Social networks, apps and games
app-icons-Kik

Kik

Kik is a free instant messaging app that lets you send text, photo and video messages to individuals or groups. You can also play games and talk to chatbots. The ‘Meet New People’ feature lets you start a conversation with random users – for this reason we wouldn’t recommend Kik for under 18s.

13+

Official age rating

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for Kik

Very Poor

The whole premise of Kik is to connect and share with others who have similar interests. This means that your child can easily talk to people they don’t know while using the app.

Users on Kik can remain relatively anonymous as only usernames are shared with other accounts. This makes it easier for kids to chat with adults and be at risk of seeing inappropriate or upsetting content.

We would not recommend Kik Messenger for kids under the age of 18.

Safety features

When registering for an account you’re asked to enter a name, nickname, email address and date of birth. You can also choose to add your phone number which helps connect you to friends on your contact list. Only nicknames are shared with other users.  

There are no parental controls within Kik but there are some general safety tips for parents on the Kik site. We would recommend reading this when deciding if this app is appropriate for your child.

Privacy & location

There is no way to make an account private on Kik meaning it would be easy for someone your child doesn’t know to contact them.  

Within the privacy settings there is a 'Let Friends Find Me' option, which allows users who already have your contact details to connect with you on Kik.  This option is turned on by default so make sure to switch this off.

You should check out Kik’s article on Privacy for more information on the settings available.

Reporting & blocking

It is easy to report and block another user on Kik. If you let your child use the app you should make sure they know how to do this.

We would also recommend reading Kik’s Community Standards so you and your child are familiar with what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable.

Content

While exploring Kik we came across inappropriate and adult content that young people might find upsetting.

There are no automated moderation or filters available on the app meaning that Kik relies on users to report anything inappropriate. This means that inappropriate content, even if it breaks Kik’s Community Standards, will not be deleted straight away.

O2 Guru top tip

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On Kik safety

In settings, show your child how to report or block contacts.

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Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

You can also read our Net Aware reviews for tips on how to keep kids safe on popular apps, sites and games.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn't give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

It’s important to check the privacy settings on your child’s Kik account.

We recommend only sharing things with friends and always keeping your location private.

You can visit Kik for specific information on keeping your account private.

There’s a feature on Kik called Meet New People that lets you start a conversation with either a random user or someone with similar interests to you.

You won’t see the other person’s username but you can share usernames and add each other if you choose to.

Make sure you talk to your child about who they should be talking to and what information they should be giving out.

Kik has advice and information on how to keep your child safe on the app, which we recommend reading and talking about together.

‘Public Groups’ groups are designed to let you meet people with similar interests, but a lot them deal with adult or more mature subjects, such as sex, self-harm and suicide.

Your child might think Public Groups are a good place to explore and talk about particular topics, perhaps because they’re dealing with something themselves. While discussing issues with other people can be helpful, Public Groups aren’t moderated. This could mean your child might see something that is upsetting or even triggering.

Remind them they can speak to you, an adult they trust or a trained Childline counsellor.

Your child might receive upsetting or negative things from other users on Kik. If this happens, they might want to report or block them.

Kik has specific guidance on how to report other users and how to block someone.

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.

Public Groups on Kik (talked about in the tip above) deal with a lot of topics and issues your child might find interesting or informative. It’s important children and young people have safe places they can explore different subjects but we don’t think Kik is the best place, because the chat is unmoderated.

Childline info and advice

Childline has lots of helpful information for children and young people with info and advice on:

Childline message boards

There’s also the message boards, a community where you can post about anything from how you’re feeling and what you’re going through to your favourite music, poems and recipes. Every post is checked by Childline’s moderation team first.

Childline support

Let your child know that they can contact Childline about anything, whatever their worry. They can call, chat online or email a counsellor.

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Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

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