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Kik recommends safety measures and general tips for keeping kids safe

While there is no shortage of free messaging apps available, Kik holds a particular appeal thanks to its increased privacy and anonymity in comparison to competitors such as WhatsApp and iMessage. Requiring only an email address to sign up, Kik boasts hundreds of millions of registered users across the globe.

What is Kik?
Kik Messenger is a free instant messaging and social networking app, now owned by the California based MediaLab, that uses your smartphone’s data plan or Wi-Fi connection to send messages to other Kik users, bypassing SMS (short message service). It’s available on iOS, Android, and Amazon for Kindle Fire.

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, but like those pesky high-frequency ringtones, Kik is largely inscrutable to people born before the turn of the millennium.

Kik doesn't offer anything particularly unique in terms of how it operates on a basic level. You can message friends and family by manually adding their registered email address or scanning their custom QR code.

Kik’s teenage fan base has generated quite a bit of heat concerning the amount of privacy and anonymity the app affords as well as fears and some sad real-world examples of predatory criminal behavior by adults and other abusive behavior. In 2017, a Forbes and Point report revealed a large number of crimes against youths linked to the service. Kik responded to such concerns by publishing expansive guidelines for parents whose kids may be on the platform.

Kik is available on iOS, Android, and Amazon's Kindle Fire, making it compatible with a majority of devices. Once downloaded, you only need to provide an email to register your account and select a user ID. That ID is what identifies Kik users, which means your personal information is more secure and messaging can be done with partial or complete anonymity.

Kik recommends safety measures and general tips for keeping kids safe. Still, parents cannot automatically view their kid’s Kik chats remotely — they must have the password for access. They also have to view chats on the same device as there’s no remote surveillance feature. There is also no technical way to enforce the 13-or-over rule for the platform. Kik also can’t guarantee that a young person will not register on the service with a false birth date.

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