If your teens or tweens are actively messaging on their phones, you’ve probably noticed that they’re using a messaging app rather than the phone’s standard SMS utility. Messaging apps are cool, free and they offer features that many users find appealing.
We did a quick review of the KIK messaging app last year, which now has over 150 million users, and it didn’t seem much different from the other messaging apps out there like WhatsApp and Line with one exception – anecdotally it seems that that more teens are using KIK for sexting and seeking out causal partners than is the case for other messaging apps, at least here in the U.S.
Our opinion has been that if your teen decides to try out sexting, it’s going to happen regardless of which apps are on his phone. The apps themselves are not the problem. We may have to change our tune on this one.
I do have KIK on my phone but I don’t use it – it’s still there from when I’ve researched it in the past. I didn’t realize that I had push notifications turned on, and was very surprised to receive the following message yesterday:
“Hello from the KIK Dating Team. We’ve noticed you may be interested in our online dating partner www.kikdating.net who have thousands of beautiful women all ready to chat and flirt using KIK Messenger! We hope you enjoy our gift and enjoy using our network to swap pics and flirty messages!
Love KIK Team.”
As I mentioned above, I don’t use the app (I sent and received 1 message last year during testing) and they don’t know anything about me, including whether I’m interested in flirting. They don’t know my age either, which means that the above message could have as easily been sent to a curious 12-year-old.
It’s one thing for a teen to use KIK to message an existing partner; it’s totally different if the platform suggests that he may want to try flirting with strangers. We recommend that parents keep KIK off their kids’ phones until they are old enough to make very good decisions.
Parents can find information on deactivating a child’s KIK account here.
Edit: A colleague and I did some research and it looks like this message is spam, not sent by KIK themselves. We are reaching out to the company for a comment.
Edit 2: www dot kikdating dot net has been taken down. The above was definitely third party spam. I did reach out to the company and still haven’t heard from them.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.