Of all the Teen Apps, Kik Messenger is the one parents google most! Parents want to know how to control Kik, how to find out what their kids are texting, and who is texting their kids. Kik Messenger, put simply, is a free text messaging service but you don’t have to have a mobile phone to use it. Mix a tween, an ipod, an itunes account and wifi together and you have an instant messaging service. Teens tend to download the app onto their phones. Once the app is installed you can text, send pics and have group conversations. It combines texting with social networking!
Why do teens love it?
Number one - It is free!! Number 2 – It is private and Number 3 they can download to their own individual ipods, ipads and phones. Statistics currently put teens at sending 100 texts a day and that can become very costly if you are paying for it. With wifi you can text to your heart’s content on Kik. Kik, like other apps, is customized to the user’s mobile device so unlike FB you can’t find a Kik account online. Kik flies below a parent’s radar. Just as parents feel that they are up to speed with Face Book, Apps such as Kik appear and leave them confused.
Why should parents be concerned?
Kik Messenger recently upgraded the age limit from 13 to 17. Parents need to consider why that has occurred. Why is Kik worried about younger users? I’d be worried about the type of pics that teens might post and the pedophiles trawling the web for such pics. Think too much skin, think pouty selfies. Kids tend also to post their ‘Kik Address’ on other sites such as Tumblr or Instagram and this is how strangers access them on Kik. The usual phrase is: ‘Kik me @…….followed by their address. If Kik is the first text message service your child has used some basic lessons in what to text and what to not are in order!
What can parents do?
Talk to your teens about how, what and what not to text. Bad news should NEVER be texted. That’s a pretty standard rule. Bad language should NEVER be texted. Sending pics should be carefully thought through. Do you want those pics sent on to others? Does your friend know that you have sent those pics of him? Engage in a conversation about what they think about Kik. Consider using iMessage instead – it is more private and protected. Remind them of keeping their digital reputation tidy and clean. Talk about their privacy settings – they should ensure that only people they know can message them. Talk to them about what to do if someone they don’t know texts them or asks them to send them pics. This is NOT a rare occurrence unfortunately.