Ask Kids Privacy Answers Questions about Kik

kik logoCurrently, my most popular post is What parents need to know about kik. Kik is a messenger service app that is popular with teens. Given its popularity, it is no surprise that many of the ask KidsPrivacy questions I receive are about kik. Here are my answers to several recent questions about viewing kik messages and receiving messages from unknown users. Need more information? Check out kik’s Tips for Parents.


Q: My girlfriend had someone hack into my phone and retrieve my phone log. Will she be able to do the same thing if I’m using the kik app??

A: Kik does not have log out button. So, if she access to your phone’s apps, she can open the Kik app and see the undeleted messages. Kik displays the last 1000 messages for each undeleted conversation.

The bigger question is why is your girlfriend hacking into your phone? In an honest and healthy relationship, partners should not be spying on one another. MTV AThinLine has some excellent advice for teens on how to deal with this situation. I included the relevant answer below and urge you to check out their section on Digital Abuse – Spying .

mtv spying

Q: How are strangers able to message my daughter on Kik?

A: Anyone can send someone a message on kik as long as they have know the kik username. Some teens post their usernames on public social networks with the hashtag #kikme. So, if their username is easy to guess or they posted it publicly on Instagram or Twitter, they may receive a request from someone they don’t know.

Now, some of these strangers may not be real people. Symantec recently reported about adult web cam sites targeting kik users. When users share their kik usernames publicly on social networks, spammers can collect them and send these users a direct message. The profile pictures for these unsolicited messages are often inappropriate and the messages themselves provocative.

Kik is working to eliminate these porn bots. For now, when a user receives a photo from a random kik user, kik blurs the profile picture and the sent image or message. Kik also keeps messages from new people separate and users can turn off “notify for new people” option in Settings under Notifications.

kik ignore chatWhen they receive a message from a someone not in their contact list, teens can choose to ignore or chat. Teens should click ignore. From there, they can choose to delete, block or report these users as spam. If the message violates kik’s policy, they can also report the user by sending a message to kik.

To limit chats to just friends and family, teens should not post kik usernames publicly and if they do receive an unwanted message they should take advantage of kik’s reporting and blocking options.

security phone

5 Ways to Protect your Kid’s Phone

Privacy and security go hand in hand. This is especially true with a kid’s mobile phone. Their phone contains lots of personal information that anyone who has access to it can see. In order to keep their information private, kids need to keep their device secure. With kids, the two big security issues are losing their phone or downloading a bad app.

According to Lookout, 30 billion phones are lost a year. In Seattle, we lose our phones on average twice a year. So far, my kids have not lost of device although one did go through the washer and dryer. But, at some point someone is going to lose a phone. Anyone who finds their phone will have access to their information such as contacts, pictures and messages as well as their open accounts such as Twitter, or Facebook.

The other threat kids may encounter is downloading a bad app. A report by McAfee found 1 in 6 mobile apps contain malware or spyware. Kids who love to download apps may end up with one of these characters. These malicious apps can do anything from sending annoying pop up ads to stealing personal information.

To protect privacy, make sure your kids are implementing these simple security tips. Continue reading