CORRECTION: The Kik app sent a statement to WALB after the story was published online.
Here is the full statement: "Kik is not for kids. Our Terms of Service state that “You must be at least 13 years old.”
Kik takes online safety very seriously, and we’re constantly assessing and improving our safety measures. There are two ways we do this.
One is through technology and constant improvements to the product itself. Our team is regularly investigating new technologies and evaluating moderation practices to help us become leaders in online safety. We also encourage users to report content that they believe violates the Kik Terms of Service and Community Standards. Users are able to block other users they no longer wish to chat with, or ignore chats from people that they don’t know. Actions are taken against users found to have violated Kik’s Community Standards or TOS. Those actions may include banning the user from the Kik platform, and reporting illegal behaviors to law enforcement agencies.
The other is through education and partnerships with organizations that help adults and teens understand the challenges of today’s online landscape and how to avoid bad situations. For years, we’ve had teams dedicated to this, and we will continue to invest in those types of tools, provide resources to parents, and strengthen relationships with law enforcement and safety-focused organizations.
Online safety will always be a priority for us. We want our users to safely enjoy Kik, and we will continue making it a positive place for them to interact and have meaningful conversations."
COFFEE CO., Ga. (WALB) - Kids across South Georgia are returning to school, which means there may be some people using apps and smartphones to lure school-aged children to meet them.
There have been numerous arrests in states, including Georgia, that revealed apps were used to meet and contact the victims.
The Coffee County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind parents about potentially dangerous apps that may be accessible to kids.
- MeetMe: An app where teens can easily be in contact with users much older than them, with an emphasis on dating.
- WhatsApp and SnapChat: Apps for messaging, but teens can send unlimited messages, have video chats and even share their live location with other users, people they may not know.
- Skout: A flirting app that’s used to meet and chat with new people. Teens and adults are in different groups, but ages aren’t verified.
- TikTok: Used for sharing user created videos that can contain bad words, even adult content.
- Badoo and Bumble: Dating apps for adults, but teens can still find ways to join.
- Grindr: Geared towards the LGBTQ community. It allows users to share photos and meet up based on phone’s GPS location.
- Kik: Specifically for kids, but anyone can join and anyone can contact or direct message your child.
- LiveMe: A live streaming app, but you don’t know who’s watching and your kids location is revealed.
- Holla: All about connecting strangers around the world through video chat.
- Whisper: A social confessional where kids can remain anonymous, but still share their feelings. And it can reveal your child’s location fro a meet up.
- ASKfm: Encourages people to allow anonymous users to ask them questions, which opens the door for online bullying.
- Hot or Not: Rates users on attractiveness. There’s no age verification and users can send each other messages.
- Calculator%: Are several secret apps that allows kids to hide their photos, videos, even browser history.
A good website to keep handy is called Common Sense Media. It gives parents a breakdown on what the sites are and how they are used.
The sheriff’s office is asking that parents monitor their child’s phones closely and if you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement.