The KIK App has now claimed another child’s life. In this situation, it was through the luring of a young, vulnerable and hurting teen who was looking for friendship and a source of support because of bullying in school.
Kik came on the scene about five years ago and today there are millions of app users with 20,000 added each day. It is a text messaging system that has become more like the sexting system. Pedophiles have said, “It is well known in our industry.”
Today, many young pre-teens and teens use social sites (such as Kik, Lline, Snapchat, etc…) to deal with the pain and struggle they are going through. In some cases, those same social sites are the cause of their crisis. In one such case, a young girl, Sydney- age 14, committed suicide because of what she was involved with through the app.
Recently, Nicole Lovell, age 13, used the app KIK when she had contact with an older man who talked her into climbing out her window to meet him. It wasn’t long after in which she was killed. This wasn’t the first time a young child was being lured away from their home. It has happened countless times using not just Kik but other social apps as well.
The FBI became involved and found that the KIK social app was the prime lead in the case for exposing the killer of Nicole Lovell.
To this day, many parents still do not know about KIK and how easily it is for predators to use it to lure your child to harm. Think of it this way. You can sign up with the app with a fake name or fake age. That in itself is the perfect opportunity for the predator to be safe from being caught.
Although the Kik Messenger was initially an adult app, it is becoming very popular with children as young as ten to older teen age.
Police have seen an increase of incidents of children/teens being sent porn by predators on this app. It is also the number one problem app that encourages predator behavior. There are other issues such as sexting, blackmail, threats of self or towards others, pressure to take nude pics of self and forward.
Kik Messenger hosts within its app over 400 mini apps. They range from games, hook ups and even anonymous confessions. Because they haven’t been proven to be safe, they could also contain porn.
Just like many other apps, there is no age range to control. Therefore, no matter how you try to put any filters or controls on this app, it will not block or work. The only way to control it is to delete it.
Because it is not regulated or screened appropriately, many kids are being sent porn before they can block the images or be caught in a pedophile or predator predicament.
There are many more problematic issues within this app and sadly that leaves many more children and teens prone to predators, porn, and even death, such as the case of Nicole from Virginia.
So what can you do as a parent –
1. Talk to your teen about the dangers of this app and share Nicole and Sydney’s story. Let us not forget these young girls who lost their lives. May their lives speak to save others.
2. Educate yourself. Eventually teens will move onto the next big social site. You need to know everything about them.
3. Delete these apps. But if you find that some are okay by your standards, it is still important to set the privacy settings. Instagram and other social platforms (Kik has no parental controls/privacy settings) share your name. pics, and personalization for anyone to see or steal. Information has been easily obtained through Instagram and other social sites by strangers so you need to check what settings are available in each app.
4. You should create all passwords and do phone checks for apps. Your child needs to understand the dangerous position they could easily expose themselves to. You are also the main one who pays for the phone. Therefore, it is your duty as a parent to step in and do whatever is necessary to make sure that your child remains protected.
5. Help your children/teen understand that when they send sexting messages or images, they also would be under the law which could cause a fine or time in jail and be on record as a pedophile. It is a serious issue and crime. If you suspect that your child is already speaking to someone older, take the phone away and get the police involved. Then call a counselor. Your child/teen and even family may need one.
6. Pray for God to give you wisdom, discernment and protection over your child/teen. They are a gift and we should see that they are well taken are of.