A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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)?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love social networking and safe chatting
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.