What is Kik?

By Chris Pichereau, Abshier House

Founded in 2009, Kik is a free instant messenger application developed from Kik Interactive. Kik is available on the Android, Windows Phone, and iOS devices. The application is modeled after BlackBerry Messenger. Kik uses the existing smartphone’s data plan or Wi-Fi to send and receive messages, videos, photos, mobile web pages, sketches, and other content.

There is no limit to the number of messages you can send and receive through Kik. [Credit: ©iS

Credit: ©iStock/Geber86
There is no limit to the number of messages you can send and receive through Kik.

What you should know about Kik features

Most people use Kik as an alternative to social networking sites and email. Kik hosts the following features:

  • A full-screen in-chat browser that allows users to find and share web content

  • The ability to send previously recorded videos on Kik messenger

  • Kik Codes that allow users to identify other users or join a chat group

  • Live typing allows users to see when other chatters are active

  • Users are notified when messages are sent and delivered

  • Kik invites friends when they sign up for the app and automatically saves their phone number and email to the user’s phone

  • Users can connect to other social media sites such as Instagram, Viddy, and SocialCam to share data (such as photos and video)

  • All conversation lists are clearly listed so the user can pull up an existing conversation and start chatting

  • Easy access to settings for managing or blocking specific contacts

What parents need to know about Kik

While Kik can be used by young adults, it is not intended for users under 13 years of age.

COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) requires that children 12 and under not be allowed to use certain programs because of its features. Even Kik states, “Children under the age of 13 are prohibited from having a Kik account by the Kik Terms of Service.” However, the site currently has no age verification feature.

To combat child exploitation, Kik now uses Microsoft’s PhotoDNA Cloud Service to detect and report child exploitation images. However, parents are encouraged to monitor their child’s social media presence.