Wednesday, August 4

Kik Messenger, the messaging app that attracts teenagers | Digital Trends Spanish

Whether you want to protect your privacy, or simply you are looking for a new way to communicate, it is convenient for you to know Kik Messenger, an app that – unlike others – does not require your phone number. Are you interested? This is all there is to know about it.

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What is Kik Messenger

In simple words, it is a free application for instant messaging and social networks, which uses the data plan of your phone or the Wi-Fi connection to send messages to other users, without the need for the SMS system. It is available for ios, Android Y Amazon (Kindle Fire).

While Kik isn’t the only one offering similar features, it sets itself apart with a distinctive but controversial effort to target a specific demographic – Kik appeals to the teen crowd due to its emphasis on privacy and anonymity. As of 2016, Kik Messenger had about 300 million registered users and was used by approximately 40 percent of teens in the United States. It has not disclosed any user figures since 2016.

The trick is that you don’t have to 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), it also brings some safety concerns.

With a username instead of a phone number, you don’t automatically share your personal information with others. 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 the emails or numbers you have on your phone.

Kik Features

The application looks similar to a messaging application SMS, 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 the alerts with different tones and you can also apply themes to your chats. Another feature tells you in real time when a contact is responding.

Kik really stands out for its social media integration. You can use Kik to invite friends or family via SMS, email, Facebook, or Twitter. If the friends you have stored as contacts on your phone sign up for the service, Kik detects that they are online and sends you notifications to get you online. You can also join public groups organized according to themes. Additionally, Kik has introduced a Meet new people, which allows you to enter chats with other Kik users based on their interests.

Kik Codes

Kik users have a unique code, similar to QR, which can be accessed from settings. This allows you to find or invite new users to the service. How to do it? Tap the search icon, then Search people, then press Scan a Kik code. When someone scans your code, a chat opens and they can send you messages. Also, you can find Kik codes online, coffee shops, and other places. Anyway, you need to allow the app to access your camera to scan Kik codes.

Video and group chats

If you want to start a group chat, you need to tap the search icon and press Start a Group. Each group can have 50 participants, including you, and can be public or private. The latter are not searchable and users can only join if they have the group’s Kik code or if one of their contacts adds it. Meanwhile, those that are public can be searched and identified using a hashtag. You also have the option to chat directly with a member of the group chat and check if they are available to receive direct messages. If you disable this function, no member of the group will be able to 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 lets you join or leave it whenever you want. Kik lists all your current chats, so you just have to click to enter.

Bot shop

Bot shop on Kik Messenger

Another characteristic aimed at adolescents is the bot shop, which are oriented to social interaction. You can chat with them, take quizzes, and find fashion tips, news, tips, and more in categories like Fun with friends, Entertainment, Meet new people, Games, Fashion and beauty Y Lifestyle. If you don’t have friends to chat with, bots give you a good starting point.

Chat challenges

The teen fanbase on Kik has sparked a lot of discussion about the app’s privacy and anonymity, as well as fears for some. abusive behavior 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 general security measures and recommendations, parents cannot view their children’s conversations remotely: they must have the password and view the chats on the same device. There is also no mechanism to prevent children under 13 from registering on the platform.

federal authorities

To avoid problems, Kik contacts the law enforcement authorities of preventively. The application security team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to respond to emergency situations. In most cases, Kik cannot read messages, but it can see (and retain) images and videos. Kik also retains data for 90 days to respond to requests, and even posts police request forms in PDF to its website for download. The company also promotes web trainings for police officers on the operation of the application and participated in the 2018 Crimes Against Children Conference.

Despite those efforts, observers note that the process of obtaining information from Kik can be slow. The reason? The application can only find people on the platform based on the username. Additionally, as Kik is a Canadian company, this process can also be even slower, as requests for information from the United States must go through the Department of Justice.

Is Kik for you?

Kik is designed to attract teens with features to interact and have fun online. It is not for everyone. The company has taken the initiative in recent years to reach parents and law enforcement authorities, as well as other users, to protect the security of the youngest. More than ever, in Kik you must take extreme preventive measures, that is, avoid chatting with strangers, not meet physically with strangers, avoid giving too much information about yourself and adequately supervise children.

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