Telegram Messenger

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Telegram Messenger App Poster Image
Versatile messaging platform for older teens and adults.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Everything easy to use, from setting up an account (all you need is a phone number) to finding and adding contacts to tweaking settings. Seamless integration with other apps makes file sharing ridiculously simple.


Depends on user-generated content.


Depends on user-generated content.


Depends on user-generated content.


Depends on user-generated content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Depends on user-generated content.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Telegram Messenger lets users send text messages, stickers, images, videos, and other files to one or many people for free, all using encryption to keep one-to-one messages secure and private, though some security experts question the quality of the encryption. The software is open-source as well, so savvy users can see exactly how information is collected, stored, transmitted, and secured. As with Snapchat, private-messaging sessions can be created between users with preset self-destruct timers; secret messages aren't stored on the app's servers. After six months without use, accounts also self-destruct. Setting up a username allows other users to find you, but a username isn't required. How much questionable content is available through the app is entirely up to users and their contacts, though the open-source nature of the platform means anyone can create stickers, bots, and plug-ins, many of which feature decidedly adult content. As such, it's really only appropriate for older teens to use to communicate with family and trusted friends. Read the app's privacy policy to find out more about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycj_k January 1, 2021

Deep web posing as secure app.

In the name of secure messaging and file sharing, this app makes everything unsavory from the deep web readily available
Parent of a 4 and 6-year-old Written byBug M. December 6, 2020

I am Russian and I hate this app. Basically a casual version of deep web

It positions itself as a "safe and secure" messenger: everything is reliably encrypted. So what does it mean? LOTS OF DRUGS AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. It... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 11, 2021

Perfect for people with a mobile phone

Hi! I am about to use telegram, but I don’t have a valid phone number, and when I did have it, I did not get that message.

What's it about?

TELEGRAM MESSENGER is a text-, image-, video-, and file-messaging program that securely routes all communications (except for group messages) through encrypted servers in the cloud. Users set up accounts with a phone number and can use the app on all platforms. From there, they can easily communicate with other users, share files, send stickers, and customize the whole experience. There's also the option to create secure message sessions that self-destruct and are encrypted end to end, so there's no way for anyone but the sender and recipient to view content, and accounts that are idle for six months or more self-destruct.

Is it any good?

Compared to the other big names in messaging, this multifaceted contender is leaps-and-bounds better in terms of usability, features, and security. It has a clean design and out-of-the-box integration with other services such as Dropbox and iCloud. Its encryption features and transparency (a feature of its open-source nature) set it apart though some experts feel the encryption isn't airtight enough. It's all free, works on every platform (and in any Web browser) and messages and data-syncs seamlessly between devices. However, note that there's plenty of potential for kids to get into questionable content: Without parental guidance, kids can find and install X-rated stickers and backgrounds with only a quick Web search and could send and receive dangerous content to almost anyone. Also, because of the encryption and self-destructing message feature, kids can keep secrets more easily, so make sure your teen is ready for the responsibility.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kinds of messages and images are appropriate to share and with whom it's safe to share those messages. For kids and teens especially, protecting yourself in a world of secure messages is a big deal, with lots of legal and moral questions to consider, so talk to your teen about staying safe online.

  • Also discuss the pros and cons of encryption and self-deleting content. What does it mean for companies to "securely" store private data in the cloud? What is the "cloud?" What is end-to-end encryption, and how can it keep us safe (or get us into trouble)?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love social networking and safe chatting

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