Telegram is an app that offers unlimited instant messaging with encryption. The app syncs across devices so that users can access their chats on mobile, desktop or tablet. Users can join/host group chats with up to 30,000 other Telegram users.
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What is Telegram Messenger?
- Telegram allows users to encrypt their messages or set a timer so that messages can “self destruct” (like Snapchat)
- Chats are not stored on the user’s devices, instead they’re stored in the Telegram cloud
- Telegram Messenger also offers in-app photo and video editing
- Voice calls can be made through the app
- Like Snapchat and Instagram, Telegram Messenger offers stickers
- Users can send any type of document or file through Telegram Messenger
- Channels on Telegram Messenger are for users to broadcast public messages to large audiences. Messages that are posted on a channel will be signed with the Channel’s profile picture and name
Teen messaging statistics
- 69% of teens regularly receive personal messages online from people they do not know and most of them do not tell a trusted adult about it
- 31% of teens say they usually reply and chat with people they do not know, and only 21% tell a trusted adult when they receive such messages
Telegram Messenger in the news
Apple removed Telegram from the App Store over distribution of child pornography. Telegram was forced out of the App Store while it handled the situation. –The Verge
[The Telegram app’s messaging] secrecy means it has developed a reputation as one of the go-to tools for terrorists. –CNN
Telegram has a wide range of security issues and doesn’t live up to its proclamations as a safe and secure messaging application. –Gizmodo
The software is open-source as well, so savvy users can see exactly how information is collected, stored, transmitted, and secured. –Common Sense Media
Why should parents care?
- This app was temporarily removed from the App Store due to the danger it posed to children
- If your student has a Telegram Messenger username, then anyone with your student’s username can message them through the app
- Users can see when you’re online. Other users will be able to see you online for a brief period when you send them a message in a one-on-one chat or in a group where you both are members
- Group chats can be made public so that anyone can view the entire group chat’s history
- By default, Telegram Messenger allows any member of a group to invite new members to the group chat, change the chat’s name, and photo
- Since activity on Telegram Messenger won’t show up on your phone bill, some students may be more inclined to act negatively when using this app because they feel like parents won’t find out (especially if their parents aren’t using this app)
- Experts in the security industry question the security of Telegram Messenger
What can parents do?
- If your teen has the Telegram Messenger app, immediately ask them to delete the app
- Discuss the security issues of the app and how cyber-savvy users can find out when they’re online and who they are talking to
- Remind your teen to never share sensitive or personal information online or on social media
- From an early age, teach your student to avoid interacting with strangers online
- When your teen is ready to use messaging apps in a positive way, visit our Parent App Guide
- Ensure that your teen knows what’s appropriate to send in a message and who they can message