Top 5 Teen Apps 2014: No.3 Kik Messenger – Can Parents Control it?

Kik meWhat is Kik Messenger?

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.

About Renata Rowe

Deputy Head of Campus/Head of Secondary, Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty Campus This blog is the School's way of helping our parents and teachers understand and experience the cyber world that their children live in. We post stories about the latest cyber safety issues, and the latest social mediums that their children and teens might be using. We believe that teaching children and teens to be good Digital Citizen from a young age will protect them and their reputations. Our parents have been delighted and have subscribed so that they can receive our updates - we post about once or twice a week. So subscribe - its easy to do, just enter your email address in the box in the top righthand corner of the home page and posts will automatically be delivered to you.
This entry was posted in Apps for Teens and Tweens, Cyber Safety, Dangers, Digital Citizenship, Kik, Kik Messenger, Parental Controls, Parents, Social Media Apps, Teens, Texting, Tweens and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Top 5 Teen Apps 2014: No.3 Kik Messenger – Can Parents Control it?

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Teen Apps 2014: No.3 Kik Messenger – Can Parents Control it? | Innovation in Learning

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