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Threema – the data-saving messenger alternative

2 minutes reading time
6-17 years
Social Media
Tool description
Foto: photothek.net

Protecting personal data in the online world is important. That is why the messenger service Threema was developed. Maybe this is also an alternative for digital communication in your family?

In a nutshell:

  • Messenger app from Switzerland for Android, iOS and as desktop version
  • One-time costs for installation approx. 5,- € (as of August 2022)
  • Registration via cell phone number optional, anonymity possible
  • Features: Chats, group chats and distribution lists, voice and video calls, and voting.
  • Individual privacy settings and encrypted communication
  • Approved for youth under 16

What is Threema?

The paid messenger is similar to WhatsApp but attaches particular importance to data minimization. Each user receives a random Threema ID upon registration. This can be passed on to people with whom communication is to take place. Linking to a cell phone number or email address is also possible, but not mandatory. Without a cell phone number or e-mail address, the messenger service can be used anonymously, i.e. without providing any personal data.

Messages and calls are sent end-to-end encrypted, i.e. they can only be decrypted by the recipient. Also, messages are deleted from the server after delivery. Contacts and so-called meta data are only backed up on the user’s own device. In addition to the usual functions, there is the possibility to perform voting. With Threema Web, the messenger can also be used via PC. Additionally, there are Threema applications for schools and businesses.

Is Threema a good offer for teenagers?

Threema has far fewer users than WhatsApp, although the app offers similar features and data protection and privacy are better regulated. But it also has to be purchased at some point. Since almost everyone uses WhatsApp, it doesn’t seem necessary for young people to look for alternatives. Alternative and data-secure messengers are most likely to be installed by young people as a second or third app.

What can be problematic about Threema?

Since Threema complies with data protection laws (like the DSGVO), the app is already approved for children and teenagers. The communication risks associated with the use of a messenger, such as cyberbullyingand sexting, cannot be prevented with good data protection, as they usually originate from the users themselves.

What does the provider think?

Threema is a Swiss company that places particular emphasis on independence. It has its own servers for its service and develops everything itself.
On the website, Threema advertises guaranteed privacy and the best encryption. Threema has also documented how the encryption works there.

What should parents pay attention to?

In theory, Threema offers a high level of data protection. Users can decide for themselves how strongly they want to implement this – via the privacy settings in the app.

As with other messengers, you as parents should raise awareness about responsible use. Make your child aware of the dangers of messenger services described above. Familiarize yourself and your child with Messenger security settings, such as blocking unknown contacts.

Discuss the advantages of Threema and other data-saving messengers over WhatsApp. A free alternative is Signal.

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