Parents Beware: Instagram & Kik Messenger Are A Dangerous Combination & What Social Dangers to Check For


Over the past few years, I have written about security and safety for the family, especially when it comes to protecting your kids from online predators and social bullies. My wife and I really try to practice what we preach. But as social networks and sharing services evolve, sometimes it is hard to keep up with the latest and greatest cool thing, or social threat.


For example, when our oldest daughter got on Facebook, we knew that it was too early to let her just go at it on her own. So we allowed her to use it with some conditions specifically:

  • we have full access to her phone,
  • we control her Facebook login and,
  • if she has any questions, that she come to us to ask.

We work with her regularly, making sure that she understands why she can or cannot respond to posts/messages and what photos are appropriate to upload and which are not. Kids simply do not know what dangers are out there and what kind of creepy people lurk on these new social hangouts.

Sometimes we can’t keep up with everything. And in fact, this past weekend, my middle daughter and some of her friends encountered one of those situations that my wife and I have been fearing.

Use this article as a word of warning. I’m going to talk about a specific example. But this type of thing could happen without these particular specifics. It could be a different social network. And it could be YOUR kids.

***Update: Be sure to read my latest article on the dangers of!***

***Update #2: See my Social Media Guide for Parents published on 9/27/14***

Here’s what happened. In this case, there were two social networks/messaging services involved: the famous Instagram and Kik Messenger. You may have heard of Kik actually. It received a lot of press a few years ago because RIM (Blackberry) banned them from their app store. There are a few sides to that story, some people said that RIM was worried about competition to their own BBM (Blackberry Messenger). While other people say it had to do with privacy concerns around how Kik accesses one’s address book and then culls through to see if there are other Kik members in there. I don’t have the details and I personally haven’t installed the application because I value my contacts.

There are all sorts of users on Instagram and many are producing lots of amazing photos. My middle daughter was having a great time posting pictures of our dog and things around the house. Occasionally she posted pictures of herself. She had school friends who were also doing it and they were sharing photos back and forth. Also, they started getting some new followers as part of some small contests or similar interests. It seemed pretty safe and innocent. But as I recently outlined in an article about safely gaming online, sometimes things are not as innocent as they seem. As I mentioned, that butterfly and rainbow unicorn could be a sexual deviant or pervert.


Anyway, back to why Instagram and Kik are related. If you look at some of the comments on some pictures in Instagram, you will see some that say “Kik me at” or “my Kik name is”. So, what is going on here is that these people are using Kik Messenger to have online chats. Comments on Instagram are public, the chats on Kik are not. This is where the danger lies. Actually there are a few places that parents should be concerned.

Here is what happened…someone on Instagram contacted one of my daughter’s friends to connect on Kik. And once they were over on Kik messenger and chatting, this “stranger” asked to see this child’s privates. (Disclaimer: I don’t have all of the exact details, but what I have accounted for in this article is my understanding of the situation. I also performed my own rudimentary investigation.)

Just pause and think about that for a minute. From innocently posting photos to being solicited by a pedophile.

When I learned about this, the first thing that I did was look through Kik. Most of the connections that my daughter had were her local friends. A couple were friends she had made via Instagram. I made her end her conversations with kids we didn’t know. Then we had her delete pictures of herself on Instagram and clean out who is following her. That night, I spent some more time exploring her Kik app. I saw a message from one of her friends saying something like “don’t search for the user ‘Instagram’ on Kik…it’s gross”. Of course, I had to check it out to understand. When I searched for “Instagram” on Kik, it showed a user called “So Horney” or “Very Horney” or something like that, and the user’s picture was that of a man’s genitals. Having seen that and having reviewed the lack of privacy and having read more about Kik, I talked to my daughter about deleting the app immediately. A few days later, when I checked my daughter’s phone, the Kik app was gone (my daughter later told me that she deleted it herself). You can see this is an odd and potentially dangerous relationship between Kik and Instagram and how someone make it instantly perverted.

That is shocking. I was scared. I was scared for my kids. And I was scared for other families who don’t take an active role in protecting their children from the dangers online.


Please, if you are parents, take an active role in the online activities of your children. Show them that you care for them and love them by getting involved.

Here are some online safety tips that parents should think about:

  1. Privacy on Instagram – while Instagram has some privacy settings, there aren’t that many. You can block users and you can make your pictures/account private. They don’t seem to enforce a 13 and over age group when signing up. So, be sure that you set your child’s profile to “private” meaning that only people who are allowed can see photos that are posted.
  2. Only allow followers that you know – this is true with any social media service. I have made a rule with my kids that they can only allow people that they know to follow them on Instagram. It’s a bit more difficult if the profile is public.
  3. Do NOT allow Kik – It is private, it is un-regulated, it does not have privacy controls or parental controls. From what I can tell on it, having played with it on my kid’s iPhone (prior to me deleting it), is that it merely accesses your contacts and allows you to know who of your contacts are using it as well. You can block users but there is no auditing of accounts nor linking to other social network profiles (which might actually be a better way to ensure the authenticity of a user).
  4. Censor the photos – I recommend not letting your child post pictures of themselves. Try to restricts posts to pets or objects or non-identifiable items. When photos of kids are posted, you are potentially exposing kids to strangers peeping into their lives.
  5. Turn off Location/Geo-tagging of photos – it’s better to be safe than sorry. Most smartphones now tag each photo with geo-location data. While cool to see where photos are taken, many times the uploaded photos still contain that geo-specific information. Turn that feature off!

Remember, the best thing is to have an open relationship with your children when it comes to social networking. Don’t impose too many restrictions but also don’t completely let them do whatever they want. Have on-going discussions. Explain why you are doing what you do. Show them how scary it can be. While your kids may complain, deep down inside, they know that you are doing it out of love.

HTD says: Social media can be fun, but if you don’t know how you can protect your children, it can be very dangerous.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

279 Responses

  1. Good post and great tips,

    My girls are young, so I have to some time to COMPLETELY LOCK DOWN EVERYTHING WITH BUTTONS, LOL (but not really)

  2. Thanks! My goal in this post was not to point fingers at any particular app nor to scare kids or their parents from using technology. But, I do feel that parents actually should be a bit scared about what technology is out there. I feel that a majority of parent simply don’t have a clue about what goes on in their kid’s social media circles or smartphones. And since technology is getting easier, this could be both a good and bad thing. I’m a HUGE proponent of tech and getting tech into the hands of my kids. Instagram is making photographers with a careful eye out of my kids. I love that!

    What MUST be changed though is parents thinking that children will self regulate and self-police and that tech is safe “out of the box.” If we just let our kids go crazy (which I think many parents do) without sitting down with them and having the face to face conversations, THAT is dangerous. Do parents know what “online grooming” is? I doubt it.

    Yes, I know that predators are out there on every social app or network. We are making it really easy for them now. So by educating our kids (and the parents) on what to look for, we provide the tools to hopefully make better choices and decisions.

    Locking everything down is NOT the answer. Talking with your kids about the issues and the dangers and helping them understand what is safe and what is not is a BETTER answer.

    In the example above, it was Instagram & Kik. I love Instagram! But it could be any app out there so we need to simply talk with our kids and make them understand how to make these safe choices.

  3. I was just kidding with the lock everything down joke, but I am pretty sure a great deal of people really feel that way and like you explained is not the answer.

    Unfortunately, kids are gonna be kids (let’s not pretend we weren’t mischievous as kids either), but as long as they understand the dangers, they can make better decisions, with (or without) parents breathing down their necks. 

  4. Yeah, I know you were kidding. Sometimes I think about just shutting it all down at home (but then I would be a hypocrite!) Yeah, kids are naturally inquisitive and curious and we need to allow that, just with safe boundaries though.

  5. Crazy !!!! Thank-you Michael (HighTechDad),

    Appreciate the investigative reporting, I am a father of five kids, one of which is my fifteen year old daughter.  We have attempted to be very regulatory with her android smartphone and facebook, in fact we employ the same restrictions as you have listed above. My daughter also has a 8 PM curfew to her phone and we have full access to all passwords. Last night I caught my daughter in the midst of texting at curfew time, she reluctantly handed over her phone. I found this a little suspicious… so I did a little investigating my self later on last night. I found this Kik messenger as you describe above. And I found it filled with contacts that we’re not her regular group of friends. Maybe 80% uknowns and 20% known. I went on to read some of the chat sessions with these unknown guys. A lot of these guys seemed to be trolling for my daughters attention and affections through inflated and false praises, really trying to win her over at the emotional level. One chat in particular was a full blown sexting session with a fellow who had an ID picture of a puppy, no age, no identity… Creepers as you said.Talk about being shocked out of my slumber. The confusion I was having was how did she get these contacts with no  other interface other than picking up her contact list off her phone filled with her friends. But now after reading your blog I figured it out, she has instagram with over 100 public followers and lots of personal pictures to boot. Well bye, bye Kik and instagram. This whole situation should make for an interesting father mother and daughter talk this evening.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for shedding some light on this darkness !!!!!!!
    We’re going to clean house and implement the strategies that you suggested.


  6. Dude, how old is your daughter? You are totally invading her privacy by doing this like this. I mean seriously, you made her delete pictures of herself on instagram. That’s a little harsh considering the fact that pictures are the whole point of it. How do you expect her to have fun when she I barely allowed to do anything. Doing these things obviously show that you don’t trust her and trust me on thiS KIDS CAN TELL! Show her some respect by letting her do her own things. I can agree with you about the whole Kik thing b/c everyone on there seems to be some horny teenager or some pedo old man. But instagram! Way to harsh! I’m not trying to tell you how to raise your own kids but if you are always policing her on things then what do you expect is gonna happen when

  7. They grow up and go to college. B/c you’ve been doing all these things they will probably go crazy and get into a lot of trouble!

  8. My daughter is 10. It is not an invasion of privacy given that I am her parent and she is a minor. And the important thing here is that I sat down with her and explained why she needed to delete some of her photos, not all of them. I also coached her on different types of photos she can do. I’m not restricting her from posting, just mentoring her on what is appropriate and what is not and the ramifications of making smart vs. dumb decisions on social media. In terms of the trust issue, I don’t do it without physically talking with her first and explaining why things have to be done. There is nothing secretive about it.
    What I’m doing is setting the groundwork for when she is older and has to make the decisions on her own. Via education, she can learn from small mistakes through my and my wife’s guidance. If she were left alone to do what she wanted to do, there were be a much more blurry line as to what is right and what is wrong and would more likely make bad choices in the process.
    Lastly, this is not an Instagram or Kik or Facebook issue, this is social media and social networking in general. Children don’t understand how actions that they take now can affect things in the future. They need guidance and education along the way and will be stronger and safer with parental involvement than if they were to simply do it alone.

  9. Parents really need to be INVOLVED in their kids activities.  What does TRUST have to do with it??? Privacy?? Really???  Kids left with privacy and trust…get into lots of…pickles.  And then, who is held responsible?  Parents, naturally.  I’m all for monitoring their activities, that way you can avoid MOST pitfalls and guide them in the right directions.   What, wait until they get arrested or killed…pregnant or become addicted to some drug?  I applaud all the INVOLVED parents, it is a very difficult job being GOOD parents.

  10. If you think she’s old enough to own an iPhone then seriously you shouldn’t be invading her privacy like this… It’ll just lead to resentment and going behind your back! If she’s a smart girl and you guide her in what’s right and wrong without hijacking her ‘social networking’ life then you shouldn’t have a problem in the first place!

  11. As I have stated in the comments below, it has nothing to do with “invasion of privacy.” With my kids, regardless of their ages, my wife and I tell them that if they want the privilege of using a smartphone and/or social media that we have full access to their devices and accounts. AND, we work WITH them (not secretively) on the best ways to use it and WHY the should or shouldn’t do something. While my daughters are smart about this stuff, they are young and don’t always know the ramifications of their youthful decisions and the type of impact the decisions have in the future. There is no “hijacking” because I’m fully discussing these things with my daughters. But thanks for your comments.

  12. Ok, is giving someone your kik name bad? Can they found out where you live and info about you, even though you won’t tell them any real info, and won’t send any pics of you?

  13. That’s weird. I did follow what you said and tried to search for “instagram” in the search box but all I have got is “user name is invalid”. Little bit overreacted?

  14. THANK YOU HIGHTECHDAD. And for all of you who disagree with anything on this page you either don’t have kids or your just a complete idiot so thank u hightechdad my 15 yearold was also engaging in messages to not only teenagers but adult males as well from all over the country. I think we should as parents figure out a way to get kik messenger banned for good. News stations Facebook warnings to parents whatever it takes

  15. im a 12… i lv instagram and kik messenger…. but i do what u say in Instagram, and some stranger send me a message in kik…. then i read this i wanna delet my kik!!! Tell me how Pls!!! i was about to tell my friends about kik messengers after vaccation but know im never gonna do that!

  16. Thanks, my 10-year old daughter just wanted me to approve D/L KIK on our iPad…I checked the reviews…and one thing caught my eye…you cannot log-out of it. then I Googled and found this…now it is a MASSIVE NO…Thanks for your help

  17. That’s what I did, sadly. I grew up as a pastor’s daughter and wasn’t even allowed to go to prom. When I went away to school, the party life looked so much more appealing than hitting the books, and partying and drinking took over my life for a couple years.

  18. Discussing social dangers with your children is not the same as restricting them from doing it. My children, with the help of my wife and I, work through what is safe and what is dangerous and help them understand the differences. I completely agree that if you fully restrict, that will backfire, and that is why we don’t restrict everything, only services that we have seen can cause issues.

  19. Wow thank you so
    Much this’s has helped me
    As a teen better equipped
    Dealing with the realities of there a way I can use kik

  20. Alright i must say, this is absolutely ridiculous. I understand your good intentions Mr. Sheehan, but what you are doing is absurd. As i read this, being a 16 year old child, I realize how adults really do believe they have this whole “technology” thing figured out. They think they understand the dangers out there…Now, you understand that there ARE dangers, but you don’t understand the rate of occurrence of these so-called “dangers.” You have no idea. The dangers out there are immense, but guess who actually knows about them and understands what they are? Your children, not you. It’s quite pathetic, really. To take a quote from the article, “Having seen that [male genetalia] and having reviewed the lack of privacy and having read more about Kik, I deleted the app immediately.” Time for a wake-up call, Mr. Sheehan…This is the world we live in today. It is your job as a parent to make sure that you have taught your child well, and to know right from wrong. Being a child with access to the internet, I see this stuff on every damn social network i go on. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, KIK, Omegle, you name it, this “male genetalia” is on every single site. Every. Single. Site. Watching many adults and how they use the internet, I see how they really do not have an understanding of what they are doing. I assume you’ve heard the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” correct? This to me describes how most of the adult population uses the internet. They were never taught how to fish, per se…most were just given “fish,” and these fish being for example, how to access their email, how to see their stocks, how to check their sports, and of course, how to check their facebook…

    You also hear of all the dangers on the internet…but have you ever encountered them? or actually had to deal with them? No. No you havent. I understand your concerns. I really do. But these things really do happen on a daily basis. And then, because of parents like you writing articles online, other parents see a skewed and biased article and say, “Oh my god! I must go check and see if my children are experiencing this as well!! I should get them off Facebook, Twitter, and all of that!!” What these parents are actually doing is going over to their kids and talking to them and sounding completely naive to how the internet really works. Taking away your children’s’ access to KIK for their safety is like your grandmother taking away your microwave because she saw somewhere that microwaves cause cancer. Really? Really? Your grandmother sounds “cute” and its funny that she thinks that way…So, are you gonna stop using your microwave? Well, I don’t know, maybe you will…But this is basically the way your kids think when they here you say that you are no longer allowed to use Facebook because there are dangers out there. Except they will be incensed by your naivety and have no words to describe what you are doing. 8 kids out of 10, I can guarantee, will say that they encounter some of these aforementioned occurrences (such as seeing male genetalia) on the internet every time they go to one of their social networking sites. This is such an overreaction to such a minute, constantly occurring happening that is continuously blown out of proportion by parents who are trying to protect their kids. But compromising their privacy and taking control of their social networking is not the answer. I repeat. THAT IS NOT THE ANSWER. Another way I like to look at it is as if the internet is Compton, California. Compton is not what i would call the safest city…this is how i think of the internet. Now lets say, someone who has grown up in, oh I dont know, Beverly Hills their entire life visits Compton one day. They enter the city, see a man being robbed and they are taken aback at how crazy that is, because you never see that in Beverly Hills!!! And this is how i feel about parents and adults perception of the internet. When I’m on the internet, or walking through Compton, it’s quite a dangerous place. But us kids understand we are on the streets walking in a dangerous neighborhood when we are online. And if your kids don’t, hey, it’s your job to teach them. But what are you going to do, lock them in the house all day and not let them leave the house because you live in the dangerous city of Compton? Or educate them on the dangers of going online…
    Personally i think there are only 2 things you need to do to keep yourself safe on the internet…
    1) NEVER POST REVEALING PICTURES OF YOU ONLINE. And by revealing, i mean anything that has you in clothing or attire that you would not wear out in public. I mean, that’s pretty basic, right? (THIS INCLUDES DO NOT PUT NAKED PICTURES ONLINE) 2) When talking to people you dont know, DO NOT SUPPLY THEM ANY INFO, besides your name if you so choose. Talking to new people online can be fun and interesting, and you may learn a thing or two. But there is no need to give them any information whatsoever such as your school, your city, or need I even mention your home address?
    And really, following these rules really should keep your kids safe from any online predators.
    And if you as a parent are still concerned about your kids learning things they shouldn’t, or trying to “protect” them from things such as pornography, profane language, and adult content, unfortunately that is nearly impossible in the world we live in today. So please parents, DO NOT over react to situation that you just read about. I mean, Instagram? Not safe? You know what makes Instagram not safe? Putting naked pictures of yourself on Instagram, or putting personal info on it. refrain from that and you are good. SAME WITH EVERY OTHER NETWORK. Mr. Sheehan, I respect your opinion and I understand what you are thinking and feeling but come on, really? you are completely controlling your daughter’s phone and facebook? First of all, you don’t think she’s gonna delete texts she doesn’t want you to see? And second, what an invasion of privacy!!! Personally, I’m gonna be talking about girls and such over texts with my friends, and I really would prefer my parents respecting my privacy and trusting me and not going through my texts. And, I appreciate them respecting my privacy.
    Well now i must throw in that i just scrolled down and read that your daughter is 10, so i do understand your concerns…but please done continue this when she reaches the age of 14 or so haha. Please, any response to what i just wrote is more than welcome and I’m up to listening to any parents opinions on what I just wrote. I know it’s very controversial, and would really like to hear what some of you have to say.
    And thanks to all for reading this haha, it was quite long.

