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What is the Kik app? Everything you need to know

Here's what you need to know about one of the world's most popular chat apps.
By

Published onMarch 2, 2023

kik feature

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat dominate the world of instant messaging. Despite this, many alternatives like Kik exist. But what is Kik, who uses it, and what else should you know? Read on for more.

QUICK ANSWER

Kik is an instant messaging service that allows users to converse via video or text and send media like GIFs and images. Kik also hosts several chatbots and does not require a phone number to sign up, making it more anonymous than other popular apps like WhatsApp.

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What is Kik?

Kik is an instant messaging service that allows users to send text, start video calls, and send files and other media to one another using mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection.

Kik is popular among teenagers, mobile gamers, and those looking to chat about specific issues anonymously.

How does Kik differ from other messaging apps?

Kik doesn’t require a phone number for sign-ups. Instead, users can register using an email address. While the app can be used to talk to others on your contact list, you can chat with strangers in Public Groups. These groups are largely organized by topic, and users can search for a specific group using a hashtag.

Finally, for the most part, it is possible to remain anonymous on Kik. If you sign up using an email address, the app doesn’t request that you use your real name or phone number. Essentially, your Kik username is the only way to identify an account. You only require an email address to sign up for Kik, so you can have multiple accounts if you desire.

Is Kik safe?

Fundamentally, Kik has a set of community guidelines that, in an ideal world, should keep users safe. However, there are plenty of stories in the present and past that speak of the platform’s issues.

Kik does note that doing “illegal things” on its platform is against its terms of service. Here’s its explanation in full:

It is against our terms of service to use Kik to break the law, to promote an illegal activity (including terrorism or organized crime), or to send sexual or inappropriate content involving anyone under 18, including yourself. If you do, we work with law enforcement as needed.

Is Kik safe for your child? That depends on how your child uses the platform. As a parent, it’s essential to know that the minimum usage age on Kik is 13. This means your teenage child can create an account on the platform and potentially converse with strangers. If you allow your child to use Kik, they should use it under your supervision. Public Groups lists are awash with adult content even though it’s against the platform’s terms of service.

As for fundamental security features, Kik only allows account access to one device at any time. If you log into your Kik account on a secondary device, your primary device will be logged out. This will also clear your chat history on the primary device, as Kik keeps user messages stored on the device. The service also does not support two-factor authentication like WhatsApp and Twitter do.

What are Kik bots?

Kik has a wide range of bots that allow users to fetch helpful information and find memes or the latest trending videos. Kik houses all of its bots in a dedicated Bot Shop where users can peruse or upload their own bots.

Bots can be added to chats by typing @ followed by the bot’s username, then Send.

Alternatively, the Bot Shop can be found by tapping + in the main chats list, then Discover Bots.


Top Kik questions and answers

S, D, and R on Kik symbolize a message’s status. S denotes that a message has been sent, D means a message has been delivered, and R indicates that a recipient has read a message.

According to Kik’s community guidelines, the platform does not tolerate “sending, requesting, commenting on, linking to, or advertising inappropriate content.” Its definition of inappropriate content includes “any photo, video, or written depiction of pornography, nudity, real or implied sexual acts, graphic or gratuitous violence, and anything else that doesn’t belong in a positive chat community with an audience age 13 and up.”

Messages sent on Kik do not feature end-to-end encryption.

Kik was founded in 2009 by a group of students at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Kik was acquired in 2019 by Los Angeles-based holding company MediaLab. The company also owns Imgur and Whisper.