Parents' Guide to

Telegram Messenger

By Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Versatile messaging platform for older teens and adults.

Telegram Messenger Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+

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

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

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 literally takes half minute to find a hundred of channels that sell drugs (their names often contain standart words, like "club" and "shop"). I tried to report them, but moderators don't seem to be too quick. Administration seems to be more bothered about porn; when you report a channel, "pornography" is one of standart report reasons, but to report a drug channel, you have to choose "other reason" and type it. In Russian cities, you can see graffities advertising drug channels. (Somehow this doesn't happen with onion links (heh, they are just too long and hard to type :D )) Also I have seen groups in VK bombarded by spambots advertising channels with child pornography, leaks of violent videos and things like this. To top of that, there are articles on Wired saying that it used to be a home for neo-Nazi and ISIS activity, but thankfully, these ones have been purged. I don't care about "democratic activity" and "free speech" Telegram provides, I just want this app to die.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (3):

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.

App Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate