It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we say it, write it, preach it, or shout it. Children and teens still download and use apps like Kik, while parents are unaware of the dangers lurking right at the fingertips of their kids.
Kik, like several other social media platforms, offers complete anonymity while sending messages, photos, or videos. Because children are so trusting, they often believe they are messaging someone who is their age. And, sometimes they are. But far too often, the person on the other end is using Kik to develop a relationship with the child for ill gain. Take for example the police officer in Amarillo, Texas, who was recently arrested for transporting child pornography using the Kik app…the very same app many kids use to communicate with their friends.
Parents, we MUST be tenacious in monitoring what is on the devices our kids are using. We have to be diligent in knowing who our kids are communicating with online. And when our kids complain that we don’t trust them, we explain to them that it is the people on the other side of that device we don’t trust.
Parenting children in this digital age can feel laborious and exhausting. However, if we are going to allow our kids to have the opportunity to communicate at will with anyone, then we are going to have to stay actively involved to know who those people really are. Check your child’s device often, dig around in their apps and contacts, and keep an open dialogue so that your child feels comfortable coming to you to report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or seems suspicious.
It’s not just your duty, it’s your privilege.