  21. Sean,
    First, thank you for providing a great response back. It’s important to get feedback from not only parents but also young adults like yourself. You do bring up some very interesting points and while I probably can’t address all of them, I do feel that I should respond in kind.

    For starters, you are absolutely correct. This stuff is out on every social network and it is practically impossible to avoid. And, you are correct in another thing, most adults either are not aware of these issues, are choosing to do nothing about them or are simply not preparing their children for what they might experience within these network.

    Social networking is a new things and many adults simply don’t get it and don’t understand the ramifications on not giving their children the appropriate tools to deal with these types of situations. Think of it as the Wild West. The rules are still being written. More and more of these sites are implementing parental control (which probably any smart kid can bypass), but that is not the point of my article. I wanted to raise awareness of a particular example that I experienced. Among parents in our social circle, my wife and I are the most savvy when it comes to these things (or at least we would like to think that we are). I’m scare to think about those parent who aren’t.

    Any time our kids have questions or do something that might not be appropriate, whether it is paste a photo or make an odd comment on a social network, we are here to help them navigate these waters. I know that this is something that is part of their generation. I’m not a parent that says “No, you simply can’t participate.” If you do that, they will do it behind your back and could get into more trouble that way. My kids know that my wife and I watch what they do and have full access to their accounts, profiles, cellphones and computers. That is our responsibility as loving parents. And they know that it is a privilege to use these devices and social network and that if we catch them doing something “wrong” that they will be taken away. But we don’t do that in a vacuum. We talk to them about their decisions and our decisions. To use your own phrase below, we are teaching them how to fish and fish well.

    Yes, I agree that my article may create a knee-jerk reaction in some parents, particularly those who don’t understand social networking. And it wasn’t my intention to point out Instagram or Kik or Facebook. It can be something like “sexting” or “grooming”. My goal was to say “hey here is an example that I, someone who knows about this stuff, experienced first hand with my child, and here are some things that you might want to do.” Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Instagram and I haven’t stopped my kids from using that, just slightly tweak the rules a bit. Kik, however, is not something that I like. There is no privacy controls, it’s very open and hard to control. In my daughter’s case, I told her that she didn’t have to delete Kik (actually). I told her though that she could only have friends on their that were her actual friends. I think that is reasonable. Later, when I went to check her account, I couldn’t find the app. I asked her about it, and she simply told me that she had deleted it. At that point, I felt that my teaching had gotten through to her. She made the decision to delete it. It’s a respect thing.

    The two rules that you list are good ones. I have written about this stuff a lot on my site so I hope that you look through some of my other articles. I would love to get your opinion.

    Your response is actually not that controversial. It’s your opinion. I encourage that. I don’t encourage the knee-jerk reactions that some parents might do though and again, that was not my intention. My goal, as I said, was simply to raise awareness and encourage dialog between parent and child.

    Just as a side note, I do think that we will see the pendulum swing back in the other direction unfortunately as more controls and regulations are put on these types of social networking sites. Think about it, we have movie and game ratings (and yes, my kids have seen me play Halo even though they are “too young”…they have also seen PG-13 movies at my discretion) and we have careful segmentation of pornography and dirty magazines. I do fear that social networking will become under that type of scrutiny soon as well. I’m all for social networks (that is my day job as a Technology Evangelist) but I’m more in favor of educating our children to be able to make sound and proper decisions.

    Thanks again Sean for the discussion! This is important and I hope that you have had similar ones with your parents or guardians.


  22. Okay this isn’t even CLOSE to the worst of your concerns when it comes to online safety. How about all you paranoid dads take a look at Cause its a free, WEBCAM chatting site. Your young daughters can make a profile, set their age at anything, and go LIVE on a WEBCAM, from their phone or laptop or computer, and then INSTANTLY they have 50 year old men watching them. Leave Instagram and Kik alone, they’re innocent.

  23. i think you might be a little to strict on your kids there…. just let them have fun trust them!

  24. Thanks for the great article and information. I do not think you are too strict and definitely not an invasion of privacy–she’s 10, people! 10 year old children need help with making judgement calls about everything! I have a 10 year old and an 8 year old–they have too much too handle growing up in this time. I like the reference to the Wild West–good description.
    Also, I am on several media sites and though I see a few things here and there, I do not see much porn. How you say? Because I keep the contacts to people I know and who also do not tolerate porn. Simple.

  25. If you don’t give your kids rules and boundaries and set expectations, the chances of them getting into trouble are much higher. If you do too much, they rebel in other ways. My goal is to provide a careful balance of moderation and education, giving them the tools to make smart decisions but also provide them the protection that they need at a younger age so that when the grow older, they can make the right decisions on their own.

  26. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it really does depend on your child’s age. Our 13 year old does ask us a lot of questions and we guide her. Our 11 year old (now) needs more guidance and a bit more restriction to what she has access to, and our 8 year old is really limited to what she can or cannot do. All of these “levels” come with education that is tailored to their age and situation.

  27. you are way to strict and overprotective, kids need to explore these things for themselves they are not the stupid people that most adults make them out to be but rather a person with their own ideas. They need to be exposed to these kinds of things in order to learn what is safe and what is not.

  28. I disagree and I encourage you to read through all of the comments on my post. The important thing here is working WITH your kids and explain to them why they should or shouldn’t do something. They cannot operate alone or in a vacuum. To take a very simplified example: teaching your children how to cook. You wouldn’t simply give them pots, pans, a hot stove and ingredients and just tell them to go cook something without ANY supervision? That would be physically harmful to them. They could get burned, cut or injured in some way. You would coach them, teach them tricks as well as how to be safe. You would supervise them for a while until both you and they felt comfortable doing it on their own. It’s the same with social media, in my opinion.

  29. First off, that “don’t search instagram” is a classic. I agree 100% that it’s crazy that there is not enough private options. The main thing I wish I could have is the option to set the kik account as private so you either have to be given a request to be able to talk, or set the account so its completely hidden so you can search for others but they can’t search for you.

    My 2 favourite features of kik is how instant it is, and besides the lack of privacy options, it’s got a MASSIVE advantage over dozens of other services, the fact that when you add a photo message, it shows the method you got it, if you got from the gallery app, or from the inbuilt kik camera function.

    So it’s good that before start talking to people, to make sure they are who they say they are, that they not some pedo pretending to be a little innocent teen/child etc, you get them to take a pic of them from the inbuilt camera function do it gives you enough proof as video calling. Although some them thought I were stupid enough to be fooled by them taking a pic of a pic -_-

    I think that one privacy option would be kik to disable the ability for any person to use the name of an application such as instagram or YouTube etc, and those that have used a name before hand get a deletion (if it’s inappropriate).

    My advice if you want to keep kik private like I now do with only my BFFs, make the username really unique, one that’s not gonna be search for out of random.

    And if you got an idiot, like on any site, just block them, and if possible report them.

    It’s not so much the people I don’t know that I need to worry about, it’s the ones who do -__-

    One thing that dreams me nuts about kik, is the reviews, well so-called reviews as almost every other post is…

    “follow me girls, I’ll trade”l etc -__(

  30. You can log out of KIK but it is instead called reset KIK messenger, it logs you out deletes any messages you had open but you are able to log back in anytime you want. I do not believe KIK to be as bad as everyone seems to make out, an advantage is unlike facebook you can’t see who everyone else is connected to and therefore you cannot get people you do not know messaging you unless you give your username out. I believe instead of not allowing your children to go on these types of apps you should instead teach them to delete people who will be asking to see genitalia as the original poster put it. Children are going to grow up and by stopping them from going on these types of apps or websites whilst there friends can they are going to get jealous and they will somehow find a way of getting on them, obviously not at ten but when they grow up. So instead of just not allowing them to go on these sites instead teach them the dangers and teach them how to avoid them, from a 16 year old boy who has been in the situation of not being allowed on websites and finding a way, my parents now allow me to search the internet at will but I know the dangers and what to avoid. I know it’s a going to be a jump in the deep side of the pool as parents but in the long run it will be the best way for you children to learn.

  31. If your daughter is ten she shouldnt have a facebook,instagram or a phone anyway i didnt get these luxuries until i was sixteen or seventeen having parents breathing down your neck like that honestly makes you wanna do worse things thats why im glad my parents just told me i had to wait to have those sort of social media interactions

  32. I’m 14 & honestly the only way those sites would be dangerous is if you shared personal information & posted innapropriate pictures of yourself. I understand she’s ten, but as she gets older you should ease up on being strict. It could either lead her to being socially isolated as she grows up or going behind your back doing things that everyone else does that you wouldn’t allow her to do. I have seen personally how strict parents raise sneaky kids. As she gets older give her more privacy because even though she may not want you looking through her phone when shes 12 or so it’s not because she’s hiding something it’s probably because she’s talking about her latest crush with her friends and that’s just embarrassing for your parents to see

  33. Your rediculous. getting killed? pregnant? really? Just cause you don’t check your kids phone doesnt mean bad stuff is going to happen to them. your a freak.

  34. Ok so first off do NOT LET ANYONE use this site under the age of 17. Kik is by far and i truly mean this, THE BIGGEST PEDO UTOPIA ON THE INTERNET! Here’s why….So for my school social media project i wanted to uncover the dangers of “online predators” and expose them. So i posed as a 14 year old girl who just wanted to chill with some buddies and meet friends. EVERY BOY (40 year old pretending to be a boy) i encountered said 2 lines “hello” and “Send me nudes”. At first i thought it was just a bad day on kik, but then i realized the entire site consists of either pedophile adults or moronic little girls who are to stupid to realize what they are doing. As i continued my research on “Online Predators” i found out most of these girls are VERY easy to manipulate and they will do just about anything you tell them. For instance i would find most of my contacts through Omegle and in Omegle you can do group chats. 13 year old girls were perfectly fine with going to private chats and showing off their body to these “15” year old boys. Anyone can download someone’s Facebook profile pictures and claim to look like that person. Unfortunately these girls are EXTREMELY dumb and easy to deceive. Here’s where the story gets interesting. So my sister who i thought was smarter than the average moron, decides she wants to partake in these “photo exchanging activities”. Not only that, but some of her “Kik BF’s” wanted to fly out to America to come see her. It absolutely amazes me how strong peer pressure amongst teenagers really is. Unfortunately for my sister, she knows nothing about wifi or computers and for some strange reason i kept seeing pictures of genitals appearing on my phone. Some how her messaging was getting directed to my phone and that’s when i realized there was a serious problem. Children are VERY stupid when it comes to engaging in social interaction. I’m not going to sugar coat online dangers, or pretend like this doesn’t happen to girls all the time. If you have a son, then you shouldn’t care as much about online interactions, BUT if you have a daughter you better monitor the shit out of everything she does! Before i concluded my research i had the pleasure of sending these pedophiles to the middle of nowhere which was where we were supposed to meet for the first time. How pleased they must have been to fly over to America and end up in the ghetto lmao. If your daughter uses Omegle, then she is essentially talking to a bunch of strangers who pose as little boys. It’s funny how these “14 year old boys” were able to get plane tickets to America lol who would have thought. The only way to confirm someone is real is to get them in a video chat and tell them to do things like “Jumping Jacks, Pushups, Give two thumbs down.” Things like that separate a staged video and a real person. Pictures are meaningless, they could be anyone they want to be with just a picture. Hope this helps and this isn’t only for computers, phones, and labtops, but also i phones.

    Here’s my email if anyone wants to know more
    [email protected]

  35. Good answer. I thought Sean sounded like a snot and hit the nail on the head calling themselves a “16 year old CHILD” you sound like one. You think people are stupid because they are adults
    I have been on the Internet since the Internet began and I’m in the tech field, so as a parent of 12 and 13 year old girls who’s also a techie, I think your article is spot on. At 16 you (Sean) may be more armed to deal with predators. Younger girls are not, even the smartest ones go through an awkward stage that makes them easy pickings for older teens and adults looking for gratification online.
    It’s our job to protect our kids and arm them with the information needed to wade through the muck. We recently found Kik to be an issue, my husband has been logged in to her account and has had new people attempting to start conversation and get pics. Even after stating the “she” is 13.
    Question: is there a listing somewhere her Kik name might be?

  36. There is a difference between restricting use and moderating use.
    If they want to have use of electronics they have to agree to parental TOS.
    I don’t check every message so they have a level of privacy as long as they follow the rules.

  37. Shutting it down isn’t the answer. Parenting is.
    You can’t pad every sharp corner, you just have to be informed, keep your kids educated.
    Shutting things down is just lazy parenting and would lead to rebellion as the many teen posters are trying to say.

  38. Or you could just teach your daughter to not be a fucking retard and talk to creepy guys on social networks

  39. Boy, you miss the point completely. That is the whole point of the article – teaching your kids how to deal with situations like this. I guess you didn’t have any training on that. And, it’s the “creepy guys” who seek out children and trick them.

  40. The problem is, kids will do it with or without their parents’ involvement. If not at home, they will do it at school, a friend’s house or via mobile. My view is that it is better to work with them at an early age to that as this communication channel grows, they are better prepared for it. You don’t just throw them in the water and tell them to swim, you help them along the way.

  41. Obviously it is completely up to the person using Kik how they will actually use it. The fact that the reviews on the app itself are blatantly obvious on the subject matter, makes me think it is not something that kids should be involved in. Just like in a store, “girlie” magazines are out of the reach of children and not laying around for anyone to see.

  42. Great to know that you believe girls are somehow less prepared to deal with the internet. Doubly great to see you base your entire argument on how you’ve been on the internet since it began, yet you still are under the impression that all girls “go through an awkward stage that makes them easy pickings for older teens and adults looking for gratification online.” That’s just not true. It’s really lame and sexist of you to believe that a sixteen year old boy is more apt to deal with being preyed upon than a girl. Trust me, predators go both ways. And Sean’s point still stands; you may have been on the internet since it began, but people of our generation have been raised by the internet. To really lamely misquote/modify a Bane quote from TDKR,: “You merely adopted the internet; I was born in it.” You can be as concerned as you want, but understand that the values of your generation are vastly different from ours, and if your response to your daughters “going through an awkward phase” is to shelter them entirely from things you consider bad or wrong, you’re going to have some GROSSLY disillusioned teens on your hands or fragile fairy girls who’ll crack as soon as they see someone else’s downstairs mix up. I’m sorry, but prohibiting something is not “providing information to wade through the muck.” I’m sorry that younger generations understand the internet and internet culture better than older people may, and even sorrier that parents are trying to apply an outdated method of child rearing because they cannot admit that they’re terrified of letting their kids have privacy with something that they (the parents) don’t fully understand.

  43. I talk about girls simply because I have 3 daughters. I agree that this type of environment is equally dangerous for boys. I can only speak from hands-on experience regarding my daughters. I don’t know if you are a parent or a child or a teen so I cannot know your “authority” in this matter. Again, the point of the article is to 1) raise awareness for parents to know about this because from speaking directly with my neighbors and parents at my children’s school is that they are NOT aware, nor have the tools or concepts to talk to their kids about it, and 2) encourage parents to talk with (emphasis on “with” and not “at”) their children to help give them (boys or girls alike) the tools to be able to understand what dangers do exist out there. I’m not an overly protective parent. I let my kids experience the Internet. There are plenty of parents that prevent their kids from doing any of this. My personal opinion is that they should be exposed but they should also be guided. I’m not an expert on social media but do know quite a bit about it and parenting. I would love to know your background, if you are a parent speaking from experience, or a teen or young adult or even a child. It helps provide perspective..

  44. Thanks for this. I picked up my daughters phone the other night and encountered porn pix in her instagram news feed. I had no idea what was going on but a quick news search brought me to the Huffington post article and I clicked through to your piece as well. I was shocked to learn what’s really going here!

