kik

 
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Age Rating:  17+

A free app-based alternative texting service that allows texts/pictures to be sent without being logged in the phone history.  This app provides more of a "face-to-face feel" than regular texting. 

Why It’s Dangerous – In the Kik app, users can literally push a button to "Talk to Strangers."  In addition, strangers can send your child a “friend request.”  

Kik makes it easier for your child to talk to strangers without your knowledge since it bypasses the wireless providers’ short message services (SMS).  While the app is rated 17+, there is no age verification so anyone can download it.  Kik allows your child to connect with others using just a username (rather than texting from her phone number). But it begs the question: Should children and teens be texting with people beyond their phone contacts?

Reviews in the App Store and Google Play store reveal that many people use Kik to meet strangers for sexting.  Children think they can us Kik to “sext” without parents finding out.  There's also a Kik community blog where users can submit photos of themselves and screenshots of messages (sometimes displaying users' full names) to contests.

The Kik app has been connected with cyberbullying. One bullying victim who killed herself, reportedly used Kik and Voxer in addition to ask.fm — receiving messages like "Go kill yourself" and "Why aren't you dead?" — without her mother even knowing about the apps.

This app has also allegedly been used in high-profile crimes, including the murder of a 13-year-old girl and a child-pornography case.

It's no surprise Kik has landed on some parents' "worst apps" lists. 

 
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