Kik:  Unauthorized chatting, no parent controls    

Kik Messenger, commonly known as Kik, is a freeware instant messaging mobile app available on iOS and Android operating systems. The app allows users to transmit and receive messages, photos, videos, sketches, and mobile web pages after registering a username without the need for a telephone number or valid email address.

However, Kik does not use end-to-end encryption, and the company logs user IP addresses, which can be used to determine the user’s ISP and approximate location. This information, as well as “reported” conversations, can be surrendered upon request by law enforcement organizations, sometimes without the need for a court order.

One of the most significant dangers of Kik is the unauthorized chatting, which allows anyone to send messages to other users without their permission. Criminals can use this feature to communicate with teens anonymously and mislead them.

Although Kik is not a dating app, sex offenders may harass teens by sending sexual content. Therefore, Kik is considered one of the most dangerous messaging apps for kids, as it encourages interaction with strangers, makes anonymity very easy, and provides little protection for children.

Teens between 13 and 18 years old need to have permission from their parent or legal guardian before creating a Kik account. If the birthday entered is for someone younger than 13, the account won’t be registered. However, Kik does not offer parental settings, and there is no way to control what your child encounters on the app. Additionally, the app has an in-app browser where users can surf the web or stream content while chatting.

Kik was also involved in a legal wrangle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over Kin cryptocurrency, which resulted in the company closing down the messaging service to concentrate on Kin. While Kik may have some unique features that appeal to users, it’s crucial to consider the risks associated with using this app, especially for children and teens.