One of the widely-used cross-platform mobile messaging apps, Kik can be used on iPhone, as well, as Android devices. It is an immensely popular mobile app and is absolutely free similar to WhatsApp and Viper, and yet comes with some extra functionalities, which distinguishes it from the other two.
For instance, it features an internal browser, which encourages users to use the app more frequently. In fact, the app has been grabbing the headlines recently and proper caution should be used in case your child holds a Kik account.
- Following are some of the key functions of Kik:
- Anonymous chat
- Conducting a group chat with a maximum of 49 users
- Send GIFs, images, videos, and messages
- Individual chatting between two users
Restrictions of using Kik
In Ireland, the consent for the digital age is a minimum of 16-year. So, in case you are not yet 16, it is imperative to get the consent of your guardian or parent for using services such as social media networks.
In case your offspring is not yet 16 but has created his/her account in Kik, the messaging app suggests that the parents of the concerned child should send a request for deactivation by writing to email@example.com. The parents have to mention the words "Parent Inquiry" on the subject line of their mail. They should also mention the age and Kik username of their child in their message.
The mobile app permits its users to get in touch with the contacts in their phonebook who also have their accounts with Kik. The option can be disabled by going to chat settings under settings and then disabling address book matching. When the address book matching is turned off, your child will be able to only connect to persons who are aware of their username.
A username is the user's unique identity on this mobile app. It signifies that details such as telephone number and email address are not visible as public info on this app. You should be aware of the username of a person for adding him/her as your Kik connection. You will find that Kik recommends that its users opt for usernames, which are not simple to guess.
Such a step will help in reducing contact from people or strangers with whom your child does not wish to interact. In case your teenage child is using this app, advise them never to share their Kik usernames on social networking sites such as Twitter.
The Kik Browser-A key feature
Internal apps are offered by the Kik messenger through its internal browser. The idea is to encourage its users to stay inside the app itself. Some internal apps of Kik are meme generators, stickers apps, dating style, and game apps, which enable its users to interact with their fresh contacts that could be worrying for the parents at times.
A couple of such apps are Flirt! Match & Chat and Match & Chat whose functionalities are similar to Tinder wherein users are matched using parameters such as gender, age, etc. Match & Chat can be worrying as a user can interact with other users irrespective of the age-group to which the latter belongs.
The Kik browser also offers access to the Flirt! App so that its users can avail a new users list belonging to their age-group to connect and chat to. Also, there is a risk element here too as a user may pretend to be a different person or specify some other age while creating their Kik account. Hence, either of these two apps is definitely not recommended for teens. When your child is using Kik, you have to be careful, particularly with respect to the above two apps.
Other risk factors involved
Apart from the potential risk factors while using the internal dating-style applications of Kik, you need to also apply caution on some other general risks. Some of these are sharing or experiencing inappropriate content, cyberbullying, or chatting with complete strangers. All these are extremely simple to do on this app.
In order to avoid such issues, similar rules should be applicable like various other online interactions for any young person. Share your personal data with only those people who you are completely sure of in real life. Make it a point to report or block unwanted contacts and think carefully prior to clicking and reporting any kind of inappropriate messages or data to a reliable adult