What is Kik? App review for parents

By February 02, 2016
What is Kik? App review for parents

What is Kik? App review for parents

13 year-old Nicole Lovell was recently murdered by engaging in a relationship through the application Kik. Parents, please take time to monitor what your child is doing online and especially the apps they are using on their phones. Read here to learn more about Nicole Lovell’s Story.

Kik Messenger is a free instant messaging application for mobile devices from Kik Interactive, available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone operating systems. The app really is a gateway to connecting with all types of people all around the world through different webpages and applications. I will show you how it works when we look deeper into the app.

In January 2015, Kik reached 200 million registered users.

Child exploitation

The biggest problem with KIK, and it’s a BIG problem, is child exploitation.

During 2014 a pedophile told The Trentonian newspaper: “I could go on it now and probably within 20 minutes have videos, pictures, everything else in between off the app because I know they’re both still active. That’s where all the child porn is coming off of.” Similarly, in 2015 another pedophile stated: “The first thing that I thought was, ‘Wow! I can be whoever I want to be. I can get anybody I want. I can achieve my sexual glorification through this app.’”

Automated spam bots have been used to distribute explicit images and text over Kik Messenger.

To further show how poor the app’s security is in November of 2014, Kik scored 1 out of 7 points on the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s secure messaging scorecard. Kik received a point for encryption during transit but lost points because communications are not encrypted with a key the provider does not have access to, users cannot verify contacts’ identities, past messages are not secure if the encryption keys are stolen, the code is not open to independent review, the security design is not properly documented, and there has not been a recent independent security audit.

Parent concerns

Here is what parents should know about this app.

  • Anyone can be anyone on this app.
  • Security is very, very poor.
  • There are inappropriate images and content being shared on the app.
  • The biggest concern is Child exploitation. It is a platform that child predators can easily access and target children.

I rate this app a 0 out of 5 stars because it is not appropriate for children to have on their devices.

If you find this app on your child’s device, I would recommend you have them remove it and talk to them about online safety using the skill of Effective Communication found on the Smarter Parenting website. For more detailed information about this app, visit the Smarter Parenting blog section.

LEARN: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Next week we review another app. Don’t forget to subscribe to us on Youtube, register on our website and follow us on social media.
Until next time, be safe in cyberspace.

WATCH: APP REVIEWS: WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ON YOUTUBE

Is there an App you would like us to review. Please let us know. There are always new applications for teens coming out and if there is one you have a question about, please let us know. Subscribe to us and Register for more information.

Next week we will review the Social Media app Skout.

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