It is increasingly difficult for parents to know what their children get up to on the Internet anymore. Things were already complicated enough when teens and younger children began to use the family computer, but things got considerably more complicated when children got their own computers. Since the advent of smart phones and mobile devices in recent years, many parents think that they have lost virtually all control of their children’s online activity.
Despite children having their own smart phones or mobile devices, parents can still (and should) know what their children do online. In this article, we will not be able to talk about this issue too broadly because the subject is too wide but what we will do, instead, is to focus on the Kik Messenger app.
We will not go into any issues related to child rearing because we are far from being experts on that matter and this web site is about Kik Messenger and not parenting. We will just focus on whether Kik is safe or suitable for children and how you can find out if your kid has a secret account. This article should be mostly seen as a series of guidelines for parents to take back some control over their children’s online usage, at least when it comes to Kik Messenger.
Is Kik Messenger Suitable For Children?
“The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.”- Andrew Brown
Some parents may wonder if the Kik Messenger app is really suitable or safe for children. In this section we will briefly explain what Kik Messenger is before we move on to analyze whether children should be using it.
Kik Messenger is a free instant messaging app that allows its users to send and receive messages from one another. The kinds of messages that can be exchanged by Kik users include text, video, and photo. Kik users can also use gifs and stickers to enhance their chats.
Are there any age restrictions to using Kik Messenger? Yes, Kik Messenger is only available for users 13 or older. Everyone interested in using the Kik Messenger app, will need to register after they have downloaded and installed the app. As part of the registration process, they will have to enter their date of birth. If the prospective user is between the ages of 13 or 18 years old, they will need to obtain permission from one of their parents or from a legal guardian. If the date of birth indicates that the prospective Kik user is under the age of 13, the registration will not be completed.
All of this means that, in theory, your child would not be able to have a Kik Messenger account without your knowledge. However, if they lied about their date of birth when they registered it is quite possible that they do. We will tell you want to do if that is the case but first let’s just take a look at possible problems for minors using Kik Messenger.
Parents would be right to be concerned about messages high in sexual content. Kik Messenger is probably among one of the most popular instant messaging apps for what is commonly referred to as “sexting”. Sexting is the term we use to refer to online or instant messaging where participants engage in sexually explicit conversation, open flirting with one another, and often exchange pictures and videos of a sexual nature mostly of themselves. This is certainly not something that is suitable for children. This may be one of the main reasons you would not want your child to have a Kik account.
How Can You Find Out If Your Child Has A Secret Kik Account?
So, if you have an under 18 year-old under your direct supervision and you suspect that your kid has a Kik account that you are not aware of you should go ahead and investigate whether they do. Remember that if they are under 13, they should not have one; and if they are between 13 and 18 years old they should have asked for your permission. So, if your child has a Kik account and you are not aware of it, it means that they have lied about their age when they first registered. Again, we do not want to offer you parenting guidelines but if your child lies online, there are probably some bigger issues you need to address with them beyond whether they use Kik Messenger or not.
There are several ways of finding out is our child has a secret account. What follows is a list of the main easy ways to find out:
- The easiest way to find out is to check your child’s smart phone or mobile device to check if they have Kik Messenger installed. How you go about this is very personal, of course, but you should always know what apps your kids have installed on their mobile devices. You should also be able to set up the necessary age restrictions to their devices so that they do not accidentally or otherwise download something they should not.
- Another way to find out if your child has a Kik Messenger account is check their email account for a registration email from Kik. As part of the registration process, Kik users are sent an email to confirm their identity before the account is activated. If your child has an account with Kik Messenger this means that they would have received a confirmation email with an activation link. So, one of the easiest ways to check if your child has Kik is to go through their email inbox. If you have an under 18 year old child, make sure that you have access to their emails. If your child wants to have an email address, you will need to set it up for them so you will have access to their messages for your child’s safety.
- If you have no access to your child’s smart phone or the email address, but still strongly suspect that your child has a Kik Messenger account then you could contact Kik Messenger directly in the way we will explain in the next section of this article.
Of course, all of these ways of finding out are rather technical but ignore a rather obvious solution: you can always ask your child directly if they have a Kik Messenger account. It is important that you be educated about the instant messaging app before you talk to your child and we hope this article has so far provided you with enough information.
What To Do If You Find Out That Your Child Has A Kik Account?
So, if you have found out that your child has opened a Kik account without your permission, it is completely up to you want to do if they are between 13 and 18 years of age. You can decide to give them permission to continue to use it or cancel their account. If they are younger than 13, they will have to cancel their Kik Messenger account.
You can ask them to deactivate their account themselves or you can do it yourself as long as you have access to the email address they used when they originally register to Kik Messenger. Again, remember that you should have access to your children’s email addresses if they are under 18 years of age.
The process for deactivating a Kik Messenger account, no matter the reason is as follows:
- Open the Kik Messenger app and log in.
- Tap on the settings icon.
- Select your account for all available options.
- Then tap on the reset icon.
- Type in the email address that was used to register.
- A deactivation email will be sent to that account with a link to fully deactivate the Kik Messenger account.
If, for whatever reason, you cannot do this or get your kid to do it, there is another way as long as you get your child’s Kik user name. If you do not know your kid’s user name you can find it from their device.
- Just go to the Kik app installed in their smart phone or mobile device.
- From the main chats list, tap on the icon that looks like a cog located at the top area of the screen.
- The settings screen will display next. The first thing you will notice will be the user name. It is shown quite prominently under their profile picture, written in gray font. Do not confuse this with their display name which is written in black font and will be located right above their user name.
Once you have your child’s user name, all you will to do is to email Kik on email@example.com asking them to deactivate your child’s account. The subject line should be “parent inquiry” and you should include your child’s user name and their age. You can email Kik using any email address. They will promptly deactivate your child’s Kik account and send you a confirmation.
In this article we have given you some information about Kik Messenger that we hope would be of use if you suspect your child’s is using Kik Messenger without your knowledge. The important thing is to find out about Kik and ensuring you know what your child gets up to online.