    Her pix are innocent enough, ponies etc shared w her friends. I realize that as these kids want to increase their followers they participate in Shout outs add people they don’t really know. As these accounts can change it turns out she was following a couple of “pimps” who were putting up pix of girls along w their Kik contact info so ppl can check them out & then meet up on Kik. Needless to say, I was horrified! I read your piece and lost several hours of sleep deciding what to do.

    I felt that I needed to involve my daughter (age 10) in understanding the dangers of the situation. first we talked about Kik, why she used Kik, and then the dangers of Kikking with someone she doesn’t know. We decide she really didn’t need kik to communicate with her friends, and she voluntarily deleted the app. Later I asked her if she’d ever seen uncomfortable pix on Instagram. She said yes and started telling me about “pinup” shots she was receiving in her newsfeed & how she had no idea why she was getting them. She knew they were inappropriate and we talked about the need to come to me when she’s in that kind of situation. I explained that she was in touch with scary people and that we needed to protect her account by 1) making her photos private, which she agreed to do 2) cleaning up her following/followers list. I then have cleaned out her photos removing any references to where she lives, anything that seems too personal, and any comments by strangers.

    I took this route rather than shutting down her account bcs I want it to be a learning experience for her and I want her to be able to come to me with problems without fear that I will take the phone or the instagram away from her. I am now going through nightly to make sure it stays secure.

    I am not afraid of social media wen used properly, however i realize that as parents we need to stay on top of a situation that’s rapidly evolving. I am writing this to express my gratitude, High Tech Dad, and to share the experience as a note of caution for other parents.


  45. Ann,

    Thanks so much for your note. You handled your (similar) situation much the same way that I handled mine with my daughter. It is definitely important to educate and work with your kids when it comes to this stuff, rather than take them away and make futile efforts to prevent it. I tried to go about explaining it in a different way in this post: . Congrats for being an involved and concerned parent. I have a feeling that many parents simply don’t know what to do or don’t even have a clue about this stuff. I appreciate your feedback!

  46. I’m 15 male and my parent love me a lot. Hell I’m Lucky to have my hacked neighbors wifi (password was 12345678) but they give me privacy! They don’t give me the lockdown and control MY LIFE like a farm animal! Besides mostly every teen out here is horny and uses apps and texting and callin to relive those. Think of it this way! IT’S SAFER TO TO SEXT THE. TO ACTUALLY HAVE SEX! SO YOUR 17 old could be doing 16 guys a month, or Sextjng 16 guys a month! Setting is safer nimrod! Oh and 187 Compton

  47. Thanks a lot for this article. I found it by searching “dangers on instagram” after having a situation come up today. It’s astonishing how many commenters here seem to have no comprehension about the need to protect young children. Kudos to you for helping us less tech savvy parents out. For those who think parents shouldn’t “invade privacy”, or that 10 year olds are smart enough to avoid predators, here is what happened today in my home. My son was using my 10 year old daughter’s ipod touch today (with permission) and stumbled upon photos she had taken of herself posing in front of a mirror in her underwear. He showed me them, and I checked her instagram to see if I could find if she had posted them. I really knew nothing about instagram until a few days ago when I saw a piece on the news about the porn all over the site, but I didn’t have time to check it out yet. While viewing my daughter’s account, I saw that she had some followers who were complete strangers. Two had commented on very innocent photos of her and asked if she had kik. Another two followers profiles said to contact their kik addresses. I knew nothing about kik until reading this article, and thankfully, my daughter didn’t know about it or have the app. Thankfully, my daughter said she didn’t send the photos anywhere, but I still find it disturbing that she took them to begin with. Why? Because her poses show that she’s seen others post those type of pictures, and there is no reason 10 year old girls should ever even see photos like that. It’s quite obvious that those who take issue with your article are not parents, and truly don’t realize the effects this stuff has on children (whether it’s contact with pedofiles, or knowledge of things they are too young to understand). Thanks soooo much for this informative article.

  48. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m really glad that my article helped to get that conversation going with your daughter. Dialog is the most important thing!

  49. i have a kik and i love it i only talk to people i know :) and i dont send nudes or anything so i am pretty smart

  50. at the end of summer my mom tock away my kik becouse i had this convo no picures or anything i am smart not to sext or anything but i got my kik back the outherday and boy was i happy i delted the people that i use to talk 2 and stuff and its funner now that i am safer

  51. but on school nights i turn my phone in and everything and i dont like it but on weekends my mom and dad let me keep my phone

  52. ONLY kik reliable users! You can look into their Instagram streams, and see what kind of people are they

  53. Mr. Sheehan, you are right on, and I noticed the negative comments are by kids.
    Case in point; A 15 year old girl, who was normally very good and respectful to her parents, got caught up into nasty, dirty, sexual chat on KIK! Some old pedophiles on there did exactly what someone in a post here talked about: pretty much said, ‘Hello’, then started sex talking. It was sick. And she was so caught up in it, that she began to cut herself and talk suicidal. This was not her normal personality at all!!
    Be careful…very careful, teens. Especially girls. And no, this is not ‘sexist’ or ‘lame’ to say, but common sense and statistics teach that it is mostly the girls that are victims. Little boys as well, but mostly girls.

  54. wow thats a really good save for youre daughter! she might thinks its torture that youre taking away social networking away from her, but in the future she will thabk you for the care and protection you have given her!
    btw im 14 and totally agree i have an ipod but im only allowed to use it in the holidays (fully monitored) but i also have an ipad i use only on fridays to take a relaxing break from studying! im not fully deprived but i consider my future before present i undertand my parents and appreciate them for being like this

  55. i do the same and i also dont post up on instttagram my username for kik! i have also played smart and made my username really hard so that people wouldnt be able to search me i only kik the close fellow classmates

  56. Kid, you are a moron. These stupid adults have been using the Internet since before you were born. When you get older you may understand how it is to raise kids. Until then you need to stay out. You have no idea. You are only 16. As an old coach used to tell me, “teenagers are stupid”. We hated that but you know what? Teenagers are stupid!!! You will agree with me one day.

  57. Hi, I’m 13 and i partly agree. i have never got creepy messages on kik ever. but i think its a good idea to tell your child to stay away from strangers on it. UNLESS: its about co-owning an account, to help someone stop suicide, to just talk nicley with NO sharing details, and if your kids are girls than boys should BE OUT OF THE QUESTION! im not being sexist. my friend has talked to boys on kik and some have asked for pics of boobs. ugh. perv much..? lol. and if your daughters 10, a phone should be out the question let alone a iphone. i love instagram and don’t plan on leaving it anytime soon.but kik thank you for opening my eyes (not that i used it much). instagram is fine if ur careful actully it can be very fun! at the moment im getting rid of my kik..! thank you for opening my eyes! thanks erin xx

  58. Thanks Erin for providing your perspective. It’s great that you are doing research yourself in order to better understand social media. I appreciate that you took time to respond.

  59. Sean. I’m 14 years old, and I am in love with what you just said. Thank you so much. It just made my day. Parents like Mr. Sheehan need to understand that this is the 21st century and it’s different for this generation than it was for Mr. Sheehans generation.

  60. See Mr. Sheehan? You’ve just created another pissed off child becuase her mother said no to her Kik. I respect what you do but I personally think you’re a paranoid father and you should stop.

  61. Mr. hightechdad. You sir, are a disgrace. You go on your daughters ACCOUNTS???? Damn! That is not good! Give them their privacy and they will be happier.

  62. Hi “Neeka” or is it Kailee or Lily ;)
    I fully understand that it is the 21st century and you and your parents are welcome to set boundaries or not, or choose to be safe or not. My wife and I are relatively savvy about social media compared to other parents, or so we like to think. You should read my cooking & social media article as it helps to explain the decisions I made. I don’t tell my kids to go play out in the middle of traffic. I tell them to be careful when then cross the street and play where it is safe.

  63. wow youre fucking stupid you paranoid asshole! no affence and i know i may sound rude but tthese are teens youre talking about. give them their damn privac mr chris.

  64. Hi Kailee (or Neeka or Lily), you may view it as harsh right now, but if and when you choose to be a parent, you will understand the reasoning for parents to be protective. I’m all about educating my kids and giving them tools to make better decisions. Some parents may choose to be more harsh and delete everything. That is not what I would do. My daughter still has Instagram and she was the one later who made the decision herself to delete Kik.

  65. you can trust them. you dont understand this generation becuae youre old. sorry man. gotta except the fact. i feel bad for your kids. wait until they get older. :)

  66. “Lilly” – they are my kids and they are quite happy. You are free to do as you choose (but, by the way, spamming this comment thread with different names & emails but coming from the same computer – yes, I have that information) doesn’t make your case much better. I will be deleting profanity from your other posts.

  67. excuse me….. but these “children ” youre talking about understand WAYYYY more than youre dumb ass thinks they can. sorry to burst youre bubble.

  68. yes. i know you know that im choosing different names. but im quite frankly pissed offff . i understand that youre a parent and you care but this must suck for youre kids. i know they cant wait until they move out. youre blog is pretty cool tho.

  69. Sorry to burst YOUR bubble but you have been hijacking all of these threads. If you don’t have anything smart to contribute, I’m going to have to blacklist you (you already have been warned once for swearing and that comment has been removed). The comment area is for intelligent discussion but I’m sorry to say, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think you have something smart to say. Criticizing and saying “you’re wrong and stupid” doesn’t really count.

  70. but if she had kept her kik you would have made her delete it! you have thier passwords to evrything and you checck their phone???? ummmm LETS ALL CLAP FOR MR SHEEHAN CUZ HE THINKS HES PROTECTING HIS KIDS.

  71. Haha, you are welcome to your opinion. And I hope you respect mine. I’m not sure why you are pissed off. These aren’t your kids. I merely write what I have seen and what I recommend. What parents and kids choose to do is completely their own decision. My kids are quite happy.
    I’m glad you like my blog (but please stop hijacking the threads – I think you made your point that you don’t like it, that’s cool. I respect that.)

  72. Some parents just dont do anything becaause THEY TRUST their kids and know thhat the kids know what to do.

  73. Very good article. I am a mother of 8 and I am protective of my kids. The only cell phone is mine and the only computer is mine. And that stays in the living room. Some of my kids friends decided I was to strict because I say that if a child of mine is under 18, there is no technology privacy. I also won’t allow my 18 year old son to set in a closed room with a girl.

  74. Not to be offensive but this is totally ridiculous. I am 15 and if my parents were constantly checking my phone i’d hate my life, i dont do ‘bad things’ i dont send dirty pix to anyone, i dont talk to people i dont know or anything! But i think i am entitled to have a right to privacy. I may only be a ‘kid’ but us ‘kids’ are smarter than you think, u ahud just tell her to use it wisely, and not get into trouble with it. I have nothing to hide but i wouldnt want my mom stalking my instgram messages or kik. I knoe i dont have kids and i understand how parents worry, but seriously, i have never been creeped on instagram, and even if i was. It woulnt matter cuz i dnt post dirty things. I dnt give my number OR my kik username to anyone except my friends and the occasional friend of one of my friends who i see around school…

  75. Hi Mandy,
    Thanks for providing your perspective. I agree that based on your age that parents should give you some more room. Please remember, my daughter was 10 (she’s 11 now) so she needs a bit more supervision as she is learning this stuff. You might understand it a bit more by reading this post: where I used a cooking analogy. I agree that privacy is warranted but depending on the age and how savvy a child is, there may need to be more involvement from the parent. You are smart in the way that you are doing it…but I’m not sure if all kids do it as safely as you do.

  76. Whoever wrote this has no freaking life, and is raising a bunch of idiots. Instead of forcing your kids what to do, teach them to make smarter decisions.

  77. Give your child freedom, let them make the right decisions on their own. I’d understand if your daughter was 8 – 11 years old, but as a teenager they need to be let off the leash and explore on their own. You are gaurding your child from the real world, instagram and kik can be safe if your daughter is smart, like not posing for inaprobpiate pictures, or replying to messages from strangers. Cut the umbilical cord.

  78. I had dealt with kik. It not just pedophile they make up very saw part of population. I only met about 2 out of about 50 and I block them. Basically if any one ask for pic just say no. They’re perfectly harmless. Of course there are situation where straight guy or gays underage would want to trade pic. I think that where the problem lie. But I did meet a loving bf on there so I not against as it is our only way to communicate.

  79. hightechdad- Good you didn’t reply to John. “Never argue with an idiot, people may not know which one is the idiot.” That being said, I will reply to him, and never look back.
    john- IF you are a parent, I expect one day we very well might be reading about a child of yours who has been left to their own devices, and has been taken advantage of, hurt, molested, or fallen to some other fate, preyed upon by someone who doesn’t love them like a parent, but who is only interested in their own salacious gratification. Keep your kids safe. It’s YOUR job and your duty to them and to society.

  80. This seems completely unnecessary to me. Way over the edge. Strict and overly protective parents create sneaky kids. Let your kids learn some lessons on their own

  81. I guess you missed the point. Not restrict, educate and work together. You should read my other post on teaching kids to cook and social media.

  82. Who tf wants to see pictures of their dog on instagram, really? Someone is very over protective.

  83. Im 15 and I use kik, facebook, instagram, and a couple others. I do see all of the problems you have expressed. I wasn’t even exposed to social networks until I was 13. I have seen male genitalia on sites and I do not like it all. On kik, I try to keep an age restraint such as.15-18 year olds. Sometimes I get 30 year olds and 20 year olds, but I know not to speak to them. It is true that some of those men are looking to hurt these kids. I didn’t even finish PP all of the comments and I knew that I had to voice my opinion. I understand that you only wish to keep your children safe, but they have to make mistakes so that they can learn from them. I’m not saying that you should go and say well honey its okay to send nude pictures because its not. I know first hand. Kids only want to meet new friends and social networks help with that development, but sometimes people are the wrong friends. Lets not go and call anyone a moron because of their opinion, but I am a young lady who does not send nude pictures because I believe that it defeats my purpose as a being. Not a lot of smart ladies from where I am from say that. Whoever said that the hightechdad was wrong is wrong. He is only trying to save his girls from this world. Even though it is kind if shielding their eyes from what it really is. I can’t reallyspeak

  84. Sorry my phone cut me off.
    I can’t really speak on behalf of anyone because I don’t know his entire view, but our world is a dangerous place and he is just trying to shield his girls from harm. We all know about this and that, but do we really know about it.. Maybe what we know has been shielded as well. He is doing this for your own good and protection. I have downloaded so many apps and they do check my contacts and I must admit when I download apps, I am completely reckless, but this man has just opened my eyes to a new way of thinking. I must also say that even though boys are at risk, I see more of girls than guys. I am young and looking for fun like the rest of you and parents do not check my messages because I’m not an at risk teen like I used to be, but when you actually read what he says and take it into consideration, it could actually be a shield to you as well.

  85. I’m 23 and I have a 13 year old stepchild I’m responsible for. I’ve installed KiK on several phones. You have to choose to let it access your contacts. And if a pedophile is already in your child’s contacts you have bigger issues. Your child shouldn’t have their KiK username on their Instagram profile if you’re worried about them coming in contact with a creep, but on the off chance you’ve decided to be lazy and put the onus of your child’s safety on other people, they don’t respond to KiK messages from people they don’t know. You can delete a message without having to read it.

    Your article assumes kids are not only stupid but that they can’t be taught basic common sense. Rather than shelter children if you have a captive audience of adults, you should be encouraging them to arm their children with the tools to navigate social media and the confidence not to be taken in by some loser. Because guess what? The girl in 8th grade who couldn’t have a Myspace? She’s the girl who texted a topless pic of herself and had it end up on Twitter at age 21. Because after being “protected” by her parents from dangerous social media, she was still a vulnerable child when she was finally cut loose. Social media has been around long enough to prove your approach doesn’t work. Trust me. Everyone is so busy saying my kid isn’t ready to deal with this and that and next thing you know they’re out of the house and there’s no more teachable moments. You have no more chances to guide because they’re on their own.

    Just this morning someone tweeted a picture of a naked woman (who was thankfully an adult so everyone wasn’t exposed to child porn) making breakfast. She let him take the picture because she loved him. How much did he love her? Obviously not enough to respect her and not blast her on Twitter. And you know what? That will not be my kid. I will not take away social media from her. But I will give her the tools to make good choices, not only when it comes to social media but relationships as well.

  86. Hi J, you might want to look into what Kik does by accessing your contacts. That doesn’t mean that only people in your contact list can Kik you, it means that they have the ability to potentially contact all of the people in your Contact list (although this practice is less common on Apple but might be more so on Android). I agree that they should have their Kik username anywhere. Again, I told my kids that if they wanted to use Kik (and they themselves chose not to), they had to physically know the person (so the Kik user name would be done personally).
    Good tip about deleting without reading a Kik message, that makes sense.
    You are wrong about what I assume. Kids are definitely not stupid, they are quite tech-savvy, more so than many parents. What they are, though, are naive and innocent. They don’t know or understand why a “creep” might want to do something harmful. When you talk about basic common sense, that is completely subjective. It’s cold and rainy today and my kids walked out the door with summer shoes and no jacket. Common sense would say, it’s cold and wet, put on a jacket and have warm, dry shoes. When it comes to perverts, stalkers, pedofiles and the like, they are so good at what they do, they even trick savvy adults.

