What Kik Messenger is and How to Chat Online

Last updated: April 20, 2017 - 10:15pm EDT

One of the biggest challenges (or paradoxes, as some may call it) of the age of the Internet and social media is how to reach out to new friends and express yourself in a social setting while keeping your privacy intact. Kik Messenger is a communication tool that attempts to strike that balance.

On the one hand, it is accessible on all sorts of mobile devices, and has loads of cool features that you would expect from today's social networks. You can chat through text, send pictures or video messages, draw pictures, create memes, and even browse the Internet for fun things to do! And on the other hand, Kik has strong privacy features to make sure that you stay in control of who you talk to and what you say to them.

So what exactly is Kik?                                

Kik is a social messaging app for mobile devices. Users can chat with other users or automated programs in various ways, such as through texts, pictures, videos, or Internet links. Users can also browse a private network of Kik-sponsored websites for fun things to do and share with other users.

What is Kik used for?

As we mentioned, Kik is mainly used for its unique features that mimic those of social networks. Thus, it is most popular among younger people. However, features such as not needing a phone number to verify an account, and secure messaging that can't be traced make it popular among the privacy-conscious.

How does Kik work? 4 steps to chatting online

1. Download Kik Messenger for free, and sign up for a free account.

The app is free to download and use, and works on most major mobile devices powered by Google Android, Apple iOS, and Windows operating systems. Plus, unlike certain other messaging apps like Kik, you don't need a phone number to verify your account; you just need an email address (and must be over 13 years old). Your experience on Kik is based entirely on your user name, helping protect the privacy of your other information.

Kik sign up screen

2. Find people to chat with on Kik Messenger, or talk to automated robots instead.

Once you have Kik Messenger all set up, you'll need to find people to talk to. You can have the app match people in your device's address book to known Kik users, scan a special image to add someone as a contact, or search for a person by name or user name. If there's nobody to talk to right now, you can also download "bots," automated programs that respond to you based on what you message them. You might get a laugh or some information, or you may even be able to play a game!

Find contacts on Kik

3. Get your message across in one or more of numerous ways.

Sure, you can just write a simple text message to someone on Kik, but where's the fun in that? Jazz up your communication a little! Send someone a picture from your device's internal memory, or record a video message and let someone hear your voice! You can also draw someone a picture or create an Internet meme for them, or share a popular video from the Internet!

Kik messaging screen

4.  Use the Kik browser to find fun stuff to do and share from the web.

You can access the Kik browser from the main screen on Kik, or from a conversation. There, you can browse a selection of web pages from the app's network; some let you play games, others give you information on certain brands and trends, and still others will give you a laugh or some inspirational advice to brighten your day! You can even share what you find with other users!

Kik browser

If you want to download Kik Messenger, make sure you get it from the Apple App Store, or the Google Play Store.

The history of Kik Messenger

Kik was founded by students from the University of Waterloo in 2009. The first version of the Kik Messenger app was released in October 2010, and had one million registered users within 15 days. The app is popular because it does not require a phone number to sign up, and it allows users to remain anonymous if they wish.

How safe is Kik for chatting online?

Yes, Kik is as safe to use as many other popular messaging apps. It uses encryption in the transit of messages, so your privacy is protected. Some people feel safer using Kik because it allows users to remain anonymous. However, this has also caused controversy as it’s easier for people to lie about their identity. To learn more about the safety of Kik messenger, and how this encrypted messaging will affect your experience, check out our article on Kik safety.

Is Kik free?

Yes, Kik is free to download and use. Creating an account and using the basic features will not cost you any money. However, while Kik itself is free, you may end up spending money on mobile data usage if you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi network while using the  app, since it requires an Internet connection.

Pros and cons of Kik

There are lots of things that we like about Kik, and a few that we don’t like. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of Kik so you can decide whether it’s right for you.

First of all, let’s talk about the positives. On the plus side, the app is free to download, sign up for, and use. The app is pretty simple and easy to understand, so you won’t have much trouble getting started. Also, the app offers lots of different communication options, so you can talk to your friends however you like!

On the other hand, since Kik allows users to remain anonymous, it’s easier for people (i.e. scammers) to take advantage of its privacy features. Also, though many other free messaging apps are able to make calls to standard telephones, Kik does not offer this feature.

Kik competitors

If Kik doesn’t sound like it’s quite right for you, don’t worry. There are lots of other apps like Kik available that you can use to communicate with your friends and family. One of its biggest competitors is an app called WhatsApp, which is popular for its simplicity. Another great Kik alternative is WeChat, which combines communication tools with social networking features. If your main concern is privacy, another app like Kik you could try is Snapchat, where your messages automatically self-destrct after being opened. You can learn about these apps and more in our article about the best apps like Kik.

 

That's a brief introduction to what Kik is and what it can do! Before we dive any further into how it works, we're going to give you some safety and privacy tips for using Kik in our next tutorial.

If you’re already sold on the messaging app and ready to get started now, check out our tutorial on how to download and install Kik.

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