Kik may seem at first glance as ordinary instant messaging app like tens others out there. But when you take a closer look and explore it thoroughly you’ll find it more convincing that it’s the first chatting app choice for most of America’s teenagers. First of all, unlike many other chatting apps, Kik does not require a phone number upon registration; it takes only a first and last name, a username, and an email, which allows complete anonymity for the user if he or she chooses to be anonymous.
The designed for youth messaging app has So many features included in it that it makes it hardly needed for its users to leave or switch apps once they open it. With the ability to use the built-in browser, play games, listen to music or watch videos all in the same app who needs to leave?!
Yet, one of its top five internal apps, “Flirt!”, resulted the parent app to gain the reputation of encouraging flirting since it allows users to chat with strangers. The Tinder-like internal app of Kik displays a list of people whose ages are close to yours and in your area. Just like Tinder, if you swipe right on someone who also swiped right on you, you’ll be connected and able to chat with them right away.
As fun and easy as this may seem, it is a very dangerous feature if combined with the two facts that Kik’s majority users are teenagers, and that the app allows complete anonymity to its users!
Most parents’ worries were right on point when a 13 year old girl chatted on Kik with the 18 year old who kidnapped and murdered her the very next day. The tragedy caused Kik Messenger to wake up and be aware of the dangers it represents. The teen-targeting app added a most needed list of advice on its website regarding how to protect your Kik privacy and how to report a user or someone in a group if they start harassing you, and many other tips to protect Kik users’ safety. In addition to that, Kik has a parental guide on the website for those whose children are using the chatting app. This guide has many points covered from “what is Kik?” which introduces the app to the parent mindset, to “how can you manage who is connecting with your teen on Kik?” which seems a little invasive to the teen’s privacy, and makes you wonder if you could accept to have safety over privacy!