    I agree about arming kids with the right tools, that is what I have been saying all along. You need to work WITH your kids to give them the tools to understand the dangers and how to avoid them. And it depends on the age of the child, obviously.

    I too will not take social media away from my kids, but I will help them understand what is appropriate and what is not. In my opinion, Kik was not appropriate and in talking with them, they made the decision to not use it. Instagram, however, is great, just with some precautions.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Sounds like you are doing the right thing.

  87. I use kik and Instagram , and I’m a 14 year old guy. I haven’t been contacted by no pedophlie if you stupid and talk to everyone online then you have a problem..

  88. All I have to say is if you know you can not trust your girls, don’t let them have a phone, use the internet, or anything. Until you can learn to not be such a nosey dad, do not let them have anything of that sort. It seems as if all you would do is stalk their social lives. Especially since you took the time to write this very long article, it shows that you are very in-tuned to your daughters. Now, I will share my points of view on different age groups. I understand many people will have different input than I do, of course. How do you know your child is ready for a phone? Well, if your child can read, and it is within your budget it’s up to you when or when your child is or isn’t ready for this. My suggested age to start off with a simple phone is seven years old. They already have school and may need to contact you on their own. What you don’t want to do is pay for an expensive cell phone that they probably don’t even know how to use at their young age, and have them break or loose it within a week. This way it’s easy to replace. Use this method for about three years. If they take good care of it, you can upgrade a little. Once your child is at least eleven or twelve it may depend on their behavior or responsibility. After that though, let them roam free. Do not get involved in their social life, unless it gets out of hand. (fights, threats, etc.) If your daughter is ten, with a cell phone, and you do not trust her then what do you think you should do? As for social accounts, hold off on that until she is actually old enough to have these accounts.(Usually around 13)

  89. When my Dad found out I had an instagram the only thing he said to me was do you have pictures of yourself

  90. Honestly the only thing I can ask is why your daughter even has a Facebook, instagram, kik etc.? She is 10. Understanding that when she gets older she will have one of the many social networking site accounts, but in order to help avoid some of these situation if you wait until your daughter is 12-13 years old, when they begin to really start making connections and are more aware of the different ways the can be approached by a friend or predator, it is then that they should be able to use these social networking sites and I believe that they are old enough to use these sites. I am sure that Facebook has an age restriction of at least 12 or 13 to use its services so you allowing your daughter to have one is your choice to allow her to lie about her age, and instagram and kik both have similar age restrictions. Case and point: At your daughters age there is no need for a Facebook or many of those social networking sites, so wait until she begins to mature and you will avoid most of the problems that you fear.

  91. First of all, I have 3 daughters. My oldest is on Facebook but she is 13 (and regularly asks for guidance on how to do things). My 11 year old is the one who was on Kik and Instagram (still is on Instagram). My youngest does not have Instagram. You are correct that many sites including Facebook, do have age restrictions of 13 and older but I know for a fact that kids circumvent this all of the time. The problem is, if you fully restrict this stuff, they will sneak it. So, I feel it is better to simply work with them on the services that we are ok with them using (based on their age) so that they understand the risks and know how to act appropriately.

  92. I don’t understand the “dangers” of the internet if no personal information is posted. As long as kids are taught to maintain their privacy, they aren’t going to come to any harm. A guy showing his privates is not “dangerous,” and it won’t lead to anything dangerous unless a child decides to act in some physical manner (eg, arranging to meet him or webcamming/sexting).

    I disagree with how involved you are in your children’s lives, but since it seems to be working quite well, I can respect it. However, I think this article encourages many parents to overstep their bounds (these boundaries are set by the children, and what they are comfortable with), pushing their kids to become more secretive or rebellious.

  93. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree that social media for kids is fine if you don’t post personal information provided that you spend time to talk with them explaining what is personal and what is not. It also, obviously, depends on the age of the child. I continue to maintain that if you work with your kids and help them understand what the good and the bad things are about social media, it can be a fine experience. Just the way that I don’t want my kids seeing R-rated movies for violence or sex, I wouldn’t want them exposed to people “exposing” themselves to them. In my kid’s friend’s particular example, privates were shown and a solicitation was made. That is dangerous activity. If I were to just say “oh that’s fine, it happens,” I would not be doing my job as a parent.
    Yes, I also agree that many parents have a knee-jerk reaction to things like this. And I’m saying that a balanced approach of experimentation and education is probably the best thing. Boundaries are actually, I believe, to be set by the parents as we supposedly have better judgement. Kids test these boundaries continually to see what they can and cannot do. I agree that if a parent is too restrictive, it can have bad repercussions. But on the flip side, if the rules are too loose, that can be bad for the child as well. It’s a fine line but if you talk with your kids and coach them along the way, I believe the outcome will be better in the long run.

  94. Thanks for the article, it helped me gain a much better understanding to why my parents are so strict about posting photos. This just gave me a whole knew thought.. I completely change my mind.

  95. Sean … are 16, you are not entitled to privacy until you are 18 first off so any privacy you are given is a privilage remember that. Secondly you are 16, you are not an adult, and while you may think you know everything and are smarter than adults, the fact is you don’t and you are not. When real life smacks you in the face a couple times, and many more years have passed, and you are an actual adult then you will realize just how ridiculous you sound right now.

  96. I just came across this site while reviewing KiK for my child and thank goodness I did. I for one am a very tech savvy parent and I try to do the same thing for my children that you are. We are the first generation of parents that have to deal with this. Our parents never dealt with this as they had the don’t get into cars with strangers generation. We as parents now have a whole new set of worries. I am sorry that some of these younger adults don’t understand or appreciate the dangers out there.

    I want my kids to be open with me and I do not want to be too restricted. I don’t want them to be the only one at school not using an app or something but there are some things I am NOT ok with. KiK sounds like one of those things.

    I registered my account so I can be part of this community and wanted to thank you for doing what you do. Many parents out there are at the black and white stage with technology. They either let their kids do what they do because they either don’t care or most likely don’t understand the dangers. Others are so afraid they just restrict everything. There really is a gray area and this is where parents need to be. They just need to be educated.

  97. It sounds like Instagram with correct usage by a teen may be ok and (for reasons you stated and I agree with) Kik is not ok. (At least for my 13 year old). Do you have any tips on how you explain to your children why Instagram would be ok and why Kik is not? I am having trouble putting it into words but for a parent like me it would be a big help to have some tips.

  98. Thanks for the note. I think you are doing the right approach. Parents need to understand these social networks and technologies before they can make a judgement on them. Once they do, they can (hopefully) have an intelligent conversation with their children.

  99. There’s only one solution to the problem:Don’t talk to strangers.Only use Instagram,Kik,Twitter and Facebook to communicate with people you and your child know.I’ve done the same.Also,as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses,who takes personal privacy seriously,I am connected with ppl I don’t know personally but who share my beliefs because because I can trust them.And I’ve made lots of wonderful friends.If your daughter did the same,associate with people she knows and ones whoo share her interests,ppl who have trust built into them,she should be fine.Its not every day you’re going to confront a pervert online,but we still all need to be careful.

  100. So you claim that she erased the kik app on her own, but then you claim that you erased it. Which iz it?

  101. The writer of this is way to invasive. Their kids will learn to start keeping secrets. Helicopter parents are the worst.

  102. One I think you’re full of it!!
    As a parents you can TALK all you want with your kids it doesn’t mean they will listen or believe you!
    It is out job to create a SAFE ENVIRONMENT for them and if that means limiting their social media content and usage that so be it!!
    Wait to speak until you have kids of your own then bust in with your extensive SO CALLED knowledge.
    Cause at 12,13,14, and 16 you have NONE!
    I don’t care how mature you say you are until you have 40 years under your belt don’t tell a real parent how to raise or teach their kids.

  103. And FYI at 12-18 living under
    MY ROOF using devices that I pay for you damn well better believe I will read, delete and look at whatever my kids are talking about and posting.

  104. well i am just 12, i have a facebook but i dont have my parents breathing down my neck. i am so carefull with what i post or comment or upload. there is an APP on the google play store on android smartphones called “CHAT WITH STRANGERS”. it was fun at first, but when i came to realize that there alot of horny, nude males using KIK to look for young females, i decided to delete it. this is a precaution which should be taken by parents who give their young ones phones like IPHONES, HTC, SAMSUNG SIII and stuff. and HIGHTECHDAD its good that you and your wife came to realize the dangers of social networking,

  105. Michael, et al…wow, I have to say I am floored by all of this and the other articles and posts I found this afternoon. My 12 year old daughter just got the Kik app a few weeks ago, and I made a surprise “please give me your iTouch while you do your homework” announcement and I could tell right away from the look on her face that something was up. She sort of lied as to the whereabouts of her iTouch, and then after I had it for 3 minutes it was blowing up with messages from these little boys from her school (and my n’hood) – my little girl! Haha, anyway I like to consider myself very tech savvy and a cool Dad and all…but after reading all this stuff I will be removing her Kik app and thankful she did not have Instagram! It’s safe to say I was not ready for all of this, but I KNOW she is not ready so please do keep the info flowing. At the end of the day (sorry for the lame cliche), it’s the parents who are involved and honest with their kids and who keep the lines of communication open that will prevent some of that sick crap from happening in some cases. Its after school and I am seeing all of these texts coming through and I’m sitting here wondering where are those parents and don’t these kids have homework too?? I’m a cool Dad, but I am not one of my kid’s friends and she knows that. She may be mad or upset now, but she’s a well-adjusted kid and she is active in sports and has a lot of friends…so she can pick up the darn phone and call them if she wants to interact. This generation is going to be very poorly equipped to comunicate effectively when they “grow up” if they don’t start changing some of their online/texting habits! Thanks again and I was glad to donate to keep this Blog going!


  106. Judging from your misuse of ‘to’ and ‘too’ I am assuming you do are not old enough to have kids, or just not educated enough…or both. The fact is that parents who are not “invasive” are those dealing with bigger problems with their kids than discussed here. It’s not being invasive, it’s being a responsible parent.

  107. Thanks James for the note. While I think it is good that you discovered that Kik was on there, I think you need to approach this carefully. Be sure to have the “sit down” and talk to your daughter about why you did it, what the dangers are, what you think is appropriate and what is not. I just get worried that if parents simply act as “dictators” without any education or discussion with their kids, it can easily backfire. I’m not saying that what you did is wrong. Just be careful. The last thing that you want to do is have them sneak it behind your back. And there are lots of programs similar to Kik out there. Kik was merely an example. I do feel that if used properly, Instagram is just fine. My kids use it, but only after both my wife and I helped our kids understand what is appropriate and safe, and what is not. This stuff happens on Facebook or any other social network out there. So the best thing is to educate and simply set limits. Don’t simply remove. And I do appreciate your feedback.

  108. Oh, I totally do not agree with some aspects in this article. I’m going to use kik for messaging and my first target will be my mom(well, she is a 5year old kid in her head), as it seems, that this product uses lesser resources than other similar products, like Skype, that drains her battery faster. Other options will be for dating, as when you are older and live on your own, there are not so many options to find people with similar interests, as these people might live hundreds of miles away and going to clubs where the people are going to meet is not my option – I do not like unknown people anymore, I do not work in my profession at the moment and idea to go somewhere for one night stand is a complete turn off, as I do prefer different approach in intimacy and do not want to catch any diseases as well – stakes are too high there, so there are no other options.

    Yeah, kik is oriented on young audience, but while it is on rise it will be great product as it was with everything else. My main reasons are privacy(I do not want to receive sms on my phone number for various reasons, when chat is off) and in these times information equals $$$ – I do not want bundle where one company knows everything about me, like it is with facebook right now – where I live, my phone – not only number, but also – make, so it can be tracked when I change SIM, my address, my views, my income, my spendings, my friends, family and so on – It is too frightening that someone can have so much info and my jewish ancestors already went through 2 totalitarian state occupations – by germans and soviets, so thinking ahead about dangers is a must for survival if you want to stick to your own independent views about life and everything else and protecting kids there will not work if you control them.

    I have really bad experience with controlling parent – actually reading this article gives me shivers, because good parents should be friends, and that also means providing them some private space and accepting, that young people are much smarter and they must be provided with information more, than anyone else – they sort out information much better, than you were doing it in your age. My point there is that parents should accept, that they are stupid(or will be very soon), should not try to catch up to prove otherwise, but be there to help kids to prepare for independent life, be supportive most of all, because we all grow up and controlling is not really the way to go, especially later in life, when you will decide who will be your friend. My own opinion is that: it is their own concern how parents are raising their kids and it should not be interfered or controlled by government, religion and other parents in social network, as not everyone has the same circumstances, but really you are asking, that everyone is going to teach you…

    I must say, that kik clearly asked in the beginning would I want to add contacts from my e-mail and I said: NO and that went much smoother than with omnipresent google or facebook, who is trying to reach in the future for ALL pictures, that you would be taking with your phone, even if they aren’t meant to be published in social network and is not connected with taking pictures of private parts, but could be part of your work and your way of gathering information. As for that if any other applications can access addresses without my consent I’m not really sure, because in middle of 2012 it was revealed, that iPhone, Android and others leeched information without user consent – and you clearly should study this subject and not trust others.

    PS you should really choose some different pictures for perverts or unicorns:
    1. cloud in unicorn picture resemble penis – great way to go with subliminal graphic message
    2. photoshoped pervert portrayed as zombie is not great choice as well, because zombies is current trend of youngster culture…

  109. My kids are quite happy actually. Thanks for your concern. They appreciate that my wife and I care about their well-being, online and offline.

  110. I recently discovered that my 14 yr old step-daughter blocked me from her
    instagram account. Naturally, this sparked my curiosity and thought she was
    hiding something. Just to be safe, however, I had my own 15 yr old daughter
    check to see if she had been blocked too. Sure enough she was.

    On the
    advice of a friend, I created a dummy account to see if she had maybe just
    changed her privacy settings. Well, she hadn’t. I was able to access her profile
    with no problems. So I cont’d to peruse her posts and discovered that she had
    almost 600 followers and was inviting basically anyone to “kik” her or
    “snapchat”. Well, I was unfamiliar with both, so I did some research. I was not
    happy with what I found out, especially kik.

    This is the part I am hesitant to admit because
    of the wrongfulness and creepy factor… I made up an acct for kik using a
    random pic of a boy from the net and contacted her using the username she had
    provided on instagram. Well, to my dismay, and I mean dismay, she bit. My head
    is still spinning from the things she revealed to a complete stranger!

    showed my husband, her dad, the first conversation I had with her that prompted
    him to talk her mother, her primary residence. Her mother talked with her to
    change her privacy settings and perhaps chatting with strangers, but low and
    behold, SD didn’t listen too well. Not an hour after her mother talked to her,
    she was back texting my fake profile asking for pics and revealing how active
    she has been with boys.

    I haven’t revealed the details of the new info I
    got other than the fact that she sent a pic of herself to the stranger/me
    because we got into an argument about the urgency I have that he address the
    issue and his apprehension in dealing with her mother again so soon after her
    just talked to her.

    I hate keeping things from him, so I want to tell him
    all I know. But as cliche as it may seem, I don’t think he can handle the truth
    nor her mother. I feel an obligation to protect her innocence/virginity as well
    as her privacy that I so callously invaded. I screwed up here, I know. But we
    were all in the dark to her activities as she is a very good, well-mannered,
    straight A student and respectable kid. I don’t know what to do with the
    knowledge I have without everyone hating me. Understand that I am not trying to
    make this about me. It’s about her safety and future.

  111. Wow, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s a fine that you are walking and not something that I would really recommend unless you are prepared for the repercussions. I strongly advocate having the conversation. Be casual and don’t accuse anyone of anything. I’m by no means a psychologist so take whatever I say with a grain of salt. But saying something like, “hey, I used to get your great pictures on Instagram but recently haven’t seen anything from you” might be better than “are you blocking me on Instagram?” The most important thing is to open a dialog. The problem is, if the teen gets into a defensive situation, they will become even more subversive. Kik and Snapchat are two of many options. If you delete or block one, they will find another and will hide it from you. I definitely don’t envy your situation. My wife and I have outlined with our daughters that if they do anything that we feel could be dangerous to them or their well-being using a smartphone, we will take it away. Period. Of course, they are younger – only 1 teen. But “feature phones” can still provide the calling. You can also block data on the phone, but they can still connect to wifi. But if you are going to extreme measures (e.g., posing as someone else, entrapment, etc.), be prepared to potentially do more damage than good. I do think it is very important that parents are aware of these things and talk regularly to their children about it so do try to keep the conversations open and flowing.

    Good luck with your situation! I think that just by thinking it through the way you have is a great step. Hang in there!

  112. Do you have a website that outlines your research? I would like to share your findings with my husband and my SD’s mother.

  113. Thank you so much for informing me about this. I’m 12 and I stupidly thought it would be okay to put my age in my bio. Now my account has been hacked and I don’t know what they’re going to do. This has been happening to a lot of people now and it asks personal information. Someone said on a site that it seems to be happening to people under the age of 13. I can’t log in to my account now so I deleted the app. Unfortunately, this doesn’t delete my account. I’m deleting all types of social media that I have (including kik). My dad said he’d le me get facebook as soon as I turned 13 which isn’t very long away. Now I’ve decided I don’t need it and I’ve managed so long without it.

