Kik is a mobile messaging application that can be used on both android and iPhone. The popular app which is free to use is similar to Viber and WhatsApp but has some additional functions that differentiate it. For example, an internal browser, meaning users are encouraged to spend more time within the app.
If your child is under 16 and has created a Kik account, the messaging app encourages parents to submit a deactivation request by contacting Note: Use the subject line ‘Parent Inquiry’ and include your child’s Kik username and age in your message. Note: The app currently has an age rating of 17+ on the app store.
The app allows users to connect with people in their phone book/contact list who already have a Kik account. This option can also be turned off by going to settings > chat settings > and turning off address book matching. By turning off address book matching, your child can only talk to people who know their username.
Your username is your identity on Kik. This means details like email address or telephone number aren’t made public on the app. To add someone as a connection on Kik, you must know their username. The app recommends users choose a username that is hard to guess, this will help minimise contact from strangers or people that your child may not know or want to talk to. If your teen is using the app encourage them not to share their username on other open social networks for example on Twitter.
Kik messenger also offers internal apps through its browser encouraging users to remain within the app itself. These internal apps include stickers apps, meme generators, games and dating style apps that allow users to chat with new contacts which may be concerning for parents.
Two such apps are Match Chat and Flirt! Match Chat works in a similar way to Tinder, matching users by ages, gender etc. What is worrying about Match Chat is the ease with which a user can chat to others users of any age they want. For example users can select to chat to teens users, users in their 20′s,30′s etc.
The Flirt! App also available through the Kik browser presents users with a list of new users within their age range to chat to. Again, users can easily pretend to be someone else, give a different age on their Kik account etc. We would not recommend either of these apps for teens. If your child is on Kik, caution needs to be taken especially regarding the above apps.
There are stickers available to By ethnicity dating online purchase on the Kik app, however users must have a credit card associated to their Google Play or iTunes account in order to make a purchase.
In addition to the potential risks from using Kik’s internal dating-style apps, there are some more general risks and things to watch out for. These include cyber bullying, experiencing or sharing inappropriate content and chatting with strangers which is very easy to do on the Kik app. To help avoid these problems, the same rules should apply to all online interactions for young people; only share data with those who you trust in real life, block/report unwanted contacts, think before you click and report any inappropriate data or messages to a trusted adult.
Alternatively you can either visit their profile, click on the icon in the top right hand corner, the option to block them will then appear. Users who have been blocked will not know they have been blocked. If your child is in a group with someone they have blocked, any messages that appear in that group from the other person will show up as ***Blocked Message***.