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telegram app logo Kids and Technology

What Is Telegram? Here’s What Parents Need to Know

Allison Scovell  |  May 15, 2024

Here at Bark, we see tons of popular apps, so we know all the red flags to look for if it’s too dangerous for kids. Telegram is one of those immediate red-flag apps, which is why parents need to know about it. Today we’ll go over what Telegram is, what exactly makes it unsafe, and what you can do to protect your child. 

What is Telegram? 

So, just what is Telegram? It’s a messaging app that has more than 900 million users, making it one of the most popular apps worldwide. Its function is simple — you can message, call and video chat with other Telegram users, create group chats, and join channels based on an interest or subject. It probably doesn’t sound much different than any other messaging platform, such as WhatsApp or GroupMe, and you’re right that they’re very similar. But Telegram’s free, simple, and private platform has been garnering loyal users since 2013. 

Two of Telegram’s main selling points are its cloud features — you can seamlessly use one Telegram account across multiple devices — and its privacy policies, which are strict.

Just how strict? Telegram offers end-to-end encryption, which means that messages can’t be accessed by anyone except the participating users. Even Telegram as a company can’t view them. 

This level of privacy can be a good thing for adults,  but it can also lead to tricky situations for kids. If messages of harassment or grooming are sent and then deleted, Telegram would not be able to retrieve the messages (even with law enforcement involved) to use as evidence in the victim’s favor. This and their other privacy features expose kids to potential internet dangers on the app. 

Is Telegram Safe?

It’s not. Telegram has many features that make it one of the riskiest apps we’ve seen. Here’s what you need to know. 


This is one of the main reasons that makes Telegram dangerous: You can find users who are physically near your location and message them. Conversely, strangers can also message you. In the hands of a predator, any child on Telegram becomes vulnerable to being found on the app and in real life. 

Self-destruct messages 

Any app with disappearing messages immediately makes our red-flag list. Telegram has what they call “self-destruct” messages, where you can set a timer for messages to automatically disappear.

They also have something called Secret Chats, which has the same self-destruct feature, and these are the ones that are end-to-end encrypted. So any messages sent or received in a Secret Chat are only accessible to the users involved.

Public groups  

Telegram also has public groups or channels where users can join and share any content they want. You can search for groups based on location or subject, though some groups do have admins who can moderate messages in the group. While reviewing this app, our team found that Telegram immediately suggested local groups to join. Some of these were explicitly soliciting drugs or sharing pornographic links and images. 

Lack of privacy settings

While Telegram may protect the privacy of the messages you send, it leaves much to be desired in protecting your profile and personal information. By default, all profiles are visible to everyone. Any person can message, call, or video chat with you at any time. Want to keep it so that only contacts can reach you or nobody can reach you? Telegram actually makes you pay for this. You have to sign up for Telegram Premium to customize your privacy settings. 

What Parents Can Do 

It might go without saying, but this is definitely not an app we recommend parents allow their kids to use. If this is an app your child is asking for, we suggest having conversations with them about the dangers of the app and explaining why it’s in their best interest to keep them from it. 

While these conversations are absolutely crucial, it’s also important to have certain safeguards in place in case your child is tempted to try the app out for themselves. Bark can help parents by using our powerful web filtering tools to block any app or site that you deem inappropriate for your child.

If you need a safe way for your child to message family and friends, Bark’s content monitoring is another powerful tool to have for your child’s internet safety. Our monitoring allows us to scan your child’s device and send you alerts if they send or receive any concerning messages. Bark can monitor texts as well as many popular messaging apps like GroupMe, Kik, WhatsApp, and more. Sign up for your free, 7-day trial to see how it works. 

Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives.

mother and daughter discussing Bark Parental Controls