Could your child be texting with strangers without you knowing about it? Unfortunately, if you haven’t yet taken the necessary precautions to block dangerous mesaging apps, the answer is “yes.” While there are dozens of apps available that provide a way for users to communicate with each other, Kik is particularly problematic. Take a moment to learn what this app is all about including the threats that it poses to your child’s safety.
What is Kik?
Kik is a free messaging service for Smartphones and tablets that enables users to interact with one another by sending text messages, photos, and videos. Teens like Kik because it gives them the ability to send unlimited messages to each other free of charge. All they need is a Wi-Fi connection, and they’re good to go. That means if you’ve set a limit on your kids’ texting plan, they can bypass that limit using apps like Kik.
The Problem With Kik for Kids
Although there are some privacy safeguards on Kik that are helpful, including the ability to block certain users, this app is still not suitable for kids. It’s designed for users 17 and older, but getting around this age restriction is literally as easy as tapping the screen to “confirm” your age. Once you download Kik, you’re prompted to create a user name. In order to chat with other Kik users, you have to search for their user name in order to add them as a contact. So far so good, right? Not so fast. The problem is that Kik encourages users to share their user name on all of their social media networks. While this may be ok for adults, for kids, it’s an open invitation to predators and cyberbullies.
How to Block Kik
You could and should talk to your tween or teen about the dangers of Kik and other apps like it, but that won’t guarantee that their curiosity won’t get the best of them. That’s why it’s wise to just block the app altogether. Fortunately, it’s easy to block Kik and other questionable messaging apps with Qustodio’s application controls. If your child protests, remind him that these safeguards are meant to protect his safety, and then move on. Never feel guilty about taking steps to prevent your kid from online dangers. After all, that’s your job!
Do you have questions about the safety of other apps? Let us know in the comments section.