., click here to enter for a chance to win one of our many $50 gift cards we are giving away.

Learn more

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Signal App: Is it Safe for Kids?

., you're logged in!
Enjoy this resource and share our programs with your school district to send these resources to your whole community
Tell Your School District About Our Program
., you're logged in!
Share this resource with a parent at .  (or visit our new sharing center)
., you're logged in!
Enjoy this demo pass. Click the button to share access with leaders in your school district (or visit our new sharing center)
Share Your Demo Pass With School District Leaders

Become a member or login to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
November 22, 2019

Signal is a free private messaging app that promises privacy for users through end-to-end encryption. Users can text and make phone calls and video calls using the Signal app. This guide will tell you if the Signal app, which is widely used among security experts, is safe for your kids.

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Signal App: Is it Safe for Kids?

., you're logged in!
Enjoy this resource and share our programs with your school district to send these resources to your whole community
Tell Your School District About Our Program
., you're logged in!
Share this resource with a parent at .  (or visit our new sharing center)
., you're logged in!
Enjoy this demo pass. Click the button to share access with leaders in your school district (or visit our new sharing center)
Share Your Demo Pass With School District Leaders

The Signal app is a free private messaging app that promises privacy for users through end-to-end encryption. The app is widely used by people -  from politicians to famous athletes to journalists - who don’t want to risk having others see or hear their personal information, private messages, and photos.

At Smart Social, we believe teens can safely communicate with their friends through traditional text messaging and calls without using a heavily encrypted app, like Signal.

What is the Signal app?

  • The Signal app is a free, secure messaging app (previously called TextSecure). Chats are protected from spying eyes
  • It’s available in the iOS App Store, Google Play, and on Chrome
  • Users can text, have group chats, and make free voice calls and video calls (nationally and internationally)
  • The app promises end-to-end encryption for all communication so only the sender and recipient can access messages
  • The app’s developer is a 501c3 nonprofit and there are no in-app purchases available
  • The company says it doesn’t collect metadata on its users (this includes a user’s identity and location)
  • The app asks for permission to access the user’s contacts
  • Users can set the Signal app to make all messages automatically disappear
  • Signal app users can take screenshots of messages they receive before they disappear, just like on Snapchat

The Signal App in the News:

The desire for privacy, encryption and even disappearing messages has increased. And that's why Signal, long the private messaging domain to evade or pry information from the alphabet soup of Washington power brokers – FBI, NSA and CIA – has surged into the NFL, NBA, NCAA and beyond.

Yahoo Sports

With all of their security-minded features, like disappearing messages and identity-confirming safety numbers, secure chat apps can rightfully give you peace of mind. You should absolutely use them. As the adage goes, though, there's no such thing as perfect security. And feeling invincible could get you in trouble.

Wired

The Signal app is popular with teens who want extra privacy

Teen Vogue headline: How to keep messages secure. Security experts give their best advice for keeping messages secure, whether you're at a protest or just want to keep out snooping siblings.

"Avoid SMS for texting, instead [of] using a secure messaging app – whether it’s Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or a stronger tool such as Signal… [they have] end-to-end encryption. Think of that like a tunnel protected by secret handshakes that keeps your messages from being read by anyone else, including the company that makes the app."

Source: Teen Vogue

Hackers have targeted the Signal app

Forbes: Signal Messenger eavesdropping exploit confirmed-what you need to know

“The bug allowed a hacker to phone a target device, and the call would be answered without the recipient needing to accept the call, essentially letting the hacker listen-in on the victim.”

Source: Forbes

What users say about the Signal app:

If you want to save a photo sent to you or a piece of conversation containing something you wish to keep, screenshot it. Crop the picture for photos and stick the info you saved to a file folder or notes.

iOS Apple Store User

You can have it set to burn on read so even if someone had hold of your phone they can't see any past messages.

Google Play Store User

Why should parents care?

  • The Signal app is widely recognized as one of the safest private messaging apps
  • Using any private messaging app could lead to negative behavior because students might feel they can hide their actions from their parents
  • Some teens might post riskier content on the Signal app than they would post on other social networks. This is because messages disappear and aren’t meant to be permanent
  • Sometimes kids use apps like this to hide activity from their parents' phone bill
  • Parents need to know that trusted sources are urging teens to use this app. This could make them feel like it's safe and they should be using it

What can parents do?

  • Parents can chat with their kids about the Signal app to decide if it's a good fit for their family
  • Teach teens that they should never send messages that a parent wouldn't approve of
  • It's okay for students to have fun and message their friends. But they should be using the classic SMS feature built into their phones. They don't need an encrypted app used by government officials and security agencies
  • Remind your students that messages and photos aren’t really totally private (since anyone can take screenshots)
  • Ensure your teen knows what’s appropriate to send in a message and who they can message
  • When your teen is ready to use apps in a positive way, then visit our Parent App Guide. Start with an app in our Green Zone

Conclusion

The Signal app is in the Smart Social Red Zone because we don't recommend it for teens and tweens. As parents and educators, you can’t completely control what students are doing on their phones or computers. But you can keep the dialogue open about the ways they should act responsibly online. Always encourage good digital behavior so they don't have to rely on an app that deletes everything they write.

Are you ready to take the next step to protect your family online? Register today for an all-access pass to Smart Social's workshops and videos.

Additional Resources

To learn more about the other chat and messenger apps students are using read our chat apps guide

Best Chat Apps: What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

Logged in and still not seeing content? This course may not be part of
your membership plan. Click here to join.

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Signal is a free private messaging app that promises privacy for users through end-to-end encryption. Users can text and make phone calls and video calls using the Signal app. This guide will tell you if the Signal app, which is widely used among security experts, is safe for your kids.

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Join Our Next Live Parent Q&A Events

Jul
18
Register

Parent Strategies for Your Struggling Teen (Live Event)

This event is for parents of teens who are struggling with negative self-talk, managing emotions, or self isolation to help their teens can build a bright and meaningful future.

Jul
23
Register

Sneaky Ways TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts are Pulling Kids in and Making Them Numb

Join this live parent night event and find out what tricks video apps are using to keep your kids watching

Become a Very Informed Parent (VIP) to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.

Dotted arrow to right
Learn about our
"Very Informed Parent" 
VIP Program
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round

Schools & Districts: Partner with us to protect your community online

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Partner with SmartSocial.com
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast
each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on: