Does Kik Messenger Pose a Danger to Your Kids?

With more than 50 million users, and reportedly growing by 20,000 everyday, Kik has become one of the most popular messaging apps on the market. It is widely used as a messaging portal between those who want to connect privately off of other social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). But more importantly, it has become quite popular among our kids.

Why? Well, as a private messenger app, Kik is coveted by those under 18 for a number of reasons. It is seemingly a safer way of connecting for kids as users connect via usernames so those you are connecting with cannot see your phone number. Kik messages are sent privately across the app and will not show up on your phone bill since they are not recorded as text messages. This allows kids to send private messages that their parents can’t gain access to without a login. And most parents don’t even know the app exists, which allows kids to go even further under the radar.

What do you know about the people your kids are chatting with on Kik? Not much besides a username, full name, image and an email, none of which can be verified. So how do you know if your kids are talking to kids their own age, friends, or stalkers and other predators hiding their identity? You don’t.

The blog post “Kik Me” – The Apps Your Kids Are Using Now: Kik takes a look at how this poses a number of privacy issues for both parents and children, including:

  • Once the app is open it continues to run in the background, even if you leave it to use another app. This keeps your device open to messages from any users that choose to connect on the app.
  • There is very little you can do to verify the identity of someone on Kik.
  • Upon downloading the app, a popup message appears asking for confirmation that the user is 17 or older. No additional verification is required than selecting the OK button. This opens the door to content you probably don’t want your child viewing.

Additionally, with the Capture feature your kids could be viewing or sharing inappropriate images that you have no knowledge of at the time. And once those images are out there, they are out there, forever.

Your safest bet is probably to have your child erase Kik from their phone. There is no sure fire method to ensure that the images and messages that your children receive are age appropriate—most likely, they are not considering the warning before download.

However, if you decide to let them keep the app, here are a few tips to increase their safety in using the app:

  • Have them keep their Kik username private—Do not post this username on other social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • Check that they’re not connecting with people they don’t know outside of the app.
  • Don’t let your children download apps using your own passcode (if they’re using your phone). If they have their own phone, keep track of what apps they’ve downloaded.
  • Have them select “Ignore New People” in the apps notifications menu, which allows you to block new follower messages.
  • Make sure you go over the list of your children’s social media contacts. You would want to meet your child’s friend in the real world, why not on the Internet?
  • As with any other app you would download, read the reviews and ratings before downloading. You never know what you might discover.
  • Look up any news on the application from trusted sources.

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6 comments on “Does Kik Messenger Pose a Danger to Your Kids?

  • I'm 16 and I am here to tell you yes KIk can and is a dangerous site to be on random people can message you out of the blue, if you don’t have the right setting on if you’re in a group chat if it’s not private then stranger can join if you don’t want them to but you know like most sites there are setting that you can use to prevent that. There also this nifty button that you can push just in case a random person does message you it’s called the BLOCK button if kids or teen want to use this they have to be smarter than the average bear they have to know how to handle certain situations. What Kik should do is advertise a bit more of how you can stop from talking with you, over all it just an app that needs common sense to be on.

    Reply
  • Oh to be so naive it isnt about trusting your children at all it is about not trusting the over abundance of scum that prey on the naive who believe that everything that is typed onto the world wide web is real….. And the gospel truth. Many of you are wise and can discern these people from the rest but there are many tweens who just cannot and it is our moral duty to watch out for them. We all have people in our lives who are savvy, street smart and we naturally watch out for the weaker. Please keep this in mind the kind of scum trolling gather information for months intil they have names and locations and parents children disappear FOREVER!!!!

    Reply
  • I am 15, almost 16. and i have a kik account. Yes, i use it to talk to loads of my friends. But i mostly use snap chat. but what I'm going to say is, if you have all these rules for kik, shouldn't you have them for snap chat too?
    On kik, if your child feels weird about talking to that person, pretty they just block them. I have put my kik on social media before, BUT i go through the ones who added, and if they seem weird, i block them. What I'm trying to say is, your childs gonna do whatever they want. If they.re like me i guess. that will. Im smart enough to know who and who not to talk too. Your child is too.

    Reply
  • I had kik and I would search my friend and there were ppl tyat would pop up and they would have innapropiate pictures and names isnt the app supposed to be for kids?

    Reply
  • Katie Wendell says:

    I agree you have to watch out for your kid but let them have some freedom! Its hard to be the ONLY one without a new cool app and all of your friends just want to chat with you. (I remember when I was younger) You have to trust your child! Be fair and let them at least TRY it. We dont want our children to grow up and so if we earse all of the "bad" apps it will keep them younger but really it just shows you don't trust your child. Think about what your child wants. Isn't that what it's all about?

    Reply

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