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#parent | #kids | Is Signal Messaging App For Kids? | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


There has been a lot of buzz around the Signal Messaging app lately, raising questions in parents’ minds about whether it is safe for kids.

Signal Messaging app is like any other messaging application that can be downloaded on a smartphone. Only the developers have taken security and privacy more seriously than some other messaging applications’ developers. The app has been received well by the critiques and has become a real show stopper lately. Messages on the app are encrypted from end-to-end, making it tough for any malicious activity to occur. Plus, the interface of the application is neat and straightforward to comprehend.

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Signal Private Messenger Download
Via Facebook / Honnee Gonzales

The application even offers video and voice calling services over the internet. Most of all, it relieves you of the verification hassle and maintains anonymity. While anonymity can be a boon in a few cases, mostly, it inspires wrongdoings. Although, it might not be the wisest idea to monitor your child’s activity on the app all the time. Here are a couple of things you need to know before your kid downloads the app on their phone.

Safety & Privacy

The creators of the app claim the app to be completely safe. The app does not collect any private data from any of its users. So, from the outside, the app’s packaging looks impressive and gives no reason for you to frown upon it. As mentioned, the app might not keep track of your data and is encrypted from end to end. Meaning, the messages are securely transferred and received only by both the parties and no one else.

The application’s messages come with a self-destructing feature and disappear after a particular time frame, and do not stay forever. However, the users on the platform can capture screenshots of the chats. Plus, you can be completely incognito while using the app, though anonymity might not always be the best thing for your child.

However, the hidden identity attracts several foul acts and deeds, and your child can easily fall prey to them. Some actions include sharing violent content, adult content, narcotics-related activities, human trafficking, etc. This might not be the most pleasant experience for your child while indulging in chatting or video calling on an application.

Alec Muffet, a former software engineer at Facebook, said to Teen Vogue,

“If you’re a whistleblower like Edward Snowden, or if you are a politician, or if you are a journalist who regularly deals with people at risk of deportation, or if you work regularly in countries with harsh, repressive governments… you will have a different threat model to someone who just wants privacy because they’re talking about intimate or personally important stuff.”

RELATED: How To Successfully Protect Your Children’s Data & Privacy Online

Content

Signal Private Messaging can be a great way to communicate, learn things, and share essential information. The group chat feature can be utilized for sharing helpful and resourceful information. However, there is no restriction on what a user can post on the application in a group or personal chat.

The end-to-end encryption secures the data of users and disables any trespassing except for the two users. This implies to the developers as well. No admin or intelligence system is actually monitoring the content that is shared on the platform. While it happens to be a useful feature, there is no restriction on the content being posted.

Provided that you are exposed to any illegal or foul content posted, you, as an adult with a developed brain, can make a conscious decision to counter the situation. On the other hand, your kid might not always be able to deal with it the same way. It may come as a shock to them, which can potentially lead to shock, trauma, or even addictions in some cases.

A Man Texting
Via Pexels

External Invasion

Although the developers guarantee complete security for users, that is only from the application’s end. There have been multiple reports that have claimed a data breach in the application. None caused any significant damage to user data, but it is a threat that cannot be ignored, especially when your child is using it.

Your kid may unknowingly send something personal or sensitive on the medium, which they might not even realize. If the data falls into the wrong hands, it can be a perilous thing. Hackers can steal personal information, and it might lead to misuse. In some cases, it may even lead to blackmailing and cyberbullying. It can be a nightmare for your kid to encounter such a situation. You should at least guide your kids on what can be safe to share over the platform and on the internet in general. You should advise your kid against sharing information like addresses, personal pictures, or passwords on chatting applications.

A Computer Code
Via Pexels

Usage & Interface

There are not only negative sides to the application. The application exhibits some amazing features as well. First of all, the interface of the application is quite friendly. There are hardly any features on the app that you cannot explore or comprehend with minimal efforts. If your kid is not used to working a smartphone, Signal Private Messaging can be a good way for them to learn how messaging on a chatting application works.

The usage, on the other hand, happens to be quite basic. It provides all the necessary features that can be expected of a messaging application of the day. To top it off, the application does not levy a subscription fee for any of the services and is free for anyone with a smartphone.

Neilie Johnson of Common Sense Media, in an article, says,

“The app’s a snap to download, install, and use, doesn’t force you to make any kind of account, and gives you the most secure texting available. Better still, its Skype-like internet calls have good quality sound and visuals. The app is extremely basic, graphically speaking. Developer Open Whisper clearly takes a practical approach to app design. That’s not a bad thing; Signal – Private Messenger knows its job and does it well without any pointless bells and whistles.”

The application can be a good start for your young one to begin with. As a parent, you must be aware of the activities that your kid is indulging in. A little fun and play on the application cannot hurt much if done with proper parental guidance. Some things you can do to ensure there is no foul play can be educating your child to share only appropriate information on the internet and using an anonymous identity to be advisable for security purposes. You can also install a third-party parental control app to keep an eye on the activity and ensure that your kid is safe.

Lastly, since Signal Private Messaging falls under the ‘Red Zone’ category of apps and if none of these tips work well for you, you can always look for a ‘Green Zone’ app that comes with dedicated parental support and a safe mode.

READ NEXT: 10 Things To Instill In Your Children When Finally Allowing Them Unrestricted Internet Access

Source: Common Sense Media, Smart Social, Wondershare FamiSafe

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