What Parents Need to Know About KIK Messenger App

We write a lot about new apps on this blog because apps are hot in the very mobile teen world. Kids use apps to stay connected to the outside world and that’s where you as a parent need to be looking when it comes to threats to their personal safety.

This week we’re looking at Kik, a free mobile messenger app that allows kids to text friends who are also using the app. Teens like Kik because it allows them to do more than just type written messages. Kik makes it easy to add video and pictures to a text.

Basically, Kik is just fun and that’s what kids are looking for—fun, cool ways to ensure they stay in the peer conversation.

The potential threats to safety arise when kids begin to take their privacy casually and share their private Kik username on public social network like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pheed, or Tumblr. And, like all the other social networks, once someone knows your child’s username, anyone can send them a message.

So if you see the Kik icon on your kid’s phone (pictured on right), remind them your Family Game Plan when it comes to Internet use.

 

  • Once your child opens the Kik app it stays on. This compromises privacy. Make sure your kids create a very unique password and change it now and then.
  • Remind your kids not to post their Kik names to other networks (One quick look at Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and you may see #kikme requests from teens along with their usernames).
  • Encourage your kids to create unique names for their accounts. It’s far too easy to contact in multiple social networks if their name is always the same.
  • Kik also has an “Ignore New People” feature under Notifications on the app that give you one more safety step in reviewing new follower requests.
  • Go over the importance of only communicating with friends and family on social networks. As repetitive as you might sound—remind them of predators and people looking for “open doors” into the lives of young people online.
  • Remind them to block people who are cyber bullies, negative or people they do not know. They can do this in the account settings.
  • Kik has an impressive community support forum that deals with safety issues. It’s worth your time to check it out.

The door to privacy is continually being compromised with the slew of new apps and social networks now available. Be sure your children and family remain “in the know” and protected.

25 comments on “What Parents Need to Know About KIK Messenger App

  • Lawrence Hodge says:

    “kik” is but a small tip of the huge social-media Iceberg. It´s no more dangerous than Facebook, hangouts, Whatsapp which are all free as well. If anything is “dangerous” to young minds, it´s the entire “phone-is-your-life”/life-is-your-phone” phenomenon. Take a look around you next time you are in a cafe or even outside on the street and compare the number of people gazing at their phones to those who are not! My observations see a ratio of 10 to 1 in favor of those gazing !

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  • Scared to Death Parent says:

    Do NOT be deceived! KIK is DANGEROUS! Any "anonymous" texting app is a place for predators and perverts to take advantage of young minds. Think you know, parents? Your kid can install and uninstall KIK every night from their phone and there is no way to know who they've been talking to or what has been said. They target kids on MINECRAFT chat and tell them all about KIK. It is damaging, devastating and should be banned!

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  • Kik is not a bad site, however me being 13 I still believe that you should have limits and also you should not add or talk to anybody that you don't know just to keep you safe.your parents should go through your phone every once in a while but note, they are only doing it to keep you safe.

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    • Toni Birdsong says:

      We couldn't agree more Dezzi! Maybe next time, you'll consider writing a guest post for us! Would love to hear more from you! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Reply
  • Good blog. Helpful information for parents, like us, that want to stay alert with the ever changing technology and applications. We appreciate your input. Thanks.

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  • I don't understand why kids would need this app when phones are capable of texting pics and video anyway? I think it's easier for them to understand the importance of not giving their phone number out to just anyone over giving out a user name.

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  • I do not like KIK at all. Be careful parents letting your children use this app. There is this thing out there that teens do call role playing involving sexting. Who knows what pervert is on the other end. I'm a pretty open mom but My teen son is not allowed to use this app.

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    • I've had this same problem with my daughter who will be 13. We've taken away her phone for a few months due to graphic and descriptive texts between her and a couple boys that apparently fell in love with her….recently we gave her her phone back to find that she's been back on kik. I've now parent blocked her Internet use. That app is bs.

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      • Having the exact same problem with my 12 year old daughter.. as a parent I'm not a fan at all and she has lost all priveledges and Internet access has been limited to strictly homework but she's still accessing at school with her peers. I think that these apps are not having a positive impact on our children's lives and there is only so much a parent can do to try to protect them.

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  • Hi Toni! I really appreciate this information. My son has been asking for the app for some time now and I told him, I needed to research it first and this helps a lot. All the best, Tamara

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    • Awesome Tamara! So good to know parents are being proactive before saying yes to every app! Best wishes and thanks for connecting! 🙂

      Reply
  • I am on a adult dating site. I been talking to a man who swys he is in the service overseas. I had suspected he may not be real. As in a scammer. He wants me to sign up for kik and i have refused. After reading the comments i am glad. Warn everyone who signs up for kik that there are scammers etc out there.

    Reply
    • Toni Birdsong says:

      Gail – Sounds like you are one to listen to your instincts — that's awesome! When in doubt, check out the person's digital footprint, meaning other social networks, news, Google, websites, etc. It's pretty easy to tell if a person is not connected to anyone at all – no family, charities, hobbies, etc. Usually dating sites have smart guidelines too, so check those out and stay safe. Go with your gut, sounds like you are smart woman. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

      Reply
    • Toni Birdsong says:

      Jaime – We encourage monitoring that is out in the open. I hate sneaking around. Just tell your child that part of owning a phone is using it responsibly. Ask her to sit with you while you go through messages. Don't flip out if you find something you don't like. Discuss it and set guidelines for the future with consequences attached. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply
  • I actually have a question even though this is the comment box. I just wanted to know if i block a person on kik that I've already spoken to but haven't transferred information to him can this person still track me or find out where I live or where I am?

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  • This is not a great app at all for teens. Fb and all these sites have history of conversations and its easier to get into my neice stuff but thru kik is not good at all. Right now she ran away. I got into her fb but she sends her friends messages saying hmu on kik i dont talk thru here so here i am with no clue where she is. Her friends dont talk cops havent found her. And im still madd because theres no way i can track her thru kik. Even if i find out her password all the conversations before will be deleted. No use for the adults that are struggling with our kids.

    Reply
    • Robert Siciliano says:

      I recommend you check the site policy on KIK and contact them directly. You should make sure that your daughter’s other social accounts are set so only her friends can see things and not everyone.

      Reply

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