Kik (also known as Kik Messenger) is one of the most popular instant messaging apps, and it operates on both iOS and Android without any message limits, character limits, or fees. Kik allows users to maintain anonymity as it doesn’t require users to provide a phone number to register—instead, users can open an account with a valid email address. In addition to increased anonymity, Kik offers few protections for children while encouraging them to connect with strangers. Users can also start their own private group chat or join public chats based on common interests. According to a 2023 report from Search Logistics, Kik has 15 million monthly active users with about 48% of those users (7.2 million) from the United States. Approximately 70% of Kik users are also between 13-24 years old.
After initially opening Kik, users see ads for live videos with people in suggestive and explicit positions.
- No verification action required increases the risk of potential exposure to online predators.
Users receive a notification asking if they would like to receive message requests from strangers.
- Users do not have to verify their age.
- Strangers from around the world can chat with minors.
- Private chats can lead to cyberbullying and sharing of inappropriate content with children.
- Kik has been connected to hundreds of grooming and child exploitation cases.
Live streams can be easily viewed.
- Nudity or obscene behavior will result in account deletion.
- Drugs and alcohol can be viewed by young people.
Minors can stream live if they have a profile picture potentially exposing children to online predators.
- “Grooming” is a process where someone befriends a child to take advantage or harm them.
- Predators manipulate children into sending naked photos or videos.
Public chat searches of kid favorite topics like Pokémon, Fortnite, or gaming will result in extremely graphic sexual content and imagery highly disturbing to minors.
- Special web browser enables users to search the internet.
- No parental controls available in the app.
It can be very helpful for younger children to restrict their Kik use to only private chats with known, safe friends. Public group chat options can be turned off in the privacy settings. Kik allows users to block people who are harassing them, or to turn off DM requests in groups. It’s important to note that these changes are not passcode locked so they can easily be toggled back on at any time. Parents can read What Parents Need To Know About Kik App on Bark’s website. Bark will scan the app and parents will get an alert if the algorithm finds something concerning like sexual content, bullying, online predators, and much more. Another helpful tool for parents is the Kik Help Center, where parents can learn how to manage who their child talks to on Kik, how to see messages a child has sent or received, and more!
Want To Learn More?
For additional information, check out FamiSafe’s article discussing how parents can monitor Kik and potential ways to prevent harm occurring to their children.