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Friday Rewind – Kik and Unwanted Messages

rewindHappy Friday!

On Friday, I am answering your questions and sharing helpful blogs and resources. So, if you have a question about kids living life online or a specific app, go to ask KidsPrivacy and watch for your answer in my weekly Friday roundup.This week, I am answering a question about Kik and how to delete unwanted messages.

Q: I read that you should have your kids ignore new contacts and that kik stores these and they can delete them. Does the child have access to look at them before deleting them? My son recently was sent some inappropriate texts and pictures….if I could have him turn this feature on and he would not have access to them I would be okay w/ him keeping kik. However, if he can still go in and view them then I don’t feel that it’s really protecting him.

Yes. Kik does have an “Ignore New People” feature. Once this is enabled, Kik hides these messages in a separate conversation list. To enable this feature, go to the settings menu and select “Notifications”. In notifications, choose “Ignore New People”.

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New People can still send a message it is just kept separate. You can hide but you cannot eliminate them entirely. Your child can reduce the likelihood of receiving these messages by creating a username that is hard to guess and not posting their username on Facebook, Instagram or other social networks. 

If they do receive a message in their ignored conversation list, they can delete it. When someone they don’t know sends a message, they will see a number in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. To delete all these messages without reading them, tap on the number. This will display the “Ignored” conversation list. Don’t open these messages. Delete them all by tapping on the trash can in the top right corner.

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If you discover these messages are coming from the same user, your child can block them. To block someone, go to settings and select “Privacy”. From there, choose “Block List” and either enter the user name or tap the “+” sign and select the user you wish to block. Once someone is blocked, your child will no longer see their messages, all their conversations are deleted from your child’s Kik account and they are permanently removed from your child’s contact list.

If these messages violates Kik’s Acceptable Use Policy which includes content “that is harmful to minors in any way”, you can report it to Kik by sending them a message

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Kik knows they have a lot of teens using this app so they have published a Kik’s Guide for Parents. If you have other questions, check out Kik’s Help Center.

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How to Monitor Kik Messages

rewindHappy Friday!

Every Friday, I am answering your questions and sharing other helpful blogs and resources. So, if you have a question about kids living life online or a specific app, go to ask KidsPrivacy and watch for your answer in my weekly Friday roundup. This week, I am answering a question about monitoring. 

Q:  Is it possible to monitor my child’s usage on Kik and to whom she is messaging!?

A: Kik is a free messenger app. I like to think of it as a super texting app where kids and their Kik friends can have group chats and share videos or pictures. This app is especially popular among younger teens who have a limited texting plan or only an iPod Touch. Download Kik and you have free messaging. To learn more, check out my post What parents need to know about Kik.  

Where kids run into trouble is sharing their private Kik username on public social networks. Teens post their username with a “Kik Me” request on Twitter, Instagram or other apps. Once they share it publicly, anyone can send them a message. The ability to share any type of content is why Kik’s rating changed from 12+ to 17+. 

If you were hoping for a monitoring software recommendation, I am afraid most do not work with Kik. These programs can see text messages but not messages through a messaging app. Kik will not  provide parents with access to their teen’s messages. Kik does recommend “if you’d like to monitor the messages your teen sends and receives through Kik, it’s best to ask your teen not to delete conversations, and to provide you with access to their smartphone or iPod.”

If you want to make sure they are limiting their contacts and sending appropriate messages, you can check their phone. In our house, I conduct surprise phone checks. During these checks, they sit next to me and we go through their phone. This is part of their family phone contract. I ask lots of questions and review each app.

If you decide your child is not ready for Kik, you can limit the apps they download. Parents can set age restrictions for apps by using the parental controls on their GooglePlay or iTunes account. You can also try web filtering software. I do not have a personal recommendation but I know parents who use and like Mobicip and Net Nanny.

Ultimately, the best monitoring system is the one between their ears. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it includes opportunities to discuss why it is important to limit contacts to friends and family and how easily a private message can become public.

Thanks for your question!

Top 5 Posts in 2013

Happy 2014!

KidsPrivacy is starting off 2014 with a new look. I am closing in on my 3rd anniversary and felt the site needed an update. Not only does KidsPrivacy look better, it has some new features. I have expanded the menu so you can easily find posts about the latest apps, devices and online safety & privacy concerns. If you have questions about specific apps or kids living life online, please post them on Ask KidsPrivacy and I will answer questions every Friday.

Besides updating the site, I took some time to review my most successful posts in 2013. Overwhelmingly, the posts you were most interested in talked about what parents need to know regarding specific apps and websites. In 2014, I will continue to focus on keeping you up to date on the latest apps.  But, we need to do more than just follow our kids from app to app. Soon, I will publish a guide on having the digital talk with your child and/or teen.

Thanks for a great 2013 and looking forward to 2014!

top 5  KidsPrivacy’s Top 5 Posts in 2013. 

myYearbook — Social Network meets Online Dating
What parents need to know about Kik
Omegle – Have a chat with a Random Stranger
What parents need to know about
Guess my Password Game