Kik was first released in 2009 by a bunch of students from a Canadian University looking to revolutionize the way people communicate with their Smartphones. Kik was a joke when it was first released but it gained popularity almost instantly. It gained a million users in a week, which says a lot about the app. A very cool interface, easy-to-use, and just a traditional texting app, but, it didn’t stay that way for long. Kik has now become the go-to app for minors. Why’s that? We are just about to discuss that very thing here.
If you look at the app in the Play Store or the App Store, it looks like a pretty decent app, pretty decent reviews, however, if you browse down and look at some of the comments on the app all you will find if “17 and single looking for someone to talk to” or maybe something like “Hi, I’m John looking for dirty chat”. Honestly, if you ask me, that might be half the reason that the app gained and is gaining so much popularity every single day. According to an estimate, almost 60% of the users on Kik are teens under the age of 18, and when you combine those comments and our estimate, it looks like the recipe for disaster.
What Do You Need For Signing Up?
Nothing, well, almost nothing is required to sign up on Kik. All you need is a name, a username, an email address and your date of birth. This is the main reason the app is as inappropriate as it is today. Google Play Store or the App Store clearly states that Kik is a 17+ app, however, you only need to be 13+ years of age to sign up, and even if you’re 8 years old, you can sign up to Kik. Kik’s algorithm does not verify the date of birth that their users provide, making it very easy for anyone to lie about their age, and having a fake name and picture are something that we don’t even have to discuss – people have been doing that for years.
What People Can Do With Kik?
We have already talked about how easy it is to be Channing Tatum on Kik, let’s talk about what happens after you sign up. You can search up your friends using their Kik Username, and that’s the second problem right there. The fact that you can search up anyone on Kik by just putting in their username and texting them is quite troubling for a lot of reasons. This feature was reported to be used by advertising agencies that pay people just to sit around and search up random names and send them stuff and this is just the beginning of the things you can do with Kik.
Controversies Surrounding Kik
There have been several convicted pedophiles that claimed to have used Kik to force children to do things they wouldn’t normally do. A convicted felon did as far as to claim that he could sign up on Kik at that moment and within 20 minutes he would have everything that he wanted which includes images and videos. In February 2016, Kik messenger became the talk of the news when it was used by an 18-year old to contact the victim, Nicole Lovell, just a few weeks before she was kidnapped and murdered. Kik Interactive made the claim that they helped the FBI in taking down the murderer after which Kik went from a 9+ app to strictly 13+.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of what Kik does any more to make its algorithm stronger and to provide its users with all sorts of security that it needs, they have already created a reputation of sorts among predators and child molesters. Thus, it is imperative of every single caring and responsible parent out there to look after their children and to keep an eye on them if they are using an app as dangerous as this one. Kik is technically not a bad app, but the lack of privacy and security on it makes it one. Thus, as long as your child is using it to talk to their friends and the people that you know, then it is all good. Otherwise, even if you have to stoop to getting hold of TheOneSpy parental monitoring application to keep a close eye on them, you should.