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Meet Kik Messenger, the messenger app that attracts teenagers

With Kik Messenger it is easier than ever to keep in touch with friends and family. Unlike other applications that require you to deliver your phone number, your name and many other information, you can register Kik and send messages just by entering your email address. Without a doubt, an advantage if what you are looking for is to protect your privacy.

Kik Messenger logo

But exactly what is Kik Messenger? In simple words, it is a free instant messaging application and social networks, which uses your phone's data plan or Wi-Fi connection to send messages to other users, without the need of the SMS system. It is available on iOS, Android and Amazon.

While there are other applications that offer similar functions, it differs with a feature to participate, but controversial: Kik attracts teenagers due to its emphasis on privacy and anonymity. Since 2016, Kik Messenger has about 300 million registered users and has been used by approximately 40 percent of teenagers in the United States.

The trick is that you should not register your phone number with Kik, you only need your name and an email, which gives you an extremely private activity: you only identify yourself with the registration username. Only with that ID, Kik allows you to exchange messages, photos, videos, drawings, stickers and more with other users. While this attracts teenagers (the official minimum age is 13 years), it also causes some safety problems.

With a username instead of a phone number, you don't automatically share your personal information with the rest. No one can see your email, phone number or date of birth, although within a Kik group, members can see your username. Another function allows you to find contacts on the platform that match emails or numbers you have on your phone.

Kik features

The application looks similar to an SMS messenger application, but with a number of additional attractions. Like most of these systems, Kik sends notifications to inform you when the message was sent, when it was received and if it was read. You can customize alerts with different tones and you can also apply themes to your chats. Another function tells you in real time when a contact is responding.

Kik really stands out for its integration with other social networks. You can use Kik to invite friends or family through SMS, email, Facebook or Twitter. If any of your contacts register with their phone number or email, Kik detects that it is connected and sends notifications for you to connect to the service.

Kik codes

Kik Messenger codes

Kik users have a unique code, similar to QR, which can be accessed from the configuration. This allows you to find or invite new users to the service. How to do it? Touch the search icon, then Search peoplethen press Scan a Kik code. When someone scans your code, a chat opens and can send you messages. In addition, you can find online Kik codes, coffee makers and other places. However, you must allow the application to access your camera to scan Kik codes.

Video and group chats

If you want to start a group chat, you must touch the search cone and press Start a group. Each group can have 50 participants, including you, and they can be public or private. The latter cannot be searched and users can only join if they have the group's Kik code or if one of their contacts adds it. Meanwhile, those who are public can be searched and identified by a hashtag. You also have the option to chat directly with a group chat member and check if it is available to receive direct messages. If you disable this feature, no group member can send you messages.

For those looking for an alternative to Skype or FaceTime, Kik also has features of a video chat application. You can establish communication with up to six friends simultaneously in a private chat. A Video Chat switch allows you to enter or leave it whenever you want. Kik lists all your current chats, so just click to enter.

Bot store

Kik Messenger bot store

Another feature aimed at teenagers is the bot store, which is oriented towards social interaction. You can chat with them, make questionnaires and find fashion tips, news, tips and more in categories such as Fun with friends, Entertainment, Meet new people, Games, Fashion and beauty and Lifestyle. If you don't have friends to chat with, the bots give you a good starting point.

Chat Challenges

The fantastic teen base in Kik has generated many discussions about the privacy and anonymity of the application, as well as fears for some abusive behaviors and criminal activities of adults. In 2017, a report by Forbes and Point revealed a series of crimes that affected young people who used the service. Kik responded to those concerns with guidelines and guidance for parents.

Despite Kik's security measures and general recommendations, parents cannot see their children's conversations remotely: they must have the password and see the chats on the same device. Nor is there a mechanism to prevent children under 13 from registering on the platform.

Federal authorities

To avoid problems, Kik contacts the law enforcement authorities in a preventive manner. Application security equipment is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to emergency situations. In most cases, Kik cannot read the messages, but he can see (and retain) images and videos. Kik also retains data for 90 days to respond to requests, and even publishes police request forms in PDF format on its website. The company also promotes web training for police on the operation of the application and participated in the Crime Against Children Conference 2018.