events and the community rules
What counts as ‘spam’ and where they are and are not allowed to do that
What the different channels are for
How to join a voice channel
Where Support Tickets are/how to get help.
Help Them to Understand How The Discord Server Works:
One of the first posts that you could encourage your young person to make is an introduction. We have a channel that is just for posting a little bit about yourself so others can learn more about you. Young people could read through previous posts to get an idea of what people usually say, but they often include things like:
What games they like to play
What hobbies or interests they have
Whether they have a favourite anime or show
If they have any pets and what they are
Sometimes people also put their age and their pronouns
Can They Post an Introduction?
Do They Feel Comfortable Responding to Others, Rather Than Posting Something New Themselves?
Sometimes posting their own ideas, likes and dislikes might feel too overwhelming and cause too much anxiety. If this is the case it could be helpful to start by just reading what other people are posting and building up to then responding to other members. This could be things like:
Replying to someone to say that they think their pet is cute
Replying to someone’s artwork to say what it is they like about it
Letting someone know that they also like the book/game/show that someone else has mentioned.
If typing out a response feels too much of a big step at first, your young person could also try ‘reacting’ other’s posts to begin with, using positive emojis such as a heart.
Can They Post In One (Or More) Of The Topic Channels?
If your young person feels confident about posting something themselves, some of the channels that we think are good places to start are:
A photo of their pet(s) in the #cute-pets-and-animals channel.
An image of something they have created such as art, crochet, paper craft, a photograph, an animation etc in the #creativity channel.
Something about their special interest in the #special-interests channel - it is highly likely that there are other young people with the same or similar interest too!
A meme in the #memes channel.
There are a variety of scheduled events in each of our Discord servers and you can find out what is going on via the ‘Events’ section at the top of the channel list and also the different events channels. Each Event is facilitated by at least one member of our staff team and they include things like gaming events, movie nights, art and chat sessions, coding club and more.
Information for each event is posted in the server ahead of time and it can be helpful to read through that with your young person so they know what to expect. For gaming events it can also be important to make sure that the game they need is up to date and their privacy settings are set up for multiplayer ahead of the event, so that they are ready to play on time. Staff members can help with troubleshooting, but this needs to be done ahead of time, and not at the start of the event when they need to be focusing on running it.
Some events require less participation than others, so might be better to start with if your young person is worried about chatting with others. For example they could attend a movie night event and not have to say anything at all, as everyone is ‘muted’ and there is no expectation to talk in the text chat if they don’t feel able or want to.
If your young person has any questions about an event they can open a Support Ticket to chat to staff about it.
Are They Able To Try A Server Event?
Help Them To Understand How To Connect With Others Safely:
We have a channel called #looking-for-gamers which young people use to ask each other if they want to play. Young people can ask to play any game and arrange to play between themselves, so these are not sessions supported or monitored by a staff member.
Sometimes young people can become disheartened if they ask others to play but nobody replies. It may be helpful to remind them that they could try asking at different times on different days as it could be that other people who play that game may not have been available to play when they posted. It is quite normal to have to ask on a few different occasions before someone replies if it is a game that not many people play.
We advise that young people do not go straight to DMing (private messaging) or in-game chat straight away when they find someone new to play with. It is important to get to know other people on the server first and they should use our voice/text chat channels until they know each other better.
In addition to this, our Under 13 members are not allowed to invite each other to play on Minecraft Realms and are encouraged to use the SG Minecraft server when getting to know new people.
Ensure They Understand Not To Invite Other SG Members To Other Servers:
One of the rules of our community is that members are not allowed to invite other members to other Discord or Minecraft servers.
There are a few reasons for this:
Discord and Minecraft servers are incredibly difficult to set up properly and need to be properly monitored so that they are private and only friends can access them.
There are a lot of people who have negative intent on Discord, which is why young people stay in our community, ensuring it is completely safe.
When people are on external servers which aren't monitored, they can see and get access to explicit content which may not be appropriate for their age, whereas we can remove this instantly if it happens in our community.
A lot of members of our community can struggle with social interaction, so there can be huge arguments/ fallouts when people talk on private servers without staff support.
If You Feel They Need Further Support:
If you have gone through and tried out the above suggestions, but feel your young person could still do with some extra support, there may be something that staff could help with. Please feel welcome to use a Support Ticket on your young person’s behalf, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if there is anything that we can do to help.
You may also find support from other parents and carers via our Facebook Group. This group is only for parents of verified members of our community and a link is included in your email welcoming you to the community.