  114. there’s a thing called trust and a thing called privacy. If you are suspicious of your kids doing that kind of stuff, guess whose fault it is?

  115. Someone is impersonating my son on Kik. Do you have any information on how to stop this? The person is sending rude texts etc. I HATE that Kik has absolutely no security measures!

  116. Have been reading through the posts. Would I be right in saying that kik is fairly safe for kids provided they are not posting their username on some other forum such as Instagram? Can kik be restricted to a group of close friends with no opportunity for outside unknowns to interfere?

  117. This does not make sense. 1st the author says his daughter deleted kik befrore he told her to, then in the next paragraph he says HE deleted it. I too am watching what my daughter is doing and can use all the help I can get but with this type of story is somehow suspect because of that inconsistency. Am I the only one who noticed that????

  118. Good catch Ken. I addressed this in one of the many responses to comments. The story should not be suspect as I write about this type of thing all of the time.

  119. hi htd just thort i add my two penneths worth..firstly i think what ur doing having a site like this is great for us parents..second i take my hat off to you as you are trying to help and yet u still get a lot of abuse from …..(excuse my language) complete arseholes who probably wouldnt know responsibilty for caring for a young child/person if it jumped up and smacked them in the facewith an iron bar!!!!….Anyway now i said that i can say what i started out to say…..which is…To ALL parents with children using this ridiculous KIK app GET YOUR CHILD OFF IT ASAP …i have only recently heard of this app and my son has been using it as i have recently discovered…and i have to say i have allowed him his privacy ..but now i have to say what i have seen and also researched about this app its a disgace its a breeding ground for paedophiles ..u have no control and considering its supposed to be 17+ my 14 yr old and many others from his school his age qnd probably younger are using it!!! what the hell is wrong with this world!!!! Oh and btw if any of u ignoramus’ out there decide to make some arogant twatty comment about what i have written…DONT BOTHER because my kids are my world and i will do ANYTHING to give them a full life and educate and PROTECT them in the process..keep up the good work HTD xx

  120. Snapchat is the latest app hitting the comment walls on instagram. The app allows you to send a “snap shot” to anyone with the app but gives the viewer a limited amount of time to view the picture. 10, 5, 3 seconds. Then the pictures disappear from any record. However the kids have found a loop hole by taking screens shots of the snapshots. It has been used to send inappropriate pics like the article referenced… Thanks and keep up the good work High Tech Dad!

  121. Thanks. Yeah, I have been watching SnapChat. Facebook even came out with something similar.

  122. Great! As if I haven’t lost enough sleep over all this… Lol! Do you know what this Facebook app is called?

  123. It’s called Facebook Poke (not like the original Poke) but it is very similar to SnapChat.

  124. I’m 12 (turning 13) and I honestly agree with this. Kik Messenger is a pedo app either full of 40 year olds or stupid people, alot of people my age don’t agree with this though. That’s why I’m only adding people that I know in real life and that I know wouldn’t try to manipulate me into sending them inappropriate pictures of me. And for instagram, I’m just posting pictures of cool things that I edit to make even cooler, and If I absolutely want to post a picture of myself, I just post a picture of me and my friend in one picture so that people don’t know which one I am

  125. Thanks for leaving a comment. It’s great to hear the perspective of the younger crowd. And personally, I think you are doing the right thing in being cautious.

  126. my friends and me are on both kik and instagram nothing has happened to me but my mates are being sent rude pics and disturbing pics

  127. You say your sister knows nothing of how Wifi works? You’re clearly the ignorant one, as her messaging could not be directed to your phone. Moron.

  128. Hi, im a 17 year old teenager and it was till this year that my parents allowed me to have a facebook, tweeter, instagram as well as kik and ontop of that a phone, im a junior in high school and I totally agree there are a lot of things out there in all of the social media networks. I only allow family and school friends on each of these sites but thenaked picks and perverted stuff happen amongst friends I’ve known. Its all out there but personally speaking, a child of 10 or even12 shouldnt even be allowed with none of that. They should still be allowed to use their parents phone and do all of that with their stuff as the parent keeps a close eye on even close friends. Bc my parents did what they did and didnt allow me to have such stuff at an early age, I have a greater understanding of whats out there and am able to judge things clearly. Bc if they were to let me have such privileges at lets say ten, even with them telling me not to do sertain stuff, im sure I would have done it anyways bc thats the way kids work. At that age I had access to the school’s internet and most schools would try their best to insure that the child is safe even in the internet and there are serious consequences for logging into these sites without the permision of administration.

  129. Thanks for your feedback. It’s always great to hear from a teen who has had first-hand experience with this. As a parent, I can only guess as to what happens (and see only the things as related to my kids). Appreciate your comments.

  130. You are lucky that nothing has happened to you. Just be careful with what you say and share.

  131. it’s funny how nowadays being on the computer (away from everyone) and being on your phone (ignoring the people sitting right in front you) are considered being social. and has the potential of making someone a social pariah if the don’t engage in these behaviors…I am guilty of this too, so my observation is not a holier than thou comment.

    teaching your kids to stay away from strangers online as well as offline is important, but “social bullies”? what is that? the best defense for that is to teach your kids to be thick skinned and smarter than the person in question. not to coddle them from big scary mean things someone types on the internet. if you want soft kids, treat ’em soft. if you want strong, independent and intelligent kids, teach them to be. and kids 11 and under shouldn’t be on facebook, or twitter, of Kik, or instagram, hell they shouldn’t even have a cell phone unless it is strictly a phone without all the other stuff.

  132. Hi there Michael, bit late to this party :) I’m a Cyber Savvy Mum from Australia. I give talks ect..on Cyber Safety to Parents, teens and educators. I loved reading this post and all the comments after it. It seems to have hit a nerve! I wish I’d read this post earlier. I also wrote a post on Kik and a few other reasonably new apps about 2 weeks ago that has also hit a bit of a nerve over here. Not sure if it’s the same in the U.S, but in Australia on the iTunes store Kik is now listed as 17+ and after reading the comments here I’m NOT surprised!

    I was alerted to Kik after a client (I do cyber safety consulting for parents that want parental controls set up and advice) advised me about a young girl 9yrs old sending nude pics to a pedophile on Kik after sharing her user name on social media.

    I like your approach with how you are teaching your children about social media and the internet, and it’s much the same as I did with my 4 kids. My boys are now 13yrs and 16yrs. I do also have 2 Step children that I raised, now 30yrs and 29yrs that I also raised on the internet. I have been on the internet as a web designer and a forum moderator since 1996. Been around the block.

    One thing I notice in the comments on this post, and in your own replies I’d specifically like to comment on, as a Cyber Safety Advocate and as a parent with over 20 years experience is this…The reluctance to ban stuff. As a parent you have the right to ban what ever you want. The entire premise of “if you ban it they will still do it behind your back” is wrong. Every child is different. I have 4, all very different. One was entirely non-compliant…in fact he went right off the rails so far that it’s a miracle he avoided jail. Some of my other kids are not sneaky at all. You tailor your parenting according to each personality of each child. This whole premise of NOT banning something because you make it more attractive is a crock of…..excuse me….if we follow that argument, you can’t ban, alcohol, cigarettes, rape, murder…you name it. Of course you can ban something…!!! You can ban an app or a software platform. But…along with that you do have to have, as you said, conversations and education around why.

    Bottom line is that you are the parent, and you have to use your best judgement with what you ban or allow. And…if your child breaks any of the rules you set behave exactly the same with any internet device or app as you would if they broke your curfew rules or your no alcohol rules. It’s weird to me how parents draw a line on internet devices and social media and apps, that they would never draw on other issues. We had rules around telephone use when I was a kid…it’s no different now. If you think Kik is dangerous for your child, Then ban it, but explain why. That’s not draconian, it’s being a parent.

    All these kids on here saying you’re hard line are of course saying that…they have no experience with being a parent. It’s really ok parents you can ban apps…the same as you ban glue sniffing or swimming alone…If kids many will, you deal with that as it happens.

    I hope this doesn’t sound lecturing, I want to be supporting…but I saw you defending your stance, and insisting that your daughter deleted the app…seriously if you deleted it…that’s your right as a parent. At 10yrs old, your daughter needs boundaries and if you ban Facebook…which you should or Kik, don’t apologise.

    The privacy issue and trust issue also gets up my nose…trust is earned…it’s not a given. When your kids earn trust it is given. And if you know your child is at risk, sometimes you are going to have to break that trust. I’ve seen parents with kids on drugs, or suicidal who fear breaking “trust” by reading “diary’s” text messages, seriously.. if your kids at risk of dying…and some of my clients kids are…as a parent would you rather pat yourself on the back for respecting their privacy, or have your child alive. Been there done that. Privacy is really important for Teens, but if they are at risk, you need to parent.

  133. Thank you Leonie for your thoughtful reply. You definitely bring up some interesting points about banning things. It is a fine line to walk between being overly protective vs. not protective enough. My point, throughout this article, my comments, and other articles hopefully should remain clear. I take the stance of working WITH my children to understand the best ways to approach Social Media and social apps and how to use them safely. My wife and I work hard on helping them understand the good and the bad, hopefully to empower them to make proper and safe decisions in the future. If you do take the stance of deleting or banning, it needs to be complemented with the reasons why you are doing it and clearly explained to your children. Yes, I do hold the authority to do whatever I want while they live under my roof, but I feel that the best way to create a bond and relationship and a sense of trust is to fully discuss with them the actions that we collectively take.

    It’s important for parents, based on the relationship they have with their children, to strike a balance that is comfortable, yet one that shows that you are the authority in the household. So I am in agreement with you there. But each family dynamic is different, so I point out what works for ours and my recommendations.

    I appreciate you sharing with your readers and trust me, I write lots of content around this so feel free to check in and share articles that you find interesting. And I definitely welcome discussion.

  134. Kik can be safe if you don’t give your username on a public place. I use kik for friends and already established online friends. I’ve seen the many many people post there kik everywhere and that is too much of a risk for me. I keep my kik username personal.

    Keep your username private. Don’t post it anywhere. Only add your friend or people you know. Never ever post it on instagtam or anywhere else.

    I’ve kik for a while and doing this things it’s a nice app and I never got perverts.
    The app is abused and it gets a bad rap.

  135. I know I probably shouldn’t say anything but I feel as though I need too. We all know that most adults were born before the Internet was created and a fewer percentage claim it like they’re a genius. But kids, or teenagers we are born with the Internet. My younger brother a five year old can use a computer just as well as an adult despite him having trouble with typing websites. We as children of a new generation incorporate a lot of the Internet into our life because we all want to fit in for one. No one likes the thought of being left out so we use these websites to try and fit in. Because we want to be apart of the crowd. Yes I understand there are perverted, psychos lurking on the Internet but these websites such as Instagram or Facebook are harmless for the most part. Unless you trick yourself into falling in with the wrong crowd and you expose yourself like that. I agree with Sean and HighTechDad both because Sean speaks from a teenagers perspective. We want our parents to trust us to make our own decisions and that’s apart of growing up learn from your mistakes. But at the same time HighTechDad and other adults are right when they say “the child should know who’s their “friend” or “followers” are. I barely know half of my followers and friends but I at least meet the majority of them. The lady who made a exist comment about teenage girls not prepared enough for the Internet that’s untrue. Because as every female seems to brag about Girls mature faster than boys mentally and physically they shouldn’t be fooled by these ploys. I understand you’re concerned for your daughters safety but let them learn. You won’t be able to hold their hands their entire lives. That doesn’t mean hanging out with strangers you’ve never met.

  136. It doesn’t really matter how long you have been using the internet to say whether or not you know what’s going on with today’s dangers and what not. Myself and all of my friends have all had internet and a cell phone without a parent going through all of our stuff and nothing has ever happened to any of us. The only timeyou ever hear about a child in danger over the internet is when they choose bad judgement. its the children that don’t have common sense or are really just plain stupid. really… everyone is taught at a young age not to talk to strangers. does that excuse chatting with them and sending naked pictures and giving out your address? I really think that parents always over exaggerated with this kind of stuff and that’s why kids get hurt. because then the child hides it from the parent and the parent has no idea what’s going on. As a 20 year old male, I can say that through my recent years of schooling and being around todays children, there will always be a way to hide anything from parents. They even make apps specifically designed to hide things on phones and protect with passwords. so you may think you’re helping your child, and in some cases you are, but when you go over the top, you can actually be damaging the relationship to the point of where they will hide things from you.

  137. Thanks for your comment. So, I have a question. How does a child learn “good judgement” without involvement from the parents? They could learn “the hard way” which hopefully won’t damage the child. Online bullying is much easier now with chat or picture sharing services. Sure, most kids are smart enough to use some common sense. But other kids are simply online bullies and the “Internet” is an easy way to carelessly bully their peers. A parent cannot protect a child if the child doesn’t want to be protected. I understand that. However, it is also the duty of the caregiver to provide children with the tools and understanding to allow children to make smart decisions. It is really up to the parent and child to determine where those limits are and how to pass on the education.

  138. How does a kik user know the location of another Kik user? I tried using this app and was surprised how the dude I was chatting with knew which country I reside in. This Kik app is really dangerous. Uninstalled it already.

  139. That’s a very interesting question. I don’t have Kik installed any more so I’m not sure. However, if your user name is similar on different social media sites, they may have looked you up that way.

  140. How can I take you seriously when you’re screaming at the poor kid? He’s 16 and you’re yelling at him over the internet. (Don’t try to deny it: All caps, exclamation points) You call yourself an adult, but shouldn’t adults show a little more restraint? If you were saying all of those things to Sean out in public I’m sure you’d receive some not-so-kind words from his mother.

  141. I’m new to this and thought I just posted something but not sure as I don’t see where my post went. Can anyone tell me how to deactivate a Kik account? Just deleting it from the phone doesn’t deactivate it. Thanks.

  142. This is a wonderfully written article and it portrays exactly what these social media sites are doing and how they can affect kids these days. If there is anyone who truly doesn’t understand how dangerous these sites can be and what kind of predators there are out there, I would suggest going on Netflix and watching a movie called “Trust”. It shows exactly what happens when pedophiles use the internet as a tool to prey on young girls. It makes you want to be more careful and more involved with your kids online activities.

  143. I have to agree, I have Instagram but I keep it private and make sure when accepting a friend request that I see their account first. I don’t have kik because I’m scared of the dangers of someone messaging me bad things. I let my mom see my account and she has my account information. I know a lot of people on Instagram so my mom allows me.

  144. Do you realize how wrong that sounds?

    First of all, Sean provided his opinion in a respectful way; you should follow in his footsteps and do the same.

    Second of all, it is NOT your job to create a “safe” environment for your child; your job is to parent them and teach them about the dangers. There is no such thing as a “safe” environment on the internet; and yes, you might have payed for the devices, but there is such a thing as trust and privacy, if you don’t want to trust your children to do what’s right; just don’t buy said devices.

  145. I would suggest not reading reviews, as they oft tend to be misleading, but trying it for yourself instead; there is no such thing as not being able to log-out of something; and if you try an app, you can get an experience-inspired view of it, instead of someone else’s biased opinion :).

  146. What? No child in the right state of mind can be influenced that greatly by peer-pressure. Drugs? Really? If your child seeks drugs through an on-line influence, that’s a huge wrong on your part. Instead of denying privacy, as you stated you do, teach them about the dangers, steer them away from “drugs, death, and pregnancy” and teach them the safe way to go abouts online; Oh wait, you have no idea how to do that, don’t you?

  147. What? How could you broadly generalize all people with a different opinion as complete idiots? Are you that narrow minded to possibly suggest such a thing as banning KiK messenger, instead of educating your child about it?

  148. You claim you want your children to have a full life? Do it then, teach them to be responsible and educate them; your job as a parent is to, well, parent of course. Children should find their own way with the help of their parent’s guidance and advice. Feel free to do what you want with your children, but there is absolutely no harm, as long as your child is better educated, and thicker skinned than whatever “predator” is lurking out there. Seriously? Bullies? Sexual predators? There is a fine line between someone asking for nude pictures, than someone who is skulking behind your child waiting for a chance to molest them. If your child stays smart and heeds your guidance, they would no better, and close any form of communication with so called bullies, and should know better (you taught them, so they should, shouldn’t they?) than chatting with someone who obviously has ‘bad’ intentions. If you simply tell you children they could have access to something, as long as they refrain from activities which are obviously bad for them; no harm would come.

    Look at it this way, you wouldn’t tell your child not to walk down a street, you’d tell them not to get in the back of a van with a stranger; the same goes for the internet. And you claim that most kids are using the app regardless of the fact that it’s 17+; who’s fault to you think that is? Their parents should have educated them about the app, and they should have consulted their parents about such matters if they are too young. And to be honest, the app shouldn’t be 17+; unless you make EVERY other communications application the same. It provides nothing new; Picture sharing? Texting? I believe it is actually safer than “Messenger” or such programs that are based around private information and emails. Through KiK, the only thing your correspondent has, is your username, and whatever information you give out.

