Kik Review

So, we've explained what Kik is and what it's used for, given you some safety tips for using Kik, and gone over the potential costs of using Kik.  So, let's add it all up and answer the big question: will you have a fun time kicking it with Kik Messenger, or will you want to give this particular social messaging app the boot?  Here's a breakdown of what we feel are the app's strong and weak points.

Pros

  • Kick it for free — The app is free to download, install, and use.  Just watch your data plan if you don't have a Wi-Fi connection.

  • Accessible and private — Kik works on most major mobile devices, and you don't need to verify your account with a phone number, like some other apps like Kik.  Your user name covers for your other information, so only people who know it (or your real name) can talk to you.

  • Communication options galore — There are several different ways to send a message on Kik.  Send a text message!  Upload or take a photo!  Record a video message!  Draw a picture!  Create a meme!  Use emoticons!  Pick a GIF to speak for you!  Share a web page!  How you want to get your message across is up to you! 

  • One isn't the loneliest number — Even if nobody you know is around to chat right now, you can still have a good time by yourself on Kik!  You can browse a number of Kik-themed websites through the app, where you can play games, get information, or have a laugh!  You can even talk to automated programs if you're bored, and they'll do many of the same things!

Cons

  • Your call cannot be completed as dialed — Many apps like Kik have the ability to make phone calls without using up your phone minutes or paying high long distance charges.  Kik doesn't have this feature; sending video messages back and forth is as close as it gets.

  • Walled garden of a Web — Though Kik has the ability to surf the Internet from inside the Kik application itself, it can only go to websites that sponsor and are configured to use Kik.  For example, you won't be able to get to something like Google Search on Kik.

  • Nameless and shameless — Though Kik's privacy features have made it attractive for young people and the privacy-conscious alike, Kik has had problems with people taking advantage of its privacy features in order to use the app in abusive ways.  Fortunately, we have some advice on how to stay safe and private using Kik.

The bottom line: 7.5/10

Kik stands out among some of its other social messaging app peers for a couple of reasons.  As we noted, it has enhanced accessibility and privacy features, plus it's totally free to use.  In addition, it has more options than most social messenger apps for getting a message across, and you can use it to browse the Internet or talk to automated "bots" if you're alone and bored.

Kik has a few notable flaws, though.  The inability to make phone calls through it is a glaring omission when compared with other apps of its kind (though is somewhat necessary in order to provide privacy).  Also, the web browser within Kik only has a limited number of Kik-compatible places to which it can take you; it's not going to let you access the entire Internet.  And the ability for its  privacy features to be abused means that you have to stay vigilant in order to avoid or shut down troublemakers who may be using Kik.

Overall, Kik provides a unique experience when it comes to social messaging apps, but its appeal to younger people and fans of social media sacrifices some of its potential functionality.

 

Well, those are our thoughts on Kik.  Would you rather take a kick at the can yourself and see what you think of Kik?  Our next lesson will get you started by showing you how to download and install Kik!


Is Kik Free and How Much Can It Cost?

Well, we've told you a bit about what Kik is, and gone over some safety tips for using Kik.  Now, we'll talk about how much it costs to use Kik Messenger.  Don't worry; it will be a very short conversation.

So, how much does Kik cost?

Kik Messenger is free!  It costs no money to download and install Kik Messenger.  It also doesn't cost any money to use the app… well, at least not directly.  While using Kik Messenger itself won't cost you money, it may use up some of your monthly data if you aren't connected to a Wi-Fi network while using it.

To avoid paying for data while using the app, they recommends enabling the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks on your mobile device, at least while using Kik Messenger.  Connecting to a Wi-Fi network allows you to use Kik Messenger without taking up any memory usage on your monthly data plan. 

In the event that you don't have any nearby Wi-Fi networks to connect to, we also recommends contacting your telecom provider to check how much memory per month you are allotted on your data plan, and how much of this data you typically use per month.  That way, you can use Kik Messenger (and the rest of the apps on your mobile device) responsibly, and not get charged extra money on your telecom bill for using more than your allotted data per month.

 

Well, that's our brief note on the costs of Kik!  Next up, we'll review Kik's pros and cons.


Is Kik Safe and Private?

Okay, so we've told you a bit about what Kik Messenger is and how it's used.  Now, we're going to cover some of the safety and privacy concerns that have popped up around Kik, and that you may very well share as well.  After all, safety and privacy on the Internet are very hot topics these days, and we here at Techboomers want to make sure that you feel secure and confident when using any of the websites and apps that we feature.

Is Kik private?

Kik is actually one of the more private communication tools of its kind.  It only requires an email address for verification, instead of a phone number.  It also does not require verification of names or birthdays (beyond being at least 13 years of age), and much of the information sent over it cannot be traced. We'll explain a bit more about that last point below.

Can Kik messages be traced?

By-and-large, messages on Kik Messenger cannot be traced.  Kik does not have access to content sent over the app, and residual data regarding messages is deleted shortly after they are sent.  However, certain facets of Kik use can be traced by Kik if a user's exact user name is known.

Things that can be traced with a Kik Messenger user's user name include their first and last name, birth date, profile picture, email address, device-related information (such as make and model number), and geographical location when they were logged into Kik (through IP addresses).  These pieces of information can be saved by Kik for up to 3 months if they are requested to do so by law enforcement.

How safe is Kik?

Kik is safe if it is used smartly and in good faith.  It's privacy features have made it popular among younger users, but they have also made it attractive to people wishing to use the app in an abusive manner.  The company has worked to resolve these issues with features such as age limits and opt-ins for talking with strangers.

All in all, though, like many social websites and apps, how safe you are on Kik is a product of how vigilant you are in taking precautions to avoid or otherwise deal with abusive behaviour on Kik.  We'll list some of those precautions below.

How to stay safe on Kik: 3 key safety tips

1. Choose a strong password for your account, and don't share it with anyone.

The most basic way to keep your personal information on Kik from being stolen is to make sure that you're the only one who can use your account.  One of the most fundamental ways that you can do that is by locking your account with a strong password.  Make sure that it's of sufficient length, and try to have it include a mix of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and/or special symbols (our how to make a strong password tutorial has more tips regarding this).  And never give your password out to anyone who asks for it, not even Kik itself (because if it's really them, they won't).

2. Only share your personal information with people whom you know and trust.

It's okay to share your user name or Kik Code with your family members and your really close friends, but you probably shouldn't share it with anyone else.  They may use it to find you and harass you.  In addition, while you're using Kik, don't share any personal information with any other users, beyond what's available in your profile.  This means things like your street address, date of birth, email address, or phone number.

3. Manage messages from people, especially those who are new to your Kik network.

If someone who isn't already one of your contacts on Kik sends you a message, they will appear under the "New People" heading.  Their profile picture will be blurred out, as will any pictures or content from websites that they send you (you can tap on a picture or piece of web content to temporarily view it).  If you enter the chat, the Chat and Ignore options will appear at the bottom of the chat.  If you tap Chat, the user will be added to your contacts, and you can chat with them as normal.  If you tap Ignore, you can tap Delete to get rid of the conversation, tap Block to prevent this person from contacting you again, or tap Report as Spam if you think that this person is just sending out unsolicited messages to random people.

Even if a user is already one of your contacts, you can still block them if they start harassing you or sending you content that you're not comfortable viewing.  This help article on Kik explains how to do so.

 

Okay!  That's our primer on safety and privacy on Kik.  In the next tutorial of our Kik course, we'll look at how much Kik costs to use.


What Kik Messenger is and How to Chat Online

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.