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Signal – Secure Messenger

2 minutes reading time
0-17 years
Tool description

You may have heard about the concerns about WhatsApp and other messenger services. Signal wants to be a safe alternative and offers almost the same features.

In a nutshell:

  • free and ad-free app for Android and iOS (as well as for desktop PC)
  • Registration via cell phone number
  • Chats, group chats, as well as encrypted voice calls and video telephony possible
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Age rating from 13 years
  • from the non-profit Signal Foundation

What is signal?

Signal allows you and your children to chat with one contact or a whole group. You can send pictures, audio files, videos, text messages and emojis, make voice calls or video calls and publish stories.

Signal advertises itself as a secure messenger. Unlike other messenger services, group conversations are also end-to-end encrypted. Individual privacy settingsin the app can be used to turn read notifications and “disappearing messages” on or off, among other things. At regular intervals, users are prompted to enter their PIN to ensure secure use. Signal requests access to the address book so that other users can be added as Signal contacts. However, contacts can also be entered manually without accessing the smartphone’s address book. Since Messenger is open source, anyone can view the encryption procedures. Many experts have already reviewed them.

What particularly fascinates young people about the offer?

More and more young people are aware that WhatsApp and the Messenger from Facebook offer little data security and are looking for alternatives. Signal is sometimes used as an additional messenger alongside the more frequently used apps.

What is problematic about the offer?

Some dangers do not relate to the use of a specific messenger, but are related to communication via messenger in general: Cyberbullying and sexting cannot be ruled out via Signal either. However, Signal offers increased security for private data.

What does the provider think?

According to the provider, contact data is anonymized by Signal, matched on Signal servers and then deleted again.

According to the provider, the minimum age for use is 13. The USK gives a recommendation from 0 years, but the app stores also state a minimum age of 12 years.

What should parents pay attention to?

As with other messenger services, the main thing you should do as parents is to raise awareness about responsible use. Draw attention to the potential dangers of communicating via messenger services and address the advantages of Signal and other, secure messengers (e. g. B. also Threema). When you use the app for family sharing, you send an important message. It is helpful to exchange ideas with other parents and decide together whether Signal should be used by the children and young people.

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