Kik Shutting Down: What Parents Should Know
The controversial Kik app, which was criticized for putting minors in potential danger with child predators, is officially shutting down.
The popular messenger launched in 2010 and had millions of active users across the world. They reportedly do not disclose their number of active users. However, in 2016 they released the number at 600 million. Kik's use increased in popularity for its power to remain anonymous on the platform. As a result, the platform grew a reputation among teens as the "sexting app."
In June, Kik was sued by SEC (the Securities and Exchange Commission) for "selling tokens to U.S. investors without registering their offer and sale as required by the U.S. securities laws." Kik CEO and founder Ted Livingston shared in a recent blog post that the company's legal battle with the SEC has been "a long and expensive process to drain our resources."
What should parents do about Kik and how they navigate other social media platforms? Titania Jordan, Chief Parenting Officer at Bark, the online parental monitoring app that helps identify grooming, cyberbullying, drug abuse, violence and more, shares some online safety guidelines below.
Tips for parents to protect from online predators:
- Remind your child of the importance of not sharing personally identifiable information or talking to people they don’t know in real life.
- Show your child a news story about predators who met kids through the social media and/or gaming platforms your child uses.
- Discuss the stages of grooming so they can identify the behavior in the future if needed.
- Talk openly and honestly about what would happen should they become a victim of grooming and remind them that they should always come to you if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.
- If you discover that your child might have encountered an online predator, be careful not to confront them—this will likely cause them to shut down and not share important information about the situation. And whether they inform you of the situation or you discover it yourself, you should:
- Save or take screenshots of messages (do not delete them)
- Block the offender
- Report the offender on any platform where they engaged with your child
- Report the offender to local authorities and/or NCMEC’s CyberTipline
- It’s impossible to monitor all of your child’s online activity manually. Consider a parental monitoring service like Bark to help keep your children safe both online and in real life.