Kik Messenger is a free instantaneous messaging and social networking app that makes use of your smartphone’s information plan or Wi-Fi connection to ship messages to different Kik customers, bypassing SMS (quick message service). It’s obtainable on iOS, Android, and Amazon for Kindle Fireplace.
Whereas Kik just isn’t distinctive in the way it transmits communications, it differentiates itself with a particular however controversial effort to focus on a particular demographic: Kik appeals to the teenage crowd due to its emphasis on privateness and anonymity. As of 2016, Kik Messenger had some 300 million registered customers, and was utilized by an estimated 40% of youngsters within the U.S.
The trick is that you simply don’t have to register your cellphone quantity with Kik — it wants solely your identify and e mail — which helps you to keep a super-private presence on the platform that’s identifiable solely by your person identify, the identify you register with. With solely a person identify as an ID, Kik permits you to change messages, photographs, movies, sketches, stickers, cell webpages, emoji and different content material with others on the platform. This enormously appeals to teen customers (the official minimal age is 13 years previous), in addition to others with privateness issues.
With a person identify as a substitute of a cellphone quantity, you don’t routinely share private data with others — your chat companions on Kik can solely see your show identify, person identify, and profile image. They will’t see your e mail tackle, cellphone quantity, or birthday, although inside a Kik group, everybody can see your person identify. An non-obligatory characteristic checks for Kik accounts that match e mail addresses or cellphone numbers in your smartphone that will help you discover your contacts.
The straightforward-to-use, but full-featured app has the acquainted feel and look of an SMS textual content messenger, however with numerous interesting perks. Like most text-messaging apps, Kik sends notifications to let you realize when you’ve despatched your message and when it was obtained. You’ll be able to personalize audio notifications with totally different tones and obtain them when somebody messages you, and you can even apply themes to your chats. A dwell typing characteristic signifies in actual time when your contact is replying to your textual content. This fashion, you realize at the least that there’s a message in progress. You may as well see when a message you’ve despatched has been learn.
Kik actually stands out for its social media integration. You should use Kik to ask buddies or household through SMS, e mail, or by way of Fb and Twitter. If buddies whose contact data you’ve saved in your cellphone enroll through their cellphone quantity or e mail, Kik detects that you’re related and sends notifications to hyperlink up on the service.
Kik customers every have a singular QR-like code they’ll entry from their settings that enables them to seek out or invite new members to the service. So as to add a person from a Kik code, faucet the search icon, then faucet Discover Folks, then faucet Scan a Kik Code. You will need to permit Kik to entry your digicam earlier than you may scan a second Kik code. When somebody scans your code, a chat opens, they usually can instantly ship you a message. Additionally, you will discover Kik codes on-line in social media, or at cafes and different venues.
Video and group chats
You’ll be able to provoke a bunch chat by tapping the magnifying glass search icon, tapping Begin a Group, after which including customers to your group. You’ll be able to be a part of a bunch chat — both public or non-public — with as much as 49 different individuals. Personal teams will not be searchable through the app and other people can be a part of by scanning the group Kik code or in the event that they’re added to the group by considered one of their very own contacts. Public teams are searchable and recognized by a hashtag. You even have the choice to immediately chat with a bunch member, and also you management whether or not or not you’re obtainable for direct messages. Disabling the direct message characteristic means others within the group can’t message you.
For these in search of an alternative choice to Skype or FaceTime, Kik facilitates real-time video chat that’s much like different video chat apps. You’ll be able to video chat dwell with buddies one-to-one or chat with as much as six buddies in a personal chat. A Video Chat toggle permits you to be a part of or go away a bunch chat at will. Kik lists all of the chats you’ve with individuals, letting you click on to entry the chat or to start out one other chat.
One other teen-oriented characteristic is Kik’s bot store, an App Retailer for bots that function on the platform. Kik’s chatbots are oriented to social interplay. You’ll be able to chat with them, take quizzes, and discover trend ideas, information, recommendation, and extra in classes like Enjoyable with Associates, Leisure, Meet New Folks, Video games, Vogue & Magnificence, and Life-style. In case you don’t have buddies to speak with, the bots present an entry into the chat area so you may meet new individuals.
Younger chat challenges
These loopy youngsters — all the time as much as one thing. Kik’s teenage fan base has generated fairly a bit of warmth regarding the quantity of privateness and anonymity the app affords, in addition to fears and a few unhappy real-world examples of predatory legal conduct by adults and abusive conduct. In 2017, a Forbes and Level report revealed a lot of crimes in opposition to youths linked to the service. Kik has responded to such issues by publishing expansive tips for fogeys whose youngsters could also be on the platform.
Regardless of Kik’s beneficial security measures and common ideas, dad and mom can’t routinely view their child’s Kik chats remotely — they will need to have the password and examine chats on the identical gadget. There isn’t a technical option to implement the 13-or-over rule or to ensure that a teen won’t register on the service with a false delivery date.
Kik doesn’t need any hassle. And one option to keep away from it’s to achieve out to legislation enforcement earlier than the legislation does any reaching out of its personal — and to be useful if it does. The app’s Belief and Security group is on name 24/7 for emergency disclosure requests. Beneath most situations, Kik can’t view written messages between customers, however it will probably view photos and movies, retaining them till they’re obtained. Kik additionally preserves information for 90 days in response to legitimate requests — and even posts police request varieties in downloadable PDF format on its web site. The corporate sponsors webinars to coach legislation enforcement about how the app works and took part within the 2018 Crimes Towards Kids Convention.
Regardless of these efforts, skilled observers word that the method of getting data from Kik might be sluggish, as Kik can discover customers on its system solely by way of person names. As a result of Kik is a Canadian firm, that course of also can sluggish to a crawl, as data requests from the U.S. should undergo the Justice Division.
Is Kik for you?
Kik is designed to attraction to teenagers with numerous participating options that allow them work together and have enjoyable on-line. It isn’t for everybody. The corporate has taken the initiative in recent times to achieve out to folks and legislation enforcement, in addition to customers, in an effort to guard the security of its younger chat patrons. Greater than ever, the foundations of on-line engagement apply relating to chatting with strangers, assembly unknown events in actual locations, giving out an excessive amount of details about your self, and offering youngsters with the optimum quantity of supervision and oversight.