You probably read last week about the tragic murder of Nicole Lovell, the 13-year old Virginia girl who was found murdered miles from her home. Speculation currently is that Lovell met a college student via the Kik messenger app and the two were engaged in an inappropriate relationship. Authorities appear to believe that she was murdered because she threatened to go public with the relationship.
Kik has responded quickly to the situation, and last week published an update to Kik’s Guide For Parents.
We’ve written before about some issues we have with Kik, including pornographic spam. To Kik’s credit (a) at the time they had a spokesman get back to us and explain the situation, and (b) the problem appears to be fixed, because we haven’t seen any such spam in over a year. Kudos to them.
Kik’s Parent’s Guide does a good job for parents explaining how Kik works and how to solve user issues, including how to deal with cyberbullies. If your child is using Kik, you should check it out. What Kik’s Guide doesn’t do is tell parents whether their kids are using Kik, and who they are talking to. For that, parents need to roll their sleeves up.
There’s one entry in the guide that we found particularly interesting: Kik claims that they will help parents delete accounts of minors if the parents so request.
“If you would like to deactivate your teen’s Kik account, but aren’t able to get access to your teen’s email account, you can submit a deactivation request to Kik by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Parent Inquiry’. A member of the Kik Support Team will send you a deactivation request form, which can be returned to Kik for processing.”
That is a big deal. We’ve written a number of times about how Instagram, for example, will not respond to parents’ requests or delete underage accounts, which we believe is horrible for parents are a true injustice. If Kik has a user friendly way to ensure that parents’ have the control that they should, they could be a model for the rest of the social media community.
We are going to try it out. More to follow.
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