Kid-friendly app gives predators direct online access to children
It’s an app with 275 million users.
Created by an Ontario company, the “Kik” app allows instant messaging, and is gaining in popularity.
It’s not as popular as Snap Chat or Instagram
But ask a teen, and they’ve heard of the KIK messaging app.
“They were like asking me where I lived and all these overly personal sexual questions.
It just got really creepy.”
“I just find it’s not a very good site cause there’s a lot of creeps on there.”
“By a show of hands how many in this room are presently using a social media platform, a show of hands.”
Retired Saanich Police officer Darren Laur lectures students at Duncan’s Queen of Angels Elementary and Middle School about Internet safety and online protection.
His message; pedophiles are using social networks to hunt for their prey.
“One of things about pedophiles who are using KIK.
They are very good at what they do.”
On its website, KIK offers law enforcement officials a video on how to navigate the app.
“All the information is input by the user.
KIK doesn’t verify before or after, the registration process.”
Kids share messages, photos and videos on KIK.
But unlike other apps, anyone can contact anyone anonymously.
And that’s the problem according to Laur.
“They’ll slowly groom the child within the KIK platform.
Get them to build to the point where they’re extremely confident that I’m a 15 or 16 year old boy or girl, at which time I’ll convince them to send me some nudes.”
Created seven years ago in Ontario, the company’s app is linked to a number of police investigations, including one in the United States involving the murder of a 13-year-old girl.
Principal Kathy Korman says the more information children have, the more protected they are.
“It’s so important that the students know more and more about the Internet and how to stay safe.”
Experts say parents should talk with their children about social media practices, and the potential dangers lurking online.