How Kids Get Their Kik’s

Kik Interactive was developed by students at Waterloo University in 2008.  In 2010, Kik Messenger app was developed and has since become the mobile chat app of choice for 40% of US teenagers (according to the company) contains an entire version of the internet inside its virtual borders.
Anonymity is the culprit behind the dangers linked to the Kik Messenger app.  Although financially valuable to Kik, which has been valued at $1bn, it is something that parents need to learn about ASAP.
Cyber security is a huge concern for parents and with the ongoing development in mobile applications, parents should be concerned. Mobile apps and chatbots are trending because of the move to mobile for more of our internet communications. Chatbots are software that replace multiple applications so that a person can find everything from the weather, to games to music.  There’s no need to go anywhere else.
The future of Chatbots could create a smartbot personal assistant for each of us inside our phones. Great for adults but for kids, this creates a space where they are vulnerable to the ugliness of the world.
According to an article in the New York Times, “law enforcement officials say it (Kik) has been linked to a growing number of abuse cases” and is linked to the death and murder of a 13 year old Virginia girl. “Kik is the problem app of the moment,” said David Frattare, commander of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”
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9 thoughts on “How Kids Get Their Kik’s

  1. I recall much of the media stories that pointed out the issues with Kik. As a father I was very concerned at the time, but luckily my children were not interested and I have not had to deal with any issues regarding Kik (as of yet).

    That being said, it has been somewhat of a cautionary tale for me, so I have worked to guide my kids understanding of how dangerous the internet and people who lurk there can be. But no matter what precautions I take, I know that the reality is you can’t be with your children 24/7. That is why it is important to help them understand the dangers so they can make wise decisions on their own.

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  2. I’m so glad my son is grown. There’s so many net-related problems such as security issues, but to me, chief among the problems is just too much time on-line. My advice to parents is to take the kids hiking, camping, canoeing, whatever. Turn off the computer and smart phone and tablet and go outside into the real world!

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    1. I totally agree with you Shane. Not only is there data security risks, potential for real physical harm to children, but staying connected to people means disconnecting from technology. Getting into nature is a great option!

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  3. Hi Karon!

    I can briefly recall Kik’s introduction several years back. If I remember correctly, Kik was introduced in the midst of Blackberry Messenger’s (BBM) evolution. However, Kik was available to users without Blackberry. A decade ago, the concept of messaging in real time was new and revolutionary; however, in today’s market, conversational messaging is the norm. As such, it makes sense that Kik has since expanded their target audience and their consumer content to keep teens interested in their platform.

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  4. Hi Karon,

    It seems that for every new technology, and every new platform, there comes with it vulnerability and potential for abuse. The anonymity of Kik makes it sort’ve a ‘wild west’ for that sort’ve thing.

    It shocked me to learn that 40% of teens and young adults use Kik. It seems as though it’s to Generation Z what “AIM” (AOL Instant Messenger) was for millennials. The difference is, I don’t remember ever interacting with a brand on AIM as a teenager, and 6.5 million Kik users follow a brand on the platform. It seems as though marketers have figured out if they want to reach teens, they have to be accessible on the platforms they use every day.

    Have a great week!

    Teresa

    Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/kik-messenger-stats/2/

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    1. I like your reference to the “wild west” and believe that with every new technology, we are adventuring into the unknown and the “wild west” where anything goes.

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  5. Thanks for your response Nicole. Cyber security is an ever changing place and your knowledge and experience will be a benefit to future generations, including your own children. It is our responsibility to be educated and prepared to provide the appropriate and safe navigation of the internet world to our children and future generations.

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  6. Karon,

    I don’t have kids yet, and the thought of what I’ll have to prepare them for in terms of chatbots and cyber security, was nothing my parents had to prepare me for. Thank you for sharing, it’ll definitely be something I’ll consider in the future.

    N

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