What are DM’s?

Words by
Abby Alger

OCT 27, 2023

What are DM’s?

As a parent, I can hardly keep up with the new slang words and phrases my kids come home with. One term I have heard a lot lately is DMs.

In this blog post, we will discuss what DMs are and the dangers they pose, especially to kids. We will also give some tips on how kids can protect themselves, and what parents can do to safeguard their children.

What are DMs?

DMs, short for “Direct Message,” are private messages sent between two people on a social media platform. It’s a feature that allows users to communicate one-on-one without the conversation being visible to others.

On Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, users can direct message each other and share their thoughts, photos, and other content. Even Facebook Messenger Kids App allows DMs.

DMs can come from people they know on their contact list, or strangers online.

The Dangers of DMs

DMs can be harmless but parents can benefit from knowing the ways they leave kids vulnerable to a number of risky situations. 


Online acquaintances or strangers can easily “slide into” someone’s DMs, pretending to be a friend or someone trustworthy. This makes it easy for online predators and stalkers to find and groom their next victim.

Predators often use DMs to desensitize their victims by sending explicit content or making sexual advances online, before coercing children into sending inappropriate images back.

Sometimes, predators video chat and record sexual activity for their own purposes or blackmail.

Sexual Exploitation

Once predators have possession of sexual content, they may sexually exploit a teen into sending more nudes (e.g. “send me another or I will send these to your parents”), paying money to prevent the images becoming public, or arrange an in-person meeting.

Parents of sextortion victims are beginning to speak out with what parents need to know about sextortion.


DMs can also be used for online bullying, called cyberbullying. Bullies can harass others online through sharing jokes at a person’s expense or sharing embarrassing images or videos. 

With AI on the rise, fake content called deepfakes can be easily fabricated and shared through DMs as a threat or a bullying act. Fake content can also be shared through social media or by airdropping it to the school body. 

What Can Parents Do?

Parents cannot be there in every situation to protect their kids. However, we can lower risks by preventing harm and preparing them for if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.

Teach Your Kids

Parents can talk to their kids about being safe online. Give them assurance that they can come to you if they’ve made a mistake online or need help in any way.

Kids should be cautious when using DMs. They should only communicate with their friends or people they know in real life. They should never share personal information or compromising content of themselves.

Prevent with Gabb Messenger

Caregivers can provide a safe place for kids to learn crucial digital communication skills with Gabb Messenger. This messaging app was built by Gabb with with smart filtration that blocks offensive content before it reaches a child, giving parents peace of mind.

Gabb Messenger is an app that allows a child autonomy and connection with friends, while alerting parents to any blocked messages so they know what is happening and can open loving conversations with their child.

What online safety tip do you find most important? Let us know in the comments. 


  • What is BeReal & is it Safe for Kids? on Mar 13, 2024 11:50 AM

    […] Although you can’t comment on a stranger’s post, kids can click on a stranger’s name and add them as a friend. If the friend invite is accepted, these strangers are able to see the kids’ photos and communicate with each other in the comments (BeReal doesn’t have direct messaging).  […]

Like the post? Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Your comment has been submitted for review! We will notify you when it has been approved and posted!

Thank you!

Share this article with...