Kik is a free messaging service that’s available for most smartphones. Like all messaging apps, Kik Messenger has some questionable users with even more questionable inentions. Reviews in the app stores often include spammy reviews from Kik users asking for nude photos, webcam sessions, and inappropriate chats. A good majority of the users who use Kik are between the ages of 12-25.
Kids who download the app will tell you, as the parent, that people can only message them if they have your child’s username. While this is mostly true, there are ways around it. It’s not hard to guess usernames on the app, and starting to type in a random username can lead predators to random profiles and allow them to initiate chats that may or may not be innocent. On top of this, users have reported receiving spam messages from the app. The messages include links to webcam websites, links to “free gift cards”, and messages claiming that the user has won a prize. These kinds of messages are always fake, and clicking on the links in the messages can cause a world of problems such as viruses, credit card scams, and identity theft.
You or your child can choose to either delete or ignore unwanted chats, and even report the messages as spam to the app’s creators. The issue of spam messages has been mentioned in the FAQ for the app, and it’s been said that the creators are working on ways to properly secure the app.
Until the app is secured and users can no longer chat with random users, it’s recommended not to let children use the app.
Typing random words isn’t the only way that predators can reach out to your child on Kik, unfortunately. Many people- including children- use their Instagram and Facebook accounts to advertise their Kik username in order to get more chats and make friends. This can lead to problems, especially when it comes to Instagram because the users who send your child messages might be dangerous and could literally be anybody as Instagram doesn’t have any sort of prevention for fake profiles or predators. On Facebook, it’s a bit different however, because your child would probably know most of the people that got their username from Facebook, but it’s better to be safe and not advertise the username, than sorry.
Using Twitter to find people to chat with on Kik has been gaining popularity, as well.