  149. It is fairly safe, there is no way to search for users unless they give out their information/username to others; there is also a handy block function that blocks users incoming messages in case the username gets out.

  150. Why do you assume that teens think they “Know everything”; that’s a bad habit I’ve realized adults tend to possess. Just as you express your view, so did Sean, being a minor has no limit on maturity, or the understanding of a certain topic. YOU might think you might be “smarter” due to experience; that is simply not true. Intelligence and experience are two different concepts; intelligence will pave the way for pleasant experiences. Experience will NOT give you intelligence. I just love the fact how some people on here are broadly generalizing an entire age group and actually being rude to Sean, who in my opinion, proposed an appropriate and intelligent point, while you are just assuming things and being a complete jackass. Excuse my language, but you simply have no right to deny someone privacy because they are a minor, nor berate him for proposing his point of view. I simply loath backwards people such as you.

  151. I only agree with your point of view as your child is 11 years of age; would it be an older child, I would completely agree with J.

  152. You moan about people giving away there kiks and details and then you go and leave your email at the bottom of your post. A bit silly isn’t it, you might get nude photos sent to you. Don’t get me wrong I do agree with what you were saying but I just wanted to point that out.

  153. I’m a 15-year-old, and have KIK. Honestly, I have zero trouble with pervs and creeps because I never give out my username on websites, especially those that have little to no privacy. My mum actually isn’t aware of the dangers of the dark side of this app, but she also has one and we text regularly with it. ((I actually had to tell her that she shouldn’t put up a photo of herself)) I believe that all websites/apps are safe to an extent if you know what to do and what not to do. Like, it’s not a good idea to advertise your KIK name on Instagram, Skype, Facebook, Tumblr, and any other social networking sites. Neither is making your profile picture provoking. I suppose all you need is a level head and common sense. My mother is quite overbearing and gets suspicious quite easily, and I do have to hide some things but they are never bad, just a bit uncomfortable to reveal. (On my phone, that is) I myself am allowed my own iPad and have a password on it that only I can bypass, which I’m thankful for. Privacy is important, even from parents. I’m a teen after all and I think that if people my age, younger and older, could all be a bit more cautious this whole thing would be much less of a problem. (Sorry, this was probably stupidly written and off topic oops)

  154. Sean was defending the youth of today that are well aware of internet safety, and don’t need over-protectiveness or coddling. Also, gender has nothing to do with “going through an awkward stage that makes them easy pickings”. Kik isn’t an issue if you don’t accept strangers, problem solved.

  155. As a 16 year old girl, I have my two cents to put in on the topic. Reading through the comments, I noticed arguments were flying, some more thought out than others. Kik the actual app is a fabulous concept. I say this because the conecept is for people to be able to text/send pictures for free over the Internet. That is all it was intended for. However, you get the bad apples who use it for….darker…intentions. While this is a major downside to the app, we simply cannot think that sending nudes or sexting is what the apps sole purpose is.

    I do use kik as a way to keep up with a friend of mine in England as texting through mobile number costs would be astronomical, and letters take weeks. I do not post my kik username, and I do not connect my contacts to the app (you can reject/restrict the app from accessing your contacts). The only personal thing about my kik is the picture and my first name (which is relatively generic).
    Now, my biggest concern is the parents who are on here acting like they should have the rights to go through their kids stuff. While legally, you do, I would be shocked, appalled and (for a lack of a better word) extremely pissed off if my parents snooped around. If my parents came to me, and asked, I would be open and tell them what they wanted to know. I’m not saying I tell my parents every minor detail (do they really need to know I think my lab partner in chemistry is hot? I think not.), but I am saying that if I felt seduced, preyed upon, or just plain uncomfortable, I would let them know. Simple as that.

  156. Your daughter must hate you. No offense, I see how you’re caring and all, but you’re being WAY too overprotective here, If she’s under 13, I’m sorry for the accusation, you really are a great parent. If she’s older than that, she can handle herself. You’re screwing her up early on if you try to “protect” her from everything. Instagram feels like a gray area, but even Facebook? I know someone whose parents were like that, it made her so much more willing to put herself into “danger” later, because her parents were so overprotective (not as overprotective as you, though). She WILL sneak out, she WILL hate you. Your job is to be a good parent, to be there for her. Don’t stop her from doing every little thing, or the big things will come. Give your daughter a little credit, she won’t be sending nudes to some stranger anytime soon. If she really is a complete -sorry for the strong language, that’s my warning right now- idiot or slut, (I’m not trying to insult her, I’m trying to use language in a way that clearly conveys what level of idiocy and/or promiscuity I’m referring to) then, again, I understand. I do know about twenty teenagers (out of the 800~ i know) who are actually stupid enough to screw up their lives like that, so if you think your daughter is that kind of person, go for whatever you want.
    My point is, you can’t just keep her in a cage, you have to trust her. Seeing the user “Instagram”‘s genitals is bad, yes, but is it worth invading her privacy, her freedom, and her will for?

  157. Thanks for your honest comments. There is a difference between being concerned and over-protective. It all depends on the relationship one has with their parents/kids. As I have stated before, this is similar to letting kids who are under 18 see R rated movies or not. It’s up to the parent to decide. Some kids are smarter than others (the same can be said about parents as well). I don’t advocate taking away things unless it is warranted – that is, the child has repeatedly broken the rules (and then something else might be going on). I am all about discussion and being open. Having a cell phone or computer is a privilege, in my opinion…just like having a curfew. Rules are put in place for a reason and it is about respect as well as trust. But you cannot just put rules up without enforcing them, otherwise you lose your creditability.

  158. If you keep being strict like this she’s just gonna find another way and she won’t tell you. It’s better to b involved but less strict so she knows she can come to u

  159. If you keep being strict like this she’s just gonna find another way and she won’t tell you. It’s better to b involved but less strict so she knows she can come to u

  160. Look, I’m 18 and while I don’t disagree with your parenting, I do feel as though your child will probably end up using all this stuff secretly. I know because I did it for years (but don’t worry, I didn’t run into any trouble), all because my dad was so overprotective. You have to admit that just going into her messages and being able to log into her facebook account is kind of a violation of privacy.

    I truly believe that judgement is a skill that you learn with experience, and you need to give your daughter the opportunity to cultivate hers. Give her the resources to let her decide if she should use kik, how she uses instagram etc instead of just doing it for her.

    But that’s just my opinion,

  161. You know what else is dangerous?Going outside. Maybe we should not let our kids go anywhere for fear of strangers. Although I want to protect my kids as much, keeping them under lock down is simply too much.

  162. I think you are right on. My 10yr old son just got an iphone. I have been monitoring his phone but I didn’t know about kik. Once I saw the messages he was getting I was sick to my stomach. Proud to say he didn’t send the pictures requested. I am quite sure that the “little girl” pictured is not the one asking. Ugh! Thanks for the good info… I will check back for more!

  163. I also am fourteen and to me to be honest you yourself really dont sound amazingly in tune with what your daughter does. Agreed there are incredibly creepy people on both kik and instagram and facebook and everywhere on the internet.
    That being said talking to your daughter warning her of the risks and telling her to come to you if things start going badly seems to be the best course of action. If you are level headed and logical social networks are safe but I think you hanging over you daughters shoulder and trying to watch everything she does online is plain creepy. Watching your daughtera facebook and looking through her kik really does not seem appropriate behavious. Yes shes your daughter and obviously you dont want her to get hurt but all she needs is common sense and the freedom to live her life and yes make her own mistakes in life I dont think intrusive parenting is the way forward. I think your promotion of parent intrusion is driven by the right reasons but to be honest leave her to get on with her life just make sure your there when somethings goes wrongs.

  164. may I first complain at your depiction of kik
    and add that as a fourteen your old comments on our intelligence are highly opinionated and that your sweeping generalisation is foolish in the extreme. Also why are you phishing for nudes on omegle while complaing about people phishing for nudes on omegle you hypocritical moron.

  165. Your agressive rant undermines your point and also serves to highlight your ignorance and as an adult you belive you will always know best and anyone who may have a better idea must be wrong but as a teenager may I say take your anger through another medium you abusive ignorant little man because the truth is to quote lotr the two towers
    you have no power here

  166. You sir are an abusive angry little man who wouldnt know a predator unless it rang on his doorbell. You obviously have read on article and so spammed your bullshit to the masses you know nothing and so I require you to sit down and shut up about things you are ignorant of.

  167. You’re not proving anything but saying how he’s stupid because he’s young. I am young and I studied super string theory and worked on the Mars One program and for Planetary resources. Could you say the same to some “stupid” teenager? Age really has no power when it comes close with experience and being around the internet as close as this generation has. And if you think you’re such a genius with technology you would’ve already known that Kik is lock safe if you configure the settings so no random person can contact you. As long as you’re not insanely stupid, there is no problem with using it, as it is only a source of communication. But to use your age as an argument to prove Sean wrong, proves exactly how smart you THINK you are. You are clouding you’re judgement with ignorance about how much you know. Age is nothing but a number closing you to your final breath, you shouldn’t be falsely prideful of it. As Charles Lyell said “Mind over matter” but today I say mind over maturity.

  168. Just don’t let your child on if you don’t want them to. There’s no need to be that guy and ruin it for everyone. It’s not bad as long as you stay where you should be. Now my parents won’t let me have either and I’m smart enough to know not to do bad stuff anyway.

  169. I agree with a lot of the other comments here that say this is being overprotective. If you teach your kids not to be retards, kik and instagram won’t be a problem. Searching through their messages is way out of bounds.

  170. Kik is great app if you know how to use it, and btw it’s not just pedifiles asking for nudes, it could be the boy at school or right next door so dont be so nieve. Also you should really chill with the lack of privacy, that leads to sneakiness and deciet! Over protective parents he most cunning children. I mean whats the point of an instagram without pictures of yourself. Your intentions are good but it’s alittle much….you cant shelter your kids from the real world, they’ll resent you for it later

  171. Exactly, they dont realize that pestering their children makes it worse. Ever heard of “delete conversation” or re install..? You being down the kids neck every minute. there’s ways around every rule so the best thing to do is give them freedom.

  172. Depending on how old your kids are I think Kik is the safest way to converse with a stranger, you don’t have to give out your actual number to text (which can easily be traced back to an address if you’re REALLY tech. savvyy) and you can easily delete and block anyone that crosses any kind of line. Keep your Instagram private to only people you allow and that makes for a safer experience

  173. Well Well, Good for you there is a big difference between “book” smarts and “street” smarts. I’ve been in law enforcement for over 20 years and have raised 3 daughters who are now in their 20’s. When I was a teen I also had the same views as the teens who have posted on here. What changes a person is BECOMING A PARENT. Us parents loose sleep at night and go gray because of our children. Not because we have bad children, but because of the undying love we have for them. It is our job as parents to provide, protect and raise our kids and give them a fantastic life. Give them good morals, to respect others and most of all respect themself.
    With that said, I see on a daily basis with my job in law enforcement BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE. Most of the time its due to lack of street smarts and understanding the world we live in. The thing I most see with teens and tweens is they think they are invinceible and bad things only happen to other people and not them. (this is years of dealing with teen issues and asking them these questions to find the answers out) The bad in this is WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN WE CAN’T TAKE THEM BACK. And when bad things happen it is us parents and adults picking up the pieces for the kids trying to make them right again. What most kids don’t understand that traumatic life events can affect a person for the rest of their life and the lives of their family members. (WHEN I WAS A KID I THOUGHT THE SAME WAY, BUT IT DOES CHANGE WHEN YOU BECOME AN ADULT…. IT’S THE BRAIN IT JUST WORKS THAT WAY:). So to all you kids don’t be upset with your parents, they are being parents it’s our responsibility to love, protect and guide you on lifes PATH. TO ALL YOU PARENTS SENSOR AWAY WATCH WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE DOING, SET LIMITATIONS, AND HAVE OPEN COMMUNICATION. US AS PARENTS ARE PAYING FOR THE USE OF PHONES, COMPUTERS, TABLETS ETC…..IF THE KIDS DON’T LIKE THE RULES…..IT’S SIMPLE…….THEY DON’T GET THE USE OF THESE DEVICES….
    Kids, adult life will be here before you know it don’t loose out on being a kid……its seems you want to grow up too fast. You to will have your turn to walk in my shoes one day. My wish to all of you is I hope you all have a great life like I am having. Stay safe, be smart, ask questions, and most of all trust your parents.

  174. Speaking of looking out for online predators… Fancy meeting you here, Sean.

    Both sides of this debate seem entirely naive or self motivated. Where is the truth?

    Sean – Every site having male genitalia plastered all over it would be a good reason not to let your children go online at all – not support your reason for Kik and other social media sites being safe for children.

    And Michael – Everyone has a “creepy uncle”, but that doesn’t mean that every child lets them play marco-polo in their pants.

    MOST children, especially girls, are very susceptible to peer pressure, and pressure in general. They need to be validated. Pedophiles know this. They also know that children don’t seek the attention and validation from strangers that they get from their parents. Being involved in their lives does not mean going behind their back and reading their text messages/emails, and it doesn’t mean smothering them. Being a good parent is establishing communication and being there for your child when they need you. – And being there for them when they don’t “seem” to need you couldn’t hurt either.

    Children act out for attention, correct? Few parents would disagree. But the part far too many parents seem to overlook is WHY they need attention. Baby’s cry when their parents don’t give them enough attention. Toddlers break things. Little kids act up in school. And teenagers sext and sleep around.

    On the flip side, NOT ALL CHILDREN DO THIS! It’s completely absurd to think that your own failures as a parent would reflect on more than your own child. For every 1 girl that gets into the white van, there are 2 that run away giggling. Because the fortunate truth is that not all parents suck as bad as those that write these articles.

    I think all of these articles about which websites are bad and which are less bad is just a way for parents to drive their kids into doing something they’ll regret. The only thing you accomplish by stalking their texts/emails and deleting the services You Know About, is teaching them to find new, more secretive ways to do both the harmless and the harmful things they were already going to do. And you know who CAN’T save children from problems they don’t feel like they can be open about? ANYONE.

  175. Im a 16yo guy and thank god you not my dad lol but ive seen the forums where these pedos discuss how to do these things and give whole guides on it so i like to believe i can spot a fake when i see one but i just comes down to not being stupid

  176. Establish truth and trust with your children especially the girls, sheltering them and censoring them leads rebellion. I speak from experience and from witnessing it happen all around me in my upper-middle class sheltered white neighborhood. Your girls have brains and can use them to make logical decision about safety , so show them how (if they don’t already know) to be safe with social media, don’t patronize them or they won’t listen. ALSO Fathers! Teach your sons how to be safe on the internet and how to respect women online and in person. This isn’t a one way thing, girls shouldn’t have to be taught internet safety against assailants like they are helpless victims of uncontrollable “typical” male behavior. Both parties should be taught safety and respect for themselves and others. And never suppress, restrict, or try to limit adolescents, they don’t take it very well to it. And after a while, smoking that bowl your friends were talking about seems pretty appealing to escape from a negative environment of endless nagging and “check-in’s” that an un-trusting parent provides.

  177. As a non-parent in his late 20s. (So maybe I can somewhat function as a mediator in this matter) The problem is that teens and children usually believe they are mature enough and know everything they need to know. And they probably do know a lot more than most parents about the more technical aspects. But usually parents are more experienced in life, which gives them an immense advantage. And “don’t talk to strangers” is an issue that is way older than social networks.

    What I don’t understand is how parents point out how being open with their kids is so important and then they are controlling all their accounts and check their phones, computers etc. – I can understand why, but it’s somewhat hypocritical.

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to say kids deserve one channel that is private and that parents can’t access? maybe email? (parents could see whether kids give their address to strangers or not, but kids could talk to their friends about their latest crush) – probably email is to antiquated…just an example. Or maybe only checking contacts and not actual conversations?

  178. You said “If you have a son, then you shouldn’t care as much about online

    …..and why I ask. That is purely a biased and irrelevant statement. Boys can do just as much harm/be harmed as much girls can be. Open your eyes.

    As for the rest of your comment, thank you for the heads up.

  179. When you say “Children don’t understand how actions they take now can affect things in the future”, I hope you’re not being steriotypical with ALL children. Some children’s instincts are to not trust others, and therefore fare better than most. I’m not saying that some children are crazy, but when you said “children”, I didn’t know what you meant.

  180. i think all parents of children and teens should read the dangers of this if they don’t pay attention to what their kids are doing on social media sites.

  181. Why not just turn on restrictions on her iPhone and lock down add/delete apps and in-app purchases? While you are at it, lock down ratings fro movies, tv, apps and music to her age range. It’s YOUR phone, you are just letting her use it…

  182. Kik has an advisory suggesting it should not be used by the under 17 group as it is a major platform for the solicitation of online sexual encounters. I think it’s completely sensible to withdraw your child’s access to such an app, the same as it seems sensible to prevent them from going to R-rated movies. Providing limits for your child IS part of parenting, is it not?

  183. I don’t understand why you “adults” are saying things that basically boil down to “children are naive and stupid; they have no sense of responsibility with electronics”. Maybe you were like that when you were a child, but not all children are like that now. Granted, there are some children who can’t be trusted with electronics, but it is not fair to be stereotypical and say all children are like that. There are some children that might be able to handle stalker or pedophile situations better than you could.

