Is Kik Messenger Safe For Teenagers?

It is hardly shocking that the Kik Messenger app is so popular among teenagers around the world and, particularity, in the United States. After all, in many ways the Kik Messenger app is the ideal way to communicate for teenagers. Not many other platforms are so convenient (let alone free!) as the Kik Messenger app. The fact that the instant messaging app run by Kik Interactive is so very popular among teenagers does not necessarily mean that it is safe for them to use it but it also does not necessarily mean the opposite. So, is it safe for teenagers?

Certainly, there are many considerations to be made if you are the parent or guardian of teenage children who may want to use the Kik Messenger app or are already using it.

In this article we will go over what those considerations should be. So, if you have a teenage children read on for useful tips and advice.

Before we proceed we want to make something very clear. The tips we will go over in this article have been thought of as advice for parents and guardians that are comfortable with the idea that their teenage children use social media and an instant messaging app like Kik Messenger. We are not recommending, in any event, that this is something teenagers should or should not do. It befalls parents and guardians to decide what is good for their kids.

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Are There Age Restrictions?

Of course, everyone will agree that being twelve years old or eighteen is very different. So, you may be wondering what we mean by teenagers in this article (or rather what Kik Messenger considers a teenager), and if they are any age restrictions when it comes to signing up to the Kik Messenger app.

So, first of all, the Kik Messenger app is only available for users 13 years old or older. That means that people under the age of 13 are prohibited from creating their own profiles and chatting on Kik. To ensure that this is strictly adhered to, Kik Messenger asks potential users to enter their exact date of birth as part of the registration process. If a potential user enters a birthday that makes then younger than thirteen years of age at the time, their registration will be denied.

Therefore, if you have a kid younger that thirteen and he or she is interested in opening an account with Kik Messenger you will need to explain to them that they will not be able to for a while longer (until they will turn thirteen, at least).

If you find out that your under-thirteen year old child is using the Kik Messenger app, you should immediately get his or her account deactivated. We will explain how to do this later on in this article.

So, for all intends and purposes as far as Kik Messenger is concerned, a teenager is someone between the ages or thirteen and eighteen years old. If you have a child between those ages, you will have to give your explicit consent for them to have a Kik Messenger profile.

Again, this is all part of the registration process so the Kik Messenger app will not let anybody between the ages of thirteen and eighteen to proceed unless they have provided permission from one of his or her parents or legal guardians.

Of course, once someone because eighteen they can go ahead and create a Kik Messenger profile without consent (or even knowledge) of their parents.

Tips To Keep Your Teenager Safe On Kik

 

The Kik Messenger app allows users to chat to one another on an individual one to one basis or as part of a larger group. It also allows them to exchange video and pictures.

Any potential dangers about Kik Messenger are associated with the possibility of chatting with strangers. And although this danger is real there is no reason to take it out of proportion. If they stick to chatting to people they already know (say school friends, etc.) and ignoring or blocking any other chat requests, they should be safe.

Apart from this there are some online safety guidelines that you should go over with your kid. The following focus on the Kik Messenger app specifically but some of them can also be used in different circumstances.

  • The first thing to make clear to teenagers is that they should not give their real name to strangers on the Kik Messenger app. The best way to avoid doing this is to use an alias as a user name.
    • When registering for Kik Messenger, your teenager will be asked to create both a user name and a display name. The user name has to be totally unique to them (not two Kik users could ever have the same user name) and a display name. The basic difference between the two is that the user name you are stuck with whereas you can change your display name as often as you see fit. Also your display name does not need to be unique so it is much easier to come up with one.
    • In terms of what other people see, at some point they might be able to see both. This is because the user name is how other users will find each other but your display name is what will actually display on their screens once they are chatting to you.
  • The one important thing for a teenager to know is that they should never use their real name (or anything resembling it) as their user name. Also, they should avoid using their real name as their display name if possible although this is much of less big a deal. After all, only people you are already chatting with will be able to see your display name.
    • Another related point is the one that makes reference to personal information. Teenagers should never reveal too much about who they are on the Kik Messenger app. What would this include? Well, they should definitely avoid talking about where they live or go to school. Basically, any clues about who (or his or her family) are should be off-limits when they are talking to a stranger. Why would a stranger need to know those things anyway?
    • Of course, all of that would cease to be an issue if your teenage son or daughter would just talk to people they already know (and trust) from real life.
  • Finally, teenagers should be made aware of their ability to block people on Kik. Blocking someone who is proving him or herself a nuisance or simply someone that you are not comfortable chatting with is one of the easiest things that can be done. Simply tap on the profile icon located in the top right hand corner of your screen, then tap on the “more” icon, tap on “block name”, and tap ”block”. If you block someone on Kik they will never know nor will they be able to chat to you or contact you again. So, this is by far the easiest and most effective way to stay safe online.

“The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting.”- Drew Barry

General Advice

Although the advice contained in this section is still relevant to the Kik Messenger app, it is more general in nature so it also applies to other apps and online usage.

Anybody trying to download an app, will need to have access to an app store. For example, the Apple app store (if they use an iOS device such as an iPhone or an iPod Touch) or the Google Play app store if they use an Android device.

Visiting an app store is not enough, however, as users will also need to register using an email address and other personal information. Now, you have two choices, you can open an email account for your teenager so that he or she can download apps (of course, you will have access to that email address so you can control what apps they are downloading. Your second option would be to have them use your app account so you can also keep taps on their online activity.

The main thing is that you should have full access to your child’s email account until they are eighteen. You should check this email account as often as possible.

How to Deactivate Kik?

So whether your child has been using the Kik Messenger app behind your back or you wish for them to stop using it, you could deactivate it yourself by following these instructions:

  1. Find Kik Messenger on your child’s smart phone or mobile device.
  2. Open Kik.
  3. Go to the Kik settings.
  4. Then go to account.
  5. Find the “reset” button and tap on it.
  6. Type in the email address that was used when registering (you will need to have access to this email account). If you do not have access to this, skip the following steps and go straight to the next paragraph.
  7. Log into the email account and find the deactivation email.
  8. Click on the link in the deactivation email and follow the rest of the instructions until deactivation is complete.

If you do not have access to your child’s email address, you can email Kik Interactive from any email address requesting they deactivate the account, using “parent inquiry” as the subject. Make sure that you include your child’s Kik user name, his or her age in your email. The address you will need to use is [email protected]

If you have any further questions or any feedback, please leave us a message in the comments section below.

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