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Have you heard of Kik?

Kik is a handy instant messaging application for smart phones. However, it is POSSIBLY utilized by “bad” person to harm and cyber bully your kids. Just beware of it!!

What does Kik do? 

Kik Messenger is a free ‘private’ messaging application available on smart phones that is targeted towards younger users, but is used by all ages. Kik is often used as an alternative to normal SMS messaging with the options of message tracking and group messaging, and uses wifi or network data instead of the phone network, making it cheap to use. Kik can be used to chat with friends as well as anyone using the application. Kik is common for abuse, Cyber Bullying, pornography and predators trying to chat with the younger users as it enables private chats.

*N.B., refer to the reviews of Kik in the Apple or Android application stores. Many users post ‘looking for…’ messages that are targeted at underage users of an inappropriate nature. Check out the app store reviews and see for yourself.

Kik is rated 17+ in the app store. You can adjust App Rating restrictions (at least for iPod, iPad and iPhone users) to prevent the download of adult-oriented apps like Kik. Go to http://www.bewebsmart.com/ipod-ipad-iphone/how-to-restrict-apps-by-rating/ to learn how. Once set up your child will not be able to download apps over the allowed app rating. If he/she were to try to download Kik, the option would be grayed out.

Kik and Instagram

On Kik, you need to know someone’s username to start an online chat.Some Kik users use Instagram to publicise their Kik username in their profiles or by tagging their photos. You’ll see some users with “Kik me” and then their Kik username in their profile. If your child or teen’s Instagram profile is public, and they use it to publicize their Kik username, then anyone who sees that on Instagram might “hit them up” on Kik. So keep this in mind if you allow your child or teen to use Instagram.

Kik and privacy

Kik does allow you to use your address book on your phone to find other users, but if this option is not wanted only people with your exact username can add you on Kik. Unfortunately Kik does not have an inbuilt button or support page to report any abuse or Cyber Bullying, instead they suggest that you report the abuse to a local law enforcement. The service provider is not providing adequate support for their young users.

We are sure that many people use Kik to simply send messages to friends, the fact that it is very popular for sexting leads us to believe it is not a good choice for kids. Given that there are many other free texting apps available, including iMessage which is already included for iPod touch, I don’t see a need for Kik on a child’s mobile device.

So parents, check your child’s phone or iPod touch. If you see the Kik messenger icon, open the app and take a look at the messages. If you don’t like what you see, discuss with your child. Maybe he or she isn’t really aware of the potential dangers and consequences.

Source and more information

Carly Ryan Foundation