Telegram Messenger (Rated 17+)
Telegram Messenger is a cloud-based communication app usable across all devices; it allows users to send free pics, videos, stickers, texts, and other files. Your phone number is required for setup (similar to WhatsApp), but there is also the option of creating a public username that anyone can search. The app is touted as being extremely secure because of its end-to-end encryption option that can be turned on, allowing users to feel much safer about sending private messages. Under the app’s general question section, users can create groups for up to 50,000 people or channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences.
What Parents need to know
Telegram is following the social media trend of secret messaging. Secret messaging is encouraged by the app developer. The app explains how to create a Secret Chat message – these messages are not available in the cloud or on other devices – only the sending and receiving devices can access the content of the letters.
Similar to Snapchat, Telegram has self-destructing messages with a timer. Your account will even self-destruct if left idle for too long. If you lose your device or don’t log into your account for six months, the version will automatically self-destruct. And “if you want to send messages that can vanish without a trace, try using our self-destruct timer…” the app states.
Opportunities to meet strangers are also very likely If users decide to create a username. Usernames are public and searchable by anyone, opening the door to unexpected or unwanted contacts.
Adult content, pornography, and other inappropriate material can easily be found. Telegram is an open-source platform. Anyone can create whatever content they want. Although the app rating is 4+, the appropriateness of the content is determined by those sending and receiving messages. The Terms of Service state you may NOT “post pornographic content on publicly viewable Telegram bots or channels.” Notice the distinction of “publicly viewable,” so everything else must be considered fair game.
There is a hidden doorway to Google. It exists through the very standard “Telegram FAQ” under settings. From here, you can get to Google Play Services and then reach a common hidden Google search bar access point.
This app is not an app meant for teens. The app was created for adult interaction. The secretive nature of this app lends itself to inappropriate and questionable content sharing and behavior.
On February 1, 2018, Apple suspended Telegram from the Apple App Store following reports of inappropriate content hosted on the platform that violated Apple’s developer guidelines for iOS apps. Telegram will address these issues, but ultimately, this will address the underlying safety issues.
The ability to connect with total strangers with the added option for secret environments and conversations is precarious and problematic for teens. Parents will have difficulty reviewing what their teen is doing on this app. The self-destructing messaging will make it impossible for them to know what is being sent and received from their child’s device.
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*This post has affiliate links because we’ve tested and trusted a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Thank you!