    But, if you think children aren’t responsible or mature, be an good example! Don’t just post rants and profanity on a site devoted to internet safety. Use some restraint; stereotypical, angry, or comments with “bad language” have no place on this site. I’m 13 years old, and, no offense, I sound more mature than some of you.

  184. Just don’t let teenagers have smart phones and control what they see on a computer that’s the easy way around this problem.

  185. Of course I know on kik you need someones user name before you can chat with them.I don’t use it myself because I din’t have a smart phone,but do know of people that do.

  186. r u a emo? did your parents take away your stuff like phone and pc and facebook? u shouldnt be talking on here because what u say is completely bull

  187. Another emo… why r u all dumb as heck?? Damn I’m late for this idiotic coversation. One sentence: hightechdad is pretty right about 99% of what he said. Cool off and be cool like he does, and just listen carefully. Lol, noone’s gonna even read this

  188. You parents are completely out of touch with how kids are. You’re underestimating them . Do you really think that just because you give them a little a talk and you control their gadgets that they are not going behind your back ? Stop being so naive. They will ALL have at least one friend with unlimited access to Internet and app downloads. Kids always think they know better and that they are invincible. What you are doing is teaching them to become more secretive, cunning and manipulative…You have to accept the fact that they are going to use these apps anyway. You have to choose whether they use them under your house where it will be safer or in the unmonitored outside world with their little friends.

  189. Is anyone aware of any groups or individuals that visit schools to talk to parents about the dangers of these kinds of technologies? Most parents are absolutely clueless, and I want to educate them, but I don’t have all the information yet myself.

  190. I would start by asking the school administration. While they may not have all of the current information, they are a good place to start and frequently when you bring in third parties to speak at a school, they have to be vetted by the school first. There are plenty of organizations that can talk about it, including corporations that sell antivirus, parenting control or internet security software.

  191. I’m 16, I’ve had kik for 4 years. Out of those 4 years I’ve encountered maybe 20 people who ask or asked for pictures. The only reason, because I put it on instagram or tried playing kik games with others. To me kik is a place where I talk to my friends, my best friend I’ve know for 14 years or my “significant other”. The only way kik is bad is if you give out your username. And now they have updated the interface to provide better security so that you only get messages from your contacts. So kik is in no way “dangerous”. If you have to tell your kids that it’s dangerous and are protecting them from everything how do you expect them to do in the real world? They need to learn some stuff on their own. Maybe getting in trouble with the cops will set them straight.

  192. Although I do agree, these things will psychologically affect them. They will not show you things they do not want to show you, and as Ashley said, they won’t take you into consideration, depending on variables!!!

  193. I have just removed kik and instagram from my daughters tablet, the kik thingy was showing pornographic pictures and chat , this is meant to be 17+? she is 12 , my daughter has FB BUT it is monitored daily by myself or her 19 year old sister including messages

  194. Saw how dangerous KIK could be last night. Someone had an instagram page with 12,000 followers – mostly girls, gymnasts, dancers, etc. Teens and tweens. Instagram feed says kik me and i’ll give you a shout out. My daughter asks for permission (she’s a very gifted ballet dancer, but 10) – and i said ok. The person _dancer_86_ starts to chat with my daughter – asking her to see how flexible she is (weird, but not unusual). Then requests came in for wardrobe changes….then removing clothes….! OK – we’re done. My wife and I had to explain that this person on Kik and Instagram is NOT a 12 year old girl…but a perv who should be locked up in jail. Alias names are Inspired Dancer @dancer_86 on Instagram and #dancer_86 on enjoy gram. This person needs to be investigated.

  195. Thank you Paul for sharing this experience. These type of users continue to get creative. They pretend to be part of the community by doing various things as you mentioned to build trust. You should contact your local police so that there is a record. The more people who do that, the better.

  196. Is Sean a moron? Yes. And there’s plenty like him. But, I am a teenager, 15 years to be exact. I don’t wear short clothing. I don’t curse, and I don’t post anything online that I wouldn’t want a future employer to see. I’ve never been on a chat site before, I only just got into Facebook for its Page purposes and only friend people I know IRL, and I have very few pictures of myself online, for professional purposes. I am graduating high school next year because I worked extra hard to get it done, and save money in college for myself because my parents don’t hand me everything. I work my butt off and started my own business this year, and won $1,275 and a trip to present my business. I blog, and have made quite a bit of money from that. I taught myself how to speak Hebrew, and how to market social media. I am very involved in politics, and history. A good friend of mine. 16, taught himself how to code, won a worldwide developers contest and a nationwide entrepreneur contest, and was just accepted into another top developer program. Extremely knowledgeable in science, technology, history, and politics; and has investors wanting to invest in him and his apps. So, while many teenagers are stupid, there are many teenagers smarter than most adults. I don’t claim to be one of them, but I’ll give you a specific example; Helmuth Hubener. Because I can tell you, at 17, he was smarter and braver than about 90% of Germany’s population.

  197. I know I’m probably late to this, but I do use kik. I protect myself, as I set the settigs so I don’t automatically add them to my contacts. I even have a fake name and picture since you could change both (I have a picture of a character of some show and the name of the character). I only add people who follow me on tumblr who I know personally

  198. Lookin back at this conversation, may i add that as a ’21 year old’ (just so you know) i was also born into the internet and having experienced it all for myself and then experience it all over again with my younger brother becoming prey to EXACTLY the same things that have been talked about, i completely agree with hightechdad. I also feel that you kids who are passionately defending your rights to privacy on kik etc may change your mind in a few years when your own kids are exposed to ‘it all’. Unfortunately, just because nudity and profanity have become the order of the day, many parents still live by morals and ethics that are far greater that what society promotes today and have the complete right to instill these into their own children in a manner they see fit. It is essential for concerned parents to be fully involved in the ‘internet welfare’ of their children to help protect them from the dangers that are definitely out there. Once they reach an age where maturity sets in and are more capable of making sensible decisions with regards to being safe online, the ‘monitoring’ can be eased off as they can now be entirely responsible for their own actions. I apologise to the kids i may have dissapointed by posting this, all i can say is, you are still just kids and you will most likely have a slightly different take on this issue in a few (maybe more) years time.


  199. I’m a 17 year old male with both Kik and Instagram. Instagram has settings that you are able to set only allowing people that you know or accept to have the capability of viewing your things. I believe if your kids are putting their personal items up such as addresses or phone numbers and such then they are not as educated on the matter as they should be. Kik is basically an instant messaging app that is able to be downloaded on a smartphone. Before all the smart phones there was a website called A.I.M which was basically the same thing but it was a website rather than an app. I had one of these when I was younger and I was fine simply because i was told about the dangers and talked to my parents if something was odd or I was scared. Parents need to be careful because they want their kids to be able to come and talk to them if they are concerned. Its a matter of being careful and being aware of what is going on. My parents do not take my phone or read my texts, but they are fully aware that I am 100% willing to hand it over if they were to ask. Sorry kids, but all the privacy you think you deserve, it needs to be earned based on how you act and isn’t a given right. Your parents usually know what is right for you even if you don’t see it at this point in time. Parents, you have to have some faith in your children to make smart decisions and you must educate them or guide them in ways they may be confused about. Parents should have access to all of their children’s password to all accounts; however, this does not mean parents should be reading every conversation their kid has with their friends. There is a fine line between keeping your child safe and socially isolating them. I also believe there is an appropriate age for this. As your child gets older they should gain a little slack, given that they have been smart and behave accordingly. This is just my view and I realize some people may disagree. I’m just letting y’all know what has worked for me and my family, including my little sibling

  200. Absolutely not, kik is one way I can inform my students of homework and assignments for class. It is helpful if used correctly, and parents should teach kids to be responsible to when it comes to adult material.

  201. There’s a lot of privacy settings on kik… You can make it so your account is invisible unless you message them first, you can block as many people as you like, and no one can get actual info off your account unless you tell them. Honestly if you know te basic rules of the Internet its one of the safest chat sites.

  202. Hi Sean, are you a spokesperson for pedophiles anonymous by any chance?! Are you for real?? Saying that it’s ok for kids to a) talk to strangers and b) provide their names?!!

  203. I realize this article is a couple years old, but I would like to join in and be completely frank with each of you and with anyone who may read this in the future. I’m meaning that I will be 100% here, anonymously, since I haven’t been with friends and family about my usage of the internet.
    First off, I am a 22 year old female. I have been using the internet since I was maybe 6 or 7. Once we got something more reliable than dial-up, I discovered I was probably 9-12 years old, and it was THE most exciting thing I had ever discovered. I had plenty of friends at school, many social activities to do… played sports, didn’t have a cell phone, went swimming, was in choir, was outside constantly…
    And then I’d come home and get on Neopets.
    They had a long list of chat forums with different genres, like chats about games, different pets, items to use in games, help questions, newbies, etc. Of course, whenever you have a social media site of any kind, it gets turned from the CREATORS’ website into the USERS’ preferred website. That is, we use and abuse each and every social system and make it into what we want it to be.
    I was a young child pretending to be 16 to talk to other cool “16 year olds”. I flirted and made tons of friends and got in relationships and eventually, once I got a phone, transmitted some of those people to text or IM services.
    I gave out personal information to complete strangers before I turned 13.
    I encountered some of the creepiest, weirdest, ugliest, most horrible people on the internet.
    I also found my best friend to this date from a chat site I found at 17 years of age.
    But to get there, I lied, had fake photos (before anyone knew what cat fishing was, I was being a cuter version of myself to get attention) and I didn’t even need it. I had PLENTY of friends and social interaction.
    My mother tried to monitor me. She knew about neopets but didn’t know the amount of chatting I did. It was so exhilarating to get that little email notification and click on it to see who was talking to me. For kids, social media is the exact same as going to a park and finding a plethora of kids to play with that you’ve never met.
    It is a place to explore, to learn, to grow, to discover ourselves.
    It is freaking dangerous, just like that playground is.
    We all have insecurities and want to be accepted by the masses.
    What kids or teenagers mean these days when they say they “grow up” with the internet instead of growing INTO the internet like adults, is that adults past my generation did not grow up with two sets of ways to interact. For me, talking online is 100% as natural as meeting someone at that playground. Talking online to new people feels just like talking to your best real-life friend.
    For people who didn’t grow up with that, they don’t quite understand the necessity and the need to discover online like we do.
    I got myself into trouble, yes. I had a few fake photos and I lied about my age consistently. Once MySpace hit, I started being myself and added all my school friends to it. I still talked to people outside of people I knew on it, and even got into a stupid relationship that wasn’t very smart of me because of it.
    But honestly, going through these mishaps and not understanding the dangers happens in every aspect of life. My mom warned me of dangers; we had deep talks and she made sure she could trust me. I went behind her back.
    She made me give up MySpace and I was a whiny teenager who thought I knew better. She didn’t like the extra people I was talking to or the amount of time I spent on it. She HAD given me even more deep talks about nudes and sexual information, and I can honestly say that to this day I have not sent one nude picture of myself to any single person– not friends I know, or friends I do not know.
    But I still went behind my parents’ backs because I was curious. I thought I could handle the internet. It was a constant thing becoming larger and larger in everyone’s lives and I could not miss out. I made a new MySpace and talked on it for a few years. It ended up being boring and not worth the hype (obviously) but my mom still doesn’t know I had it.
    Then came Facebook. By this time, I had a phone with texts alerting me of notifications. I was one of the faster ones of my friends to get a “smart phone” that let me online, but to this day Facebook has been the most innocent of all websites. I have 94% of friends being people and family that I know personally, and the rest are band members or mutual friends or someone who seems to share the same interests as me so I added them.
    But there are obvious dangers to the internet, just as there are in real life.
    Your kids need to explore. If the one child was just 10, I can completely understand how you would want to get involved. But I swear to you, she will find ways around it regardless of your talks. I respected my mother and we were usually honest with each other. I came clean about the fake photos and some of the people I talked to late in high school. I told her how some people I spoke to had me wanting to be in relationships and talk dirty. Kids are going to do it.
    I did it, my friends did it, and we grew from it. When I was that young girl, I became addicted to that extra attention. It is the same as being popular in school. You start speaking to people and then suddenly you want to fit in everywhere. I was a pretty upbeat, happy person, so I got along with a ton of people. Sometimes it helped me discover myself. Sometimes it was an escape from the hardships of life. Sometimes it got me in dangerous places I shouldn’t have been in.
    But you cannot whip it away from your children.
    Remember in middle and high school when older people said, “you won’t understand until you’re older”? Didn’t you HATE THAT? Didn’t you despise that? Didn’t you say ummm no, I am smart right now and I have it figured out right now and just because I am young doesn’t mean I am dumb?
    This is how kids feel with the internet and with parents who constantly monitor their every single move.
    You cannot stop your kids from making mistakes or doing wrong. It is an essential part of growing. You can teach them self worth and self value, which I feel my mom succeeded in since I keep my privates private and have given out personal info that can get me stalked only to people who I speak face to face to on Skype or something to make sure they’re real.
    As I said, I am 22 now. I use kik, instagram, whatsapp, snapchat, vine. The list will continue to grow. However, I must admit that I would not be as careful and alert as I am now to internet predators and dangers if I didn’t discover them when I was younger. I learned what to say and what not to say. I learned the signs of speaking with a 50 year old pervert versus a real 24 year old man. Believe me, after literal years of doing so, you can tell regardless of the photos they have.
    My point is this… Alert your children. Teach them to love themselves. Teach them to have self respect and to be honest with you. The only thing I seriously never came clean about was MySpace, and that was a personal decision since it led to nothing. I quit using it and realized it was dumb like my mom said it was. I have found the greatest solace and understanding from some people on the internet, and I am worried that parents will yank that option from their kids. It’s like yanking them from the park. Teach them, don’t control their every move. Your parents didn’t always know where you went in that fast car with your buddies. Your parents didn’t always know who’s house you were at, what concert, what movie, who you were seeing.
    We literally view the internet as the same thing. And if you sneak and pry and try so hard to get involved, your kids will end up rebelling. I did, everyone else I knows did. I’m not saying don’t care or teach them. I’m saying they will do it anyway, have done it anyway, will continue to… and you need to let them make mistakes.
    That doesn’t mean they should get stalked or send nudes. That means they should be able to experiment and grow a little.
    I hope my long novel of frankness helped someone. I made mistakes, but I am still here and turned out just fine. I stopped with the photos and didn’t let creeps come meet me. I had some sense to me, despite lying about my age and such. We just want to be liked. If you take that away, your child or teenager will feel like you pulled them from their real friends. So just educate them and love and respect them learning about life.

  204. It’s great to get feedback like this, raw and honest. Frankly, I think you should consider yourself quite lucky. At any point, a bad decision could have been devastating. While again I’m not an expert but for your story, there are probably a couple that didn’t end as well. I agree that it is about respect and care and plenty of education and guiding to hopefully choose the safest and healthy path.

  205. Right, of course sadly there are plenty of cases where internet usage went very wrong. When I said I put out information, I meant my cell number or email, but I never put my full name, address, or even state on my email and I gave out my number to probably 2-3 people at most after a good long time of talking. I never would have agreed to meet anyone. I know that people can be the most deceiving and stay under guises that trick even the most clever of us. My best friend that I found online has skyped with me face to face numerous times and we have talked to each other’s family members. We have each other on our facebooks so we know we are real. That is the only time I’ve given out so much information. I try to stay as safe as possible without going offline completely. But it did take years of learning. As long as kids know not to say things that can be googled or traced that way, they should be okay. And I like using apps that don’t have me use a phone number that people can see and trace. That is ONE positive. Thank you for your reply.

  206. This is what happened in my house when I find out that my daughter loaded kik on her phone after I told her twice to keep it off.

  207. Kik is completely fine.. There are pedophiles, and lots of perverts, but you can block them. When anyone messages me anything dirty, I immediatly block them. If they make another account and do it again, I contact kik. Instagram.. I dont have it, I don’t really see what’s so cool about it :/ oh, and usually if I’m becoming pretty good friends with someone on kik, I skype them. I like to know if they’re who they say they are :3

  208. First off if she is ten don’t let her have one, 2 off she should know right from wrong, if they do that just block them its that smplie, 3 off have her Instagram private!

  209. Anyone under 16 has NO BUSINESS engaging in social media, chats, messaging, texting, cell phones, smartphones. etc. If you think that is old fashioned, tough because it worked for ten thousand years to keep kids out of trouble. Now unrestricted, unmonitored communications are THE REASON kids get into trouble with other kids. Parents should strongly dissuade kids from these things until they are about driving age (they will be leaving the house anyway) and instill good values. If you don’t their friends will be their teachers. Peer pressure and weak parenting on the part of other kids should not be the reason you say “its okay everybody is doing it and my kid will fee left out”…etc. Also, kids need to be taught about privacy and the real loss of it by using applications that scarf their data and the data of their contacts. It is a shame that I have to tell everyone that takes my picture to please not post it online with my name attached but I do. These are just a few things to worry about for kids out there.

  210. By using those applications you share everything on your computer/device per the terms of use agreement. Privacy is not given to you. You have to fight for it. Alot more can be dtermined about you than you think when you are “not sharing personal information”. Just what is personal to you? I hope you are including your name, birthday, location, IP address, MAC address, contact information, etc. Because it all is “personal.”

