Kik is an online messaging application that is a great alternative for the regular text messaging and is quite economical too. Kik was released in response to the BlackBerry BBM and was released in 2009 by a few university students from Canada looking to design an app that would change the face of social media messaging. We have seen many apps that tried to be the alternative to text messaging but not one like Kik. To this day, Kik has almost 280 Million users.
Kik was designed to be a simple and friendly app. That’s all that its makers were intending, but they got more than they bargained for. Kik quickly became a sexting app where people could talk to random strangers. During the span of 7 years, Kik has been involved in several cases of assaults, abuse and murders, which spoiled the reputation it has garnered overtime and parents are worried about such apps which are dangerous for their children. There is no doubt about the fact that Kik is indeed a revolution in online messaging, but there’s also no doubt about the fact that it is one of the most inappropriate apps available today. Just to clarify things, here are a few reasons:
Even before the installation of the app, there are a few things that raise question about what the app is being used for. If you open up the app in the Google Play Store, it looks just like any other app available on the Android Market – Good rating, over 150 Million downloads, all good stuff. But, if you care to scroll down a bit, the comments will completely change your outlook on the app and you might even decide not to install it. The comments are full of people (mostly underage) giving out personal information like age, sex and location and even posting their usernames and are looking for provocative chat, rp (role play), and several other things not worth mentioning. This can make a user realize what sort of audience the Kik Interactive has and how that audience is using the app.
Kik has absolutely no way of verifying the data that its users provide. The app is basically asking you to be whoever you want to be. The name and profile picture aren’t as concerning as the age that the users provide. People can easily lie about their age. A person can claim to be 18 when he’s 80. This is the beauty of Kik and for certain people, allowing them to be whoever they want to be. This is one of the major reasons that Kik can be dangerous for teens. There’s a high chance that the people they talk to aren’t their age and are twice as smart and cunning as your teen. And that’s not it. There’s also the danger that your teen maybe lying about their age and talking to people in a way that they normally wouldn’t with a peer.
Cyberbullying on Kik is one of the prime things that Kik Interactive should be focusing on. Online bullying has been growing day by day, and Kik is one of the most used medium for cyber bullying. There have been several reported cases where teens have been abused on Kik. The most popular of this case is the Nicole Lowell case, where Nicole, a 13-year old was found murdered and David Eisenhauer, a Kik user, was charged with kidnapping and the murder of Nicole. Kik Interactive assisted the FBI in this investigation by providing critical information that helped the FBI to arrest David and his accomplice. This was also the reason that made Kik go from a 9+ app to a 13+ app.
The Bottom Line
The facts stated above are more than enough for any parent with a child spending too much time on this app. We don’t mean to say that you should completely ban your child from using this app, this would be a wrong thing to do since Kik can save a lot of time and money. Instead you should keep an eye on what your child is doing on Kik and the best way to do that would be through parental monitoring applications They can keep track of all the social media platforms on a child’s cellphone and check who they talk to the most. Other than that, it can also allow you to look into your child’s browsing history to see if they are checking in to a website that they shouldn’t be. Thus, it is all you need to keep your child safe from the so called “digital era” that we are living in right now making sure that they take advantage of everything they can and stay miles away from things that can prove to be bad for them.
Angelica is an author, and content manager at TheOneSpy. She entirely fills in with deep research on cyber bullying, trolling, employee legal facts, social media and Instant messengers. You can follow her on twitter @angelicadowson2