BLACKSBURG, VA (WWBT) - What is 'Kik' and is it safe for kids? That's what many parents are wondering after hearing that a murdered 13-year-old girl met her alleged killer through the app.
Investigators say David Eisenhauer, accused of killing Nicole Lovell, used the social media app Kik, which allows users to send anonymous messages.
One issue that many parents have is that the app allows anonymous people to contact their children.
"My daughter can text her friends, yes. But she can also text people she doesn't know," said one reviewer. "My daughter has had people she doesn't know send VERY VERY explicit pictures of themselves."
This is further complicated by the fact that the app is age restricted only to 12+, so parental controls will not stop many teens under 18 from getting the app.
"Scum bags from all around the world can easily find them and start a conversation...people can also search for users by age," said the concerned parent.
Some users of the app claim that the app is being unfairly targeted because of the recent murder case, and that it is no different from other anonymous messaging apps.
"It is the job of the parents to keep their children safe," said another user of the app. "Do not blame social media for your lack of responsibility."
Kik has set up a Guide for Parents to follow to keep children safe. They explain how you can monitor who is talking to your teen.
"As a parent or guardian, you can give permission to your teen to use Kik only if they give you access to their account," according to the Kik blog. "If you have access to your teen's smartphone or iPod, you'll be able to view up to the last 1,000 messages for each chat."
Kik says they cooperated with the FBI for the Lovell death investigation, according to the Roanoke Times.
"Kik cooperates with law enforcement to combat child predators anywhere in the world, either upon provision of a court order, or in emergency situations such as this one."
For more information on parental restrictions for Apple products, visit https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304
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