  211. I hate kik users for the simple reason that they assume the way you communicate is with an Android based device. Windows computers do not support kik. Just use something common across all platforms so everyone can contact you. It is inconsiderate to assume and force only one messaging method on friends.

  212. Okay, I’m fifteen. I agree completely with Sean. Controlling and as you say, “watching” everything that your child does, is an invasion of privacy and it’s WEIRD. I don’t think Sean was trying to say that just because you’re a parent means you’re dumb– I don’t think at all that’s what he meant. I’m really bad at wording things, and what I’m about to say MIGHT be controversy; CHILDREN NEED TO SEE THINGS. They need to learn and expierence things for themselves! I’ve been on the internet since I was, what? 4 or 5? My third video game was the Sims, in which you can have sex in– of course it doesn’t show anything, but even as a youngin I knew they were “making babies.” The internet is such a great resource for experiencing things that you need to know so that you don’t feel dumb or uncomfortable asking someone (especially if that someone is your mum or dad). Do you get what I’m saying? If I’d never gotten a tumblr, I would’ve never knew how to put a tampon in or even how sex REALLY works. With that, not saying that you should allow your 10 year old daughter to view porn– but it’s everywhere. And it’s really, really uncomfortable asking a parent about that stuff. The internet is FILLEDDD with thousands, billions of things. Your child will see them someday. By the time your child is 12, unrestricted things. She’ll be a pre-teen. If she acts how you want her to now, shell continue onto that act when she’s older. She might look up a few things out of curiousity- oh well. Every normal, unsheltered child has.
    P.s, Kik really isn’t that bad. I’ve had spam accounts send me chats about coupons and special offers on food or restaurant, but you just deleted the chat. You don’t even have to look at it. I’ve never been sent a “man’s genetalia” on Kik randomly. That doesn’t happen, rarely ever. Almost no one can message you without you giving out the username.
    Another thing, kids online have tens and twenties of online friends– half of the people I know have been my online friends since 2007, when I was seven and on runescape! The internet is a great way to meet new people. Don’t be the kind of parent to tell your kids that online friends aren’t okay.

  213. I’m 14 and I’m only allowed to have kik and snapchat. Kik is safe, unless you attract the predators by doing something other than talking to the people in your contacts. Your daughter and/or friend(s) were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing if something bad happened on kik. You need to let your child breathe, you’re smothering her. You have to let her make her own mistakes and you can’t protect her from the outside world forever.

  214. I just came across this blog and I realize I am a little late, but I just wanted to throw my two cents in. I work as an investigator for a Crimes Against Children Unit. I am not on Kik, but I do know it quite well from a professional stanpoint. One thing I do know is we have NUMEROUS cases of Online Solicitation of a Minor that stem from this app. This app seems to be a playground for adults soliciting children (both males and females) for nude pictures/sex. That alone leaves me to not allow this app in my home. Thanks HTD for putting some of the dangers out there.

  215. Okay honestly i’m 14 and we are not all like that i mean we know how dangerous it is but we also know about everything you just explained up there. My Mum just went through my ipod last night and im pretty sure that i am screwed with a capital S. yes we swear and yes we talk about some harsh stuff but if you want your kid to get through highschool your gonna have to ease up on the strict o ma gaud the internet is a death wish thing. seriously aslong as ur kid knows what shes doing she can educate herself btw she will be fine. My parents dont realise and you probably dont realise that this generation is ALOT different from what your generation was back then i mean its the 21st century WE ARE GROWING UP, and as she gets older if you keep doing what ur doin now she will go behind your back almost ceratainly becus thats what i have to do.if you do this she will have the hardest time fitting in trust me ive witnessed it first hand! just ease up as she gets older kik and insatgram really arent that dangerous as long as you know what your doing.

  216. SEO University – analysisThe first aspect that we have to look at in our SEO school is the research, it will concentrate on research of keywords and phrases but will protect a bit more than that. Your Domain Name

  217. This is a strange phenomenon. If I ever have kids, I don’t know how I’ll feel. Growing up, I had complete unfiltered access to the computer. The internet and computers were different back in the early 90’s, but I don’t see what negative outcome can result from not cencoring your child’s internet use.

  218. When I was around 10, my friends and I would go on AOL chat rooms and “catfish” older women. This was back in 1995-1996.

  219. People who take their financial commitment methods on web sites want to make sure that all of their methods found in their features are successfully performed which can make them use the alternatives of SEO companies. Warren Sulmasy

  220. Chatting with strangers on the internet does nothing for social skill development, nothing. Actually, it prevents teenagers from forming legitimate social circles at school where interactions happen face-to-face. Abstaining from public social sites will NOT make your child antisocial, instead it will motivate them to get out of the house and meet people in person. You are NOT depriving your child from meaningful social experience.

    But, I think the adults understand that.

    I’m a young guy and I pissed around in cyberspace for most of my early teens and I regret it because it stunted my social growth, I had a lot of catching up to do. Thanks my lucky stars I still had a core group of friends who taught me how to hold myself in different social situations, and yes that includes parties. Coincidence or not, the most popular kids in high school rarely use social chat apps/sites because they have enough friends their own age that their SMS is blowing up all the time. The cold hard truth is that gullible little girls use these sites for validation, and celibate men in their late teens to forties use them because they can’t get a date (and in a way need their own validation, otherwise they would just porn). These guys are not necessarily ugly they could actually be very attractive, they just don’t know how to close in person and with people their own age ;) lol. That’s all it amounts up to. All the in-between really isn’t the meat and potatoes of these sites, and irrelevant to this conversation.

    To the kids out there, NO you are not too mature for the kids at your school. Be pleasant and approachable, smile, and look at people when you talk to them and you would be surprised by how many people you connect with. Then you won’t feel so lonely at night that you need to sext to a 29 year old in west Virginia.

  221. WTF is this? One more Website for “helicopter Parents”???!?! wow this is making me sad… why don’t you let your children explore the internet on their own?

  222. Holy shit people, Kik is just like AIM but on mobile. I chat with my wife and friends on it. Such scary stuff!

  223. So how do you block KIK at the router without blocking the entire ipod message system? I’ve read to block ports 5222:5223 but that also disables many other services. What’s your workaround?

  224. You have to do more than simply block a port (and ports are shared by other services as you found). Also, while you block something via a web URL (or even the DNS server), it probably won’t stop the iOS app. Here are a couple of links of things you can read:
    Talks about deleting the app and then putting up Parental Restriction (as well as blocking):

  225. You have to do more than simply block a port (and ports are shared by other services as you found). Also, while you block something via a web URL (or even the DNS server), it probably won’t stop the iOS app. Here are a couple of links of things you can read:
    Talks about deleting the app and then putting up Parental Restriction (as well as blocking):

  226. I think calling them dumb n stupid is a horrible thing to say. These are young children that are being TARGETED by PROS! They groom these kids n build trust by saying all the right things! Bottom line is they aren’t mature enough. They are young, innocent, naive, n gullible which in return makes them the perfect targets for these sick individuals!

  227. This artical is a bit overblown. Children REQUIRE privacy at a certain age (preteen to teen) to develop properly. If you constantly search their phone it will make them want to activly rebell against you. Just give the kid some info on how to be safe online (they likely know more than you already) and if you hear about something particularly bad then let them know as they will most likely want to avoid the same things you want them to. A lack of privacy for a teen or preteen can actually cause them to developed severe anxiety, I see it happen all of the time. In fact I know someone who ended up with full blown scitzophrenia from the way there parents treated them.

  228. I dissagree I have been online most of my life as a child and if anything it has helped me socially in real life. I have aspbergers, A social dissorder, and before I was activly online I had enormous difficulty understanding emotion, social interaction, or even the need for friends. Eventually when I did get online It gave me the practice I needed to learn how to interact with people propperly.

  229. Your ignorance is overwhelming, with a username as yours, it explains A LOT, as for myself I will do whatever it takes to keep my children safe from the cyber world, my kids appreciate the fact that my husband and I want to keep them safe from the predators online.

  230. I don’t have kids yet and probably won’t for another 5-10 years. But it’s things like Instagram and Kik (especially Kik) that are just awful. Facebook has some privacy options that are very useful and actually work. However, like you said, Instagram and Kik do not enforce privacy well or at all. I work with a 17 year old boy who uses Kik and is always telling me about the things he gets for pictures be it graphic blood and gore (and I’m talking things you’d never see even on adult channels or movies or content with an Adult Only rating). He’s even talked about receiving pictures and even video from girls who are between the ages of 14 to 18 of their privates and more. He’s also talked about even worse things a kid his age should not be exposed to ever in life because it can mentally destroy a person and he’s even showing signs of sociopathic and psychopathic behavior towards women and men alike. I am currently talking with local police on how to handle this young man who is very disturbed. My point was to say the Internet can be a terrible and horrific place (which is weird coming from me, a 21 year old technology junkie). Loved the article.

  231. I completely agree with your logic. Coming from a 15 year old child who is one of the only people in her grade who doesn’t have social media, it is a struggle. People constantly say that social media causes bullying and a divide between children, but it’s just as hard for me when I’m left out of the conversation about what happened we on Instagram or kik. People also say “Why don’t you have social media?” in an insulted voice, or “That’s really lame!” I have tried to explain to my parents that I will be responsible, and that they can teach me and monitor what I do, but my mother refuses to look from my point of view. She always says to me that she has looked up articles just like this one, that pushes her opinion even more that I can not have social media. But what bothers me the most is that not once has she looked up a positive article on social media, or has hear any comments from a child’s point of view who is experienced in these fields unlike her. Similar to what you have experienced with certain children, I am going through the same thing. I have even made an Instagram off of my computer and erased my history so they couldn’t see out of anger and being upset. I want to have a snapchat very badly but I know they will see if I download it on my phone. But I have gotten some social media apps that my parents don’t know about just to have a little taste. I would have never done that, being the good child that I see myself as being. I have straight As, I work very hard at what I set my goals and standards to be, and I love my family. But from their rebellion against something that I want so badly, I felt as if I had to go behind their backs. As well as I want to do it because I want to get back at them, and I am very disappotioned that they make me feel this way. I think that parents need to let children have their own voice, as we have the same rights as adults. I completely understand that our parents are looking out for us, and trying to keep us safe, but if you really feel that you have taught your children while, let them prove it to you.

  232. honestly, coming from a teenage girl; they really don’t. They might tell you that they do but they probably don’t mean it. Most kids need privacy in order to function as a proper member of society, helicopter parents really don’t do anything for the child’s own morality. If parents step back a little bit and allow room for the kids to be their own person, when they leave the nest for university they won’t be lost. You don’t want your kids to be dependent on you for every aspect of their life, that is ridiculous.

  233. I know there are many horror stories out there, but what she described is extremely common place. I’m a bit older than she at just over 30, but as the oldest of the millennials we were the first of the first to grow up with the Internet – I was on Prodigy back in the 2nd grade, lol.

    I can remember doing things far stupider than the poster above described, and also how easy it is to circumvent parental restrictions (and the ubiquitous nature of the technology only makes that easier today). And from everything I’ve seen from people my own age and younger, that’s pretty much the norm.

    Yes, the outcomes can potentially be very bad, but I guess when you say she is ‘lucky’ I’m a stickler for mathematical probability. Considering how common place the behavior is, the overall odds are heavily in favor of the ‘nothing bad happened’ outcome. Being part of the 98% that turned out fine is not being ‘lucky,’ no matter how bad the other 2% of cases might be. At the end of the day I’m fairly sure most kids are more likely to be hurt in a car accident than by the Internet.

  234. This article is too over protective and dramatic. I understand that u want to protect your children and are doing it out of love but i think you will find your child(ren) probably just need a little bit of space. STRICT PARENTS CREATE SNEAKY KIDS! I would know this because i am one of those kids myself. I understand that u are only trying to be a good parent but your daughter is going to become very sneaky when she gets older if you are not careful is going to do alot worse if she cant learn from her own mistakes. I hope you understand that i am only trying to help and i have a lot of knowledge on this because my parents were strict and they produced a VERY sneaky teen. THIS IS JUST A WARNING!

  235. GET A GRIP! Not all 13 year olds have enough sense to back away!!!!! Do you want your kids breasts , behind and genitals spread all across the internet?? Do you realize this will come back to bite them and haunt them later on??? Do you realize how many kids have self esteem issues? How many of these kids have the will to say no? Take it from me, It happened to my daughter “because I gave her space”,and trusted that she would do the right thing. It was a 3 day a week convo about being careful. I can not believe how many of you actually think they need to be doing this crap!!! Don’t get sucked in …KIK was a hook up site before the kids started using it. CHILD PREDATORS HIDEAWAY!!!!! The bottom line is, they don’t think about the consequences. Immediate gratification and approval. Don’t even let them engage! The damage can not be repaired for what they presume was a small mistake.

  236. Olivia, who is a strict parent? What is a strict parent? Should parents ever be strict? When should they be strict? What levels of strictness, if any, are appropriate at what age? What is the spectrum of “strictness” in terms of what topic? I ask these things because it is true that parents can at times be too strict. It is also true that parents can at times be not strict enough. Do you know any kids who’s parents have not been strict enough? What are they like? What dangers have they experienced because their parents weren’t there to be strict in limiting their exposure to something? What has happened to them and how did the lack of attention, strictness (love?) affect their ability to live a healthy life? Dramatic things can and do happen to children who are neglected by their parents, who are not at times restrained for their good. Think of toddlers running into a street for starts then go on up to teenagers “running” into social media “streets,” where predators lurk and predators are made (and teenage boys are very easily tempted to engage in the arts of predators – beware, men are made that way). You may think you’ve mastered the discipline needed for restraining yourself from behaviors that are not good, healthy, or right, for yourself and for others, but as an adult I can tell you one never completely masters one’s self, which means vigilance is always needed. Unfortunately, that is the way this world is. Adults tend to know this better than kids and teenagers and, if they care, they will be driven to keep their kids as safe as they can. The best amongst them will do this with lots of talk and actions that will help their kids develop a clear eyed picture of the dangers “out there,” and also of their own susceptibility to entertain and engage in those dangers, as both victim and perpetrator. And when they leave the home they will hopefully not have experienced a life altering really bad situation happening to them and/or done a really bad thing to someone else, but rather developed the sober maturity to understand the world and the weaknesses that we all have in us that we must assign limitations around so that we don’t hurt ourselves or others. Good luck and here’s hoping you’ve got parents who are loving enough to be strict enough with you. Listen to them, be charitable with them, and know they would gladly lay down their lives for you to keep you safe. But know also they want you to be free, as free as one can be in a world filled with lots of people who don’t want you to be free, but rather enslaved to serving their desires.
    PS: My Mom was strict in her way but I found out how to get around her knowing what I was up to pretty easily. Honestly, she had no clue what I was up to most of the time (I wish my Dad had been around – real, good men know about the dangers outside us and within us). Looking back now, my friends and I are amazed, really, that we survived our teenage years; we really made our guardian angels work hard! And in hindsight I am ashamed of many things I did in those secret places where my Mom could not see, particularly in those things that involved using others for my pleasure, and that was way before the internet and the many social media opportunities for pursuing “self satisfaction.” And while I can remember chaffing against the controls of my Mom and indeed, thinking her controls were “making me sneaky,” I now know she didn’t make me sneaky; the sneakiness was in me all along, ready and waiting to be used when I needed it do whatever the hell I wanted to do. Beware your sneakiness. No one can make you sneaky. And if you really look at it closely, behind your sneakiness is someone who wants to use you for their pleasure. Be vigilant with eyes wide open. You’ll be best equipped to protect not only yourself and but to protect others from you. Fare Thee Well.

  237. Thank you for sharing this article. Since I don’t use Instagram, I wasn’t aware of how it worked. Now that I know a bit more, it won’t be in our home. It’s much easier to not get started with it, than to try to shut it down. There’s so much out there that he’ll have to battle, he doesn’t need to invite it into his life with Instagram.
    I used to monitor my kids. We have not given in but I have to monitor their “kid group” social media groups so we have all the needed info. Drives me crazy! My children are young, my oldest almost 13y .

  238. Kik has private and public chatting, guess what so does Facebook, but Facebook does not bother about criminal activities going on using it either because Facebook makes money from it

    Best way to keep kids safe from the internet is DONT let them online without direct supervision where as an adult you can see everything as it’s happening because kids delete stuff they don’t want their parents seeing

    It’s the internet and you can’t stop idiots and criminals from using it so NOTHING is safe for kids online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Other articles of interest

Global Product Review Disclosure

Disclosure: This is a global disclosure for product review articles on HighTechDad. It does not apply to Automobile reviews and there are other exceptions. Therefore, it may or may not be applicable to this particular article. I may have a material connection because I may have received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this or other content. I was/am not expected to return the item after my review period. All opinions within this and other articles are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.

About HighTechDad

Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

Recent Articles

Explore Categories

– Advertisement –

Shop Now!

My Favorite Setapp Apps


  • Shop Incase Now!
  • Mount18_July

– Advertisement –

Intellifluence Trusted Blogger
Shop HighTechDad-reviewed products
